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.
Thursday, December 5 2013 1:13 AM EST2013-12-05 06:13:43 GMT
One Georgia man is going all-out to light up his home for Christmas this year. For J.R. Adams, decorating his home elaborately with lights, music, and Santa Claus on a motorcycle is a childhood dream come true. "IMore >>
One Georgia man is going all-out to light up his home for Christmas this year.More >>
Thursday, December 5 2013 1:13 AM EST2013-12-05 06:13:06 GMT
Vermont State Police need your help to find a hit and run driver. They say Wednesday afternoon an older model red Subaru wagon driving north on Route 14 in Williamstown crossed into oncoming traffic, enteredMore >>
Vermont State Police need your help to find a hit and run driver.More >>
Thursday, December 5 2013 1:12 AM EST2013-12-05 06:12:17 GMT
Santa is looking for a few helpers to brighten the holidays for senior citizens across our region. Home Instead Senior Care is collecting gifts as part of its "Be a Santa to a Senior Program." The group'sMore >>
Santa is looking for a few helpers to brighten the holidays for senior citizens across our region.More >>
Thursday, December 5 2013 1:11 AM EST2013-12-05 06:11:32 GMT
The battle over a new methadone clinic in South Burlington continues. Wednesday night the South Burlington School board voted to pursue an appeal with the state supreme court to keep the clinic away fromMore >>
The battle over a new methadone clinic in South Burlington continues.More >>
Wednesday, December 4 2013 8:05 PM EST2013-12-05 01:05:10 GMT
Burlington's deputy police chief is off the hook on drunk driving charges after reaching a plea deal with prosecutors Wednesday.More >>
Burlington's deputy police chief took a plea deal Wednesday, and then announced his retirement. The plea gets Andi Higbee off the hook for drunk driving, but the resolution of the case also ends his 24-year career with the BPD.More >>
Wednesday, December 4 2013 9:45 AM EST2013-12-04 14:45:58 GMT
Police are looking for two Massachusetts men in connection with an assault and robbery in Burlington's South End. It happened Tuesday afternoon on Marble Ave. Investigators say Bryan Frazier, 30, and Rashad Sabree,More >>
Police are looking for two Massachusetts men in connection with an assault and robbery in Burlington's South End.More >>
Wednesday, December 4 2013 9:31 AM EST2013-12-04 14:31:50 GMT
An accused murderer has fired his investigator. Dennis Tribble was convicted of murder twice. The 63-year-old Vermont man was convicted of shooting and killing Michael Borello in 2000. But the VermontMore >>
An accused murderer has fired his investigator.More >>
Wednesday, December 4 2013 6:24 PM EST2013-12-04 23:24:21 GMT
He's already in jail accused of burglaries, now a Lamoille County man is facing more charges. Police say Joshua Loura is now linked to three break-ins in Wolcott and Johnson. He was already accused ofMore >>
He's already in jail accused of burglaries, now a Lamoille County man is facing more charges.More >>