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.
Sunday, December 8 2013 7:09 AM EST2013-12-08 12:09:14 GMT
Competition could be fierce for new casino licenses in upstate New York. The licenses will be awarded next year after voters passed an amendment allowing Vegas-style casinos outside Indian land. FourMore >>
Competition could be fierce for new casino licenses in upstate New York.More >>
Sunday, December 8 2013 7:06 AM EST2013-12-08 12:06:06 GMT
Talks next week in New York will try to determine how new state land in the central Adirondacks can be used. The Adirondack Park Agency is considering recommendations for the land in the towns of IndianMore >>
Talks next week in New York will try to determine how new state land in the central Adirondacks can be used.More >>
Sunday, December 8 2013 7:04 AM EST2013-12-08 12:04:16 GMT
A 28-year-old Coventry man is dead after a crash Saturday night in Irasburg. Police say at about 8:40 p.m. Gerald Begin rolled his car on Route 5 and was thrown out of the vehicle. He was taken toMore >>
A 28-year-old Coventry man is dead after a crash Saturday night in Irasburg.More >>
Saturday, December 7 2013 8:43 PM EST2013-12-08 01:43:53 GMT
Police in New Hampshire are investigating an accident on Interstate 89 that claimed two lives. It happened on the northbound lane between Exit#18 and Exit#19 in Lebanon. The initial investigation revealedMore >>
It happened on the northbound lane between Exit#18 and Exit#19 in Lebanon, N.H. Saturday.More >>
Saturday, December 7 2013 8:38 PM EST2013-12-08 01:38:15 GMT
A Burlington family is remembering the life of a young teen through artwork. Emily Lyman died of Leukemia at just fifteen years old, in December of last year. Now, her mother, Monica Lyman, is holdingMore >>
A Burlington family is remembering the life of a young teen through artwork.More >>
Saturday, December 7 2013 8:17 PM EST2013-12-08 01:17:57 GMT
There's still plenty of time to check off gifts on that Christmas list. The 21st Annual Vermont International Festival has something for everyone. The event began at the Champlain Valley Exposition asMore >>
Shoppers could find everything from Yoga mats from South America to jewelry from Tibet.More >>
Saturday, December 7 2013 8:11 PM EST2013-12-08 01:11:52 GMT
It's out with the old and in with the new. A new ice skating rink in Stowe has replaced the old Jackson Arena. Saturday, the town welcomed skaters to take a spin on the ice at the new arena's grand opening. TheMore >>
The new skating rink will also offer a learn to skate program and hockey initiation programs for all ages.More >>
Saturday, December 7 2013 8:05 PM EST2013-12-08 01:05:37 GMT
We have some ideas for what you can do on this Sunday, December 8, 2013. ART HOP The South End Arts & Business Association is holding its 6th Annual South End Holiday sHOP event on December 6-8, 2013.More >>
We have some ideas for what you can do on this Sunday, December 8, 2013.More >>