Pipeline decision doesn't stop calls for local oversight - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Pipeline decision doesn't stop calls for local oversight

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A recent environmental opinion on oil pipelines isn't stopping calls for new local oversight.

The issue revolves around the possibility that a pipeline through the Northeast Kingdom could be used to transport controversial tar sands oil.

The Vermont House is currently considering a bill-- passed by the Senate-- to mandate new Act 250 review if alterations to an existing pipeline require significant "earth-moving."

Monday, a District Environmental Commission issued an opinion that even reversing the flow or changing the transported substance would be enough to initiate review.

"Our bill did not go there, candidly, I didn't think that reversing the flow of oil in the pipeline came within our purview, as long as it didn't have environmental impacts that might be subject to state law," said Sen. Bob Hartwell, D-Bennington County.

Hartwell says the opinion and the bill cover slightly different but distinctly separate issues. He notes that the opinion is not irreversible, and that the legislation would ensure local input on significant alterations.

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