A group in Bangor braved the below freezing temperatures to spread the word about one of their biggest environmental worries. The group 305 Maine says it wants to educate lawmakers and the public about tar sands, a petroleum product they say could threaten the environment.
Heidi Brugger the organizer with 350 Maine said, "I am omitted to stopping tar sands extraction, refining, movement and use...once we tap that reserve it's game over for the climate of the planet."
According to the group, big corporations plan to transport tar sand from Montreal to Portland through the current Montreal/Portland pipeline. The pipeline is currently used to carry crude oil from Maine to Montreal.
Chris Buchanan with Defending Water for Life in Maine said, "The biggest concern with tar sands and using it is the acceleration of climate change that we are seeing in the kind of extractions that are tar sands extractions."
Fellow opposer Richard Thomas agreed, "By the time you dissolve it and process it and burn it. [Tar sands] releases three times as much of the greenhouse gases as typical oil."
Canadian-based Enbridge and Portland Pipe Line Corporation, the companies accused of proposing the plan, released statements denying any such plan is in place. Both companies proposed a similar plan in 2008, but soon found it was not feasible and pulled the request.
A spokesperson for Enbridge said, "We have no plans to revive it. We have no affiliation with the Portland Montreal Pipeline Company. It is not something that we are considering at this time at all."
Ted O'Meara with Portland Pipe Line said, "There is no current proposal. The company continues to seek all opportunities to use the pipeline. If one of the opportunities is to reverse the flow they will talk to the community."
Regardless, the group went to both Congressman Michaud's office and Senator Collins office to rally for their support to oppose such a project.
Brugger said, "We want you to stand for your constituents. We want you to stop tar sands from coming across our country especially the state of Maine."
The Maine Department of Environmental Protection confirms there are no applications from either company to use the pipeline to carry tar sands otherwise known as oil sands through Maine. Regardless, the opposing group plans to hold another rally in Portland this Saturday at 11:30 at Monument Square.