by Susan Sharon
MPBN news story
The National Wildlife Federation says court documents in an old tax dispute indicate that the owners of a pipeline that crosses Maine – and could be used to transport tar sands oil – is several years past its retirement date.
UPDATE: 12:11 PM ET: Portland Pipe Line Corp. spokesman Jim Merrill has issued the following statement:
“The NWF assertion that the pipelines’ life span is 60 years and ‘past retirement date’ based on a NH Superior Court property tax decision is false, grossly misleading and takes technical property tax appraisal terms dramatically out of context, all in a ploy to scare the public. They are referring to the economic life of the pipeline and not the physical life and they usually do not coincide. Economic life is a technical concept used by appraisers and accountants, which measures, among other things, future market demand for the pipeline system, in order to properly calculate the deduction from a replacement cost analysis for property tax appraisal purposes. The stated ‘economic life’ of the pipeline is a theoretical assumption for property tax purposes which usually has little to do with the physical integrity of the pipeline. Pipelines have an indefinite lifespan if properly maintained, and not only does PHMSA closely regulate Portland Pipe Line, but the company has been recognized as one of the safest operators in America. The energy consuming public deserves better than these types of misleading and wildly inaccurate accusations by special interest groups who clearly have a broad agenda to undermine the hard working men and women who strive every day to safely deliver vital energy products that keep our cars running, our homes warm and our economy on the move every day.”
9:41 AM ET:
The National Wildlife Federation has uncovered court documents from an old tax dispute that it says show yet another reason why any plan by the Exxon-owned Portland Pipe Line Corp. to transport tar sands oil through the pipeline that runs across Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont is risky. Jim Murphy is senior counsel for the National Wildlife Federation’s northeast regional center.
“The company itself admitted in court documents that they feel that the life of the pipeline is 60 years old,” Murphy says. “The main pipeline that they’ve wanted to move tar sands on was built in 1950, so this means that, by their own admission, the pipeline is four years past its retirement date.”
Murphy says it would be irresponsible to try to pump tar sands through an aging pipeline that crosses some of New England’s most sensitive wildlife habitat. He says the group’s findings also raise the urgency for a full environmental review of any such plan.
“It’s becoming increasingly clear that there’s a lot of risks and a lot of potential impacts,” he says. “So it’s very important that all of those impacts get examined before any sort of tar sands approval takes place.
A call and email to the company seeking comment was not returned by airtime.