Pipeline Company Disappointed With Town Meeting Votes

By John Dillon

The head of a pipeline company targeted by voters at town meeting says he’s disappointed in the results.

Twenty-nine towns approved non-binding resolutions against using an existing pipeline to carry tar sands oil across northern Vermont for export via Portland, Maine.

Larry Wilson, the chief executive of the Portland Pipe Line Corp., said in a prepared statement:

“We are disappointed that certain towns have adopted resolutions opposing the possible future transport of oil sands-derived crude oil through our pipelines, but the men and women of our company will continue to operate our award-winning pipeline system with the same level of operational excellence and commitment to safety and environmental protection that has been our legacy for more than seven decades.”

None of the 10 towns in the Northeast Kingdom traversed by the pipeline considered the resolution. Wilson reiterated that his company has no current plans to reverse the flow of the line to carry the heavy crude from western Canada.

“But should market demands prompt us to consider a reversal in the future, we will communicate our plans openly with pipeline neighbors, the public and the appropriate regulatory authorities,” he said.

Environmentalists are concerned about possible spills if the pipeline carries the heavier, more abrasive tar sands oil. They say extracting the tar sands oil from the ground releases three to five times more greenhouse gases than conventional drilling.