CASCO, Maine — Casco residents voted on Jan. 12 to pass a municipal resolution stating opposition to sending tar sands oil through Exxon Mobil’s Portland-Montreal Pipeline, making it the first Maine town to oppose officially the proposal. The 62-year-old pipeline, which stretches 236 miles from Montreal to South Portland, is being considered for the transport of tar sands oil. The pipeline stretches through Casco along the Crooked River, passing by Pleasant Lake, Parker Pond and Sebago Lake.
“The people of Casco have spoken”, said Casco select board chairwoman Mary Fernandes. “We feel as a town that transporting tar sands oil through the Portland-Montreal pipeline poses unpredictable risks to the health, safety, natural resources, property and economic welfare of Casco residents.”
The resolution stated concerns about environmental and public health hazards of tar sands in the context of a town and region heavily dependent on a clean environment for recreation, tourism, and the economy at large. Concerns about threats to water quality also motivated the resolution.
The resolution was submitted by Casco residents who have become concerned about the threat of tar sands oil to the local environment and economy. Casco residents collected 340 signatures at the polls in November to put the resolution on the ballot for the special town meeting.
The resolution calls upon elected leaders to help ensure any tar sands pipeline proposal gets a complete environmental impact review, something that can be required by the U.S. State Department for cross-border pipelines. More than 50 towns along the pipeline route in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont are considering similar resolutions.
“We congratulate the town and citizens of Casco on passing this important resolution,” said Todd Martin, outreach coordinator for the Natural Resources Council of Maine. “Once you learn about tar sands and pipelines, it’s not hard to see that it would be a bad deal for Maine. We expect Casco will be the first of many towns along the pipeline to speak out.”