Harrison passes resolution opposing piping of tar sands oil through town

A map on the wall at the Portland Pipe Line Corporation in South Portland shows the pipeline route to Montreal.
A map on the wall at the Portland Pipe Line Corporation in South Portland shows the pipeline route to Montreal. Buy Photo
Posted June 12, 2013, at 2:01 p.m.

HARRISON — Voters approved a resolution expressing their concern and opposition to any form of processed tar sands being piped through the town of Harrison on a 156 to 59 vote, during the annual town election Tuesday.

Harrison became the sixth town in Maine, including Bethel and Waterford, to oppose the piping of tar sands through the ExxonMobil’s Portland-Montreal Pipeline. Harrison residents collected more than 250 signatures from registered Harrison voters at the polls last November and worked with the town selectmen to put the resolution on Tuesday’s ballot.

The resolution in part asks that the state and federal government ensure an environmental impact review for any pipeline proposal involving tar sands.

Opponents say the 62-year-old pipeline, which stretches 236 miles from Montreal to South Portland, is being considered for the transport of tar sands, a form of toxic, thick oil that they say is associated with higher incidence of pipeline spills and can be nearly impossible to clean up.

The pipeline stretches five miles through Harrison and crosses the Crooked River near the Plains Road. The pipeline also passes through critical wetland habitat along the Crooked River watershed.

In March, on a 43-45 vote, Waterford residents narrowly defeated a request to table the tar sands oil issue until a full informational hearing could be held. A resolution to oppose the transport of tar sands oil through Waterford passed on a 56-34 vote.

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