Ark. spill gives ammunition to Vt. tar sands opponents - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Ark. spill gives ammunition to Vt. tar sands opponents

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A major oil pipeline spill in Arkansas is adding new significance to efforts to tighten regulation of a pipeline that runs through the Northeast Kingdom.

Exxon Mobil's Pegasus pipeline ruptured in central Arkansas Friday, forcing the evacuation of nearby homes and dumping heavy crude into nearby streams.

Closer to home, environmental groups are pushing a bill this session requiring Act 250 review for any possible changes to a 236-mile pipeline in the Northeast Kingdom that they say could be used for the same purpose.

"I think for Vermont the parallels to the pipeline in the Northeast Kingdom are haunting. They're both ultimately Exxon-owned pipelines. They're both aging pipelines. They're both about the same size. Neither was built for tar sands use. The Arkansas pipeline had been reversed for tar sands use. That appears to the plans Exxon has for the Vermont pipeline," said Jim Murphy of the National Wildlife Federation.

The Senate last week approved the pipeline bill. It's now in a House committee.

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