The Canadian oil pipeline giant is seeking to reverse the flow in a pipeline originating in Montreal, which the Natural Resources Council of Maine says is another step in bringing “dirty” tar sands oil through Maine.
Canadian-based oil pipeline giant Enbridge, Inc. says it’s filed papers to reverse the flow in a stretch of pipeline originating in Montreal.
That has Maine environmentalists concerned. The Natural Resources Council of Maine, the state’s largest environmental lobbying group, says it’s another step in bringing the “dirty” oil through Maine via an existing pipeline that now carries oil in the other direction, from Portland to Montreal.
“Today’s application is clear evidence that oil companies are planning to send tar sands across eastern Canada and New England,” says NRCM’s Clean Energy Director Dylan Voorhees, in a statement.
Voorhees says the group is calling on the U.S. State Department to “require a full environmental review of any proposal to bring tar sands through ExxonMobil’s New England pipeline.”
Enbridge filed the application Thursday seeking the flow reversal. The company is also asking regulators for permission to expand the pipeline’s capacity.
Large deposits of tar sands oil have been found in the Canadian provice of Alberta. NRCM officials say the oil is more toxic, corrosive and dangerous than ordinary oil to ship through pipelines, and spills are costly and difficult – if not impossible – to clean up.
Shipping the oil through Maine puts several of the state’s waterways, including Sebago Lake, and the Androscoggin Rivers – along with Casco Bay – at risk, the group says.
Enbridge has maintained that it has no plans for creating an eastern export route, and that tar sands, also known as bitumen, has been shipped safely in pipelines for decades.