Kids hold signs that read "More Tarzan less tar sands." Signs showing oil-covered animals decorate the City Hall steps as environmental activists say an oil spill could take place if we don't act quickly.
"Vermont is the greenest of states in more ways than one. If our values and our commitments are to mean anything then we must stand up against this travesty of corporate greed," said Dan Jones of the Montpelier Energy Committee.
They're fighting a company called Enbridge. Jones and other activists believe the company wants to reverse the flow of an oil pipeline currently carrying crude oil from Portland, Maine, to Montreal. Activists assert the company also wants to pump tar sands oil, a heavier form of crude oil, through the pipeline which runs through the Northeast Kingdom. The problem? Enbridge doesn't own the pipeline, Portland Montreal Pipe Line does, and both companies say no such plan exists.
"We have been saying for months and months, even years now, that this project is dead we are not pursuing it," said Graham White, a spokesman for Enbridge.
Activists called a press conference based on a national report which studies the potential impact of this hypothetical plan. Even the writers of the plan say it's speculation at this point.
"Absolutely it would not be accurate to say that tar sands is coming to New England," said Danielle Droitsch of the Natural Resources Defense Council.
But the speculation did come from somewhere. In 2008 when Enbridge originally announced the Trailbreaker project it was proposed in pieces. Environmental groups say they speculate the Portland Montreal pipeline reversal will take place because the other pieces have come into play. Part of the Trailbreaker project was to expand the pipeline from Michigan to Ontario; that plan is back in place. The next step was to reverse the flow from Sarnia, Ontario, to Montreal; that plan is back in place. That makes environmental groups concerned that the Portland Montreal Pipeline could be next, despite repeated announcements from Portland Montreal Pipeline and Enbridge that no such plan exists.
"They're certainly saying that they're not pursing it, but on the other hand they're pursuing a good chunk of what they pursued in 2008," Droitsch said.
Activists say they want to get the message out before a plan is put in place because they want the public to be informed and ready to fight any proposal, should there be one, in the future.
The other concern is that if a plan like this were to be put in place, the state does not have the right to regulate these pipelines. Oil pipelines are regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. So the state's control of the matter would likely be extremely limited.
Friday, May 24 2013 10:25 PM EDT2013-05-25 02:25:31 GMT
A hole in the road closed one of the routes into Canada Friday.State Police say Route 5 in Derby Line is closed near Caswell Avenue because of a hole in the pavement just a couple of feet over the lineMore >>
A hole in the road closed one of the routes into Canada Friday.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:17 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:17:06 GMT
It was a storm that left residents with more damage than they could have ever imagined. "The basement has about 13 inches of water," said Bob Genter of Underhill. And preparing for the aftermath of theMore >>
Flash floods left destruction across the region. And the rain is not over. Heavy downpours left some people trapped in their neighborhoods as emergency crews work to try to clear the roads.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:54 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:54:18 GMT
Vermont State Police say the following roads have been closed due to flooding:UNDERHILL: VERMONT ROUTE 15, CILLEYHILL POKER HILL ROAD NORTH UNDERHILL STATION ROAD PAIGE ROAD DAUDLIN ROAD BROWNS TRACE,More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:20 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:20:50 GMT
As the cleanup gets underway from Thursday night's flash flooding, the focus shifts now to the broader impacts of rising rivers from around the region. All the rain so far and more to come is running intoMore >>
All the rain is running into larger streams and rivers that are moving rapidly toward flood stage.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 12:44 PM EDT2013-05-24 16:44:50 GMT
Heavy rains have caused more flooding problems around our region, and the situation could get worse as the rain continues to fall over the holiday weekend. So far, the impact has mainly been seen in roadMore >>
Heavy rains have caused more flooding problems around our region, and the situation could get worse as the rain continues to fall over the holiday weekend.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 9:51 AM EDT2013-05-24 13:51:55 GMT
Over the river and throught the woods isn't just the way to grandma's house, its the way a lot of people are having to travel just to make it to their front door. Dormant brooks and sleepy streams turnedMore >>
Strong rains Thursday flooded roads in Essex.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:25 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:25:14 GMT
A rainy Vermont City Marathon forecast isn't slowing down runners or organizers. "Well, we're going to make some liquid sunshine out of all of this rain. That's the only choice we've got right now," saidMore >>
The countdown is on to this weekend's Vermont City Marathon and final preps are underway. Those finishing touches are coming in the rain, but organizers say the weather isn't slowing things down.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:35 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:35:15 GMT
The bad weather has forced the postponement of the annual Memorial Day parade in Essex. The parade is held annually on the Saturday morning of the holiday weekend. But after all the rain and flooding damageMore >>
The bad weather has forced the postponement of the annual Memorial Day parade in Essex.More >>