Earlier this week, a coalition of environmental, wildlife and conservation groups from across New England filed a petition with the federal government to develop safety standards for pipelines pumping tar sands oil.
Spearheaded by the National Wildlife Federation, the groups and local residents petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation to issue stronger safety standards for pipelines carrying diluted bitumen than those for conventional crude oil.
Jim Murphy is the senior counsel for the National Wildlife Federation and has been keeping a close eye on the potential movement of tar sands through Vermont.
“It is hard to believe, but the United States has never developed rules designed for pipelines that carry tar sands,” he said in a public statement. “Given the huge risks involved in moving dirty tar sands oil through pipelines across the country, woefully inadequate safety standards, and the companies’ dismal spill history, it is clear that we need tough new standards to protect our health and the environment.”
The petition also calls for a moratorium on the piping of tar sands oil until the requested regulations are put in place, a mandate that oil companies must develop spill response plans and more detailed industry reporting of the what substances given pipelines are carrying.
Among those Vermont groups and individuals that signed the petition were the Vermont Natural Resources Council, the Vermont Public Interest Research Group, Chittenden County Sen. Ginny Lyons and former Secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources John Kassel.