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Community Activists Protest Tar Sands Pipeline Reversal

The Protesters chanted “No Tar Sands Oil. Protect Vermont’s soil”

Posted on May 8, 2012


May 5, 2012

Burlington, VT- Saturday local students and community members carried a 30 foot long pipeline prop with the message “No Tar Sands In VT!” written down the side through downtown Burlington to protest the proposed reversal of the Portland-Montreal Pipe Line (PMPL). The reversal would result in heavy tar sands crude from Alberta, Canada being pumped through the sixty year old pipeline that crosses through the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. Tar sands crude is much more corrosive than conventional oil and led to Enbridge spilling over 840,000 gallons of tar sands crude into the Kalamazoo River in 2010 when their pipeline ruptured.

The protesters chanted “No Tar Sands oil. Protect Vermont’s soil!” among other chants making their way down Church St. At City Hall they stopped for a couple short speeches informing onlookers about the issue and drawing cheers from the crowd.

“This is Vermont. I was born and raised here. I know the pride we feel of our state. So what makes me really upset is that someone has decided to run tar sands through our lives, our fields, woods, streams.” said Marion Major, a sophomore at UVM, to the crowd in front of City Hall.

After city hall the march headed through city hall park and back down Church St. Activists engaged pedestrians as they passed to tell them that the tar sands is coming to Vermont. One man from Montreal already knew about it and was very supportive. Montreal has had a lot of activism surrounding the issue already.

The plan to reverse PMPL, part of a larger pipeline infrastructure proposal known as the Trailbreaker Project, had been shelved in 2008 when the recession hit, but has been given new life with the other avenues of exporting tar sands oil being blocked. Other communities have united against the Keystone XL pipeline that would travel across the Midwestern United States and it is now time to demonstrate opposition to tar sands being shipped through our own community.

Enbridge has already begun seeking permits to reverse their Line 9 pipeline as well as the PMPL section that lies on the Canadian side of the border. The next logical step is for them to do the same on the Vermont side. The protesters today were demonstrating to promote an early resistance, hoping to raise awareness among Vermonters of a little-known proposal that could severely risk the lives and well being of many citizens.


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