What is Worse Than Building a Tar Sands Pipeline?

For years now, big oil and other energy interests have been using every available extorted dollar and every bought-and-paid for politician from the Canadian border to the Gulf Coast to pave the way for the building of their billion-dollar albatross known as the Keystone XL Pipeline. The pipeline would transport tar sands bitumen sludge from Canadian pits across pristine US forests, farms, and communities, passing over aquifers, ground water, and animal reserves, to the gulf coast and refineries and tankers, where it will be transported to China and other far-off ports, enriching the likes of Trans-Canada, the Koch Brothers, ExxonMobile, and others of that ilk, beyond their wildest dreams.

Despite the fact that the pipeline and sludge transport would bring no additional gasoline to US markets and despite the repeated instances of spills and leaks from similar pipelines, devastating the US countryside, poisoning farmland and people and water supplies along the way, there is still the possibility that the Keystone XL pipeline will be

built. But, it is not the only such pipeline wanted by big oil to transport their sludge, and in other parts of the country, they have been hard at work planning and building other pipelines for the same disgusting purpose.

But, they don't always have to actually build the pipeline - there are some existing pipelines that can be converted to tar sands usage, and this may be even scarier than the
Keystone XL. The extreme likelihood of leaks form new pipelines is worrisome enough, but converting old, worn pipelines to tar sands usage is much more so. But, some interests are fighting back.

A company that likes to be known as PMPL, which actually stands for Portland Montreal Pipe Line, which is owned by Portland Pipe Line Corp which is owned by this company and that company, which is all actually owned by ExxonMobil and another oil giant, has operated a pipeline that is now 75 years old and that is used to transport crude oil from the area of South Portland, Maine, to refineries in the the area of Montreal, Canada. It seems the pipeline was built during World War II to meet the energy needs of that part of


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Canada, and it has been in use since. Now, however, the need to transport oil from Maine to Montreal is negligible, and there has been a plan in the works to reverse the flow of the pipeline and use it to transport Alberta's tar sands sludge from Canada to the New England hub and the City of South Portland.

The pipeline was completed in 1941, and crosses watersheds and tributaries running into the major source
for coastal Maine’s drinking water, Lake Sebago. Seeing the real danger involved, and the threat to the well-being of local residents, the City of South Portland has said NO to ExxonMobil and other big oil interests, and the South Portland City Council has now passed, after a massive protest undertaken by local residents, the “Clear Skies Ordinance”, that will in effect stop plans for the pipeline by prohibiting the loading of tar sands bitumen into tankers at the city’s ports.

Communities across the US and Canada need to learn a lesson from the people of South Portland – you can stand up to big oil and say NO when they have plans to place your home, your relatives, your environment, your drinking water, and your lives, in peril. The voice of the people can be powerful, and sometimes even more powerful than ExxonMobil and the rest of big oil.

About theHoundDawg

For many years as a lawyer, I saw much of the good and bad of society, and did what I could to right many wrongs. The lack of understanding of what is good and bad, right and wrong, just and unjust, as evidenced by such events as the election of King W as president, (who as such far surpassed the evil of richard nixon but not quite that of ronald reagan) lead me in a new direction, to spend my time trying to understand what is happening to our society, to try as best I can to spread my insights to others, and along the way to maybe even eke out a living through the internet.
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