by Beth Quimby
Casco residents passed a municipal resolution Saturday opposing the transmission of tar sands oil through ExxonMobil’s Portland-to-Montreal pipeline.
It is the first Maine municipality to oppose a proposal to send the oil extracted from Canadian tar sands through the 236-mile, 62-year-old pipeline.
Only a handful of the roughly 60 people at a special Casco town meeting opposed the resolution, said Connie Cross of Casco, who opposes using the pipeline to transport tar sands oil.
Casco residents collected 340 signatures at the polls in November to put the resolution before the special town meeting, where residents considered nine articles concerning zoning changes and other town issues .
Tar sands oil, a corrosive crude oil from western Canada, is associated with a higher incidence of pipeline spills.
The pipeline runs through Casco and the Sebago Lake watershed and 50 other municipalities in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, some of which are considering ordinances and resolutions to oppose a tar sands oil pipeline. The Burlington, Vt., City Council passed two anti-tar sands pipeline resolutions last month.
Proponents say that allowing tar sands oil in the pipeline would spur economic growth in Portland Harbor through increased ship traffic.