Vermont News Briefs

New England groups say federal government must develop safety standards for tars sands oil

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.

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Andrew Stein

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  • timothy price

    The Trojan Horse! It sounds good. Who could not be in favor of safer standards for pumping tar sands oil?…. unless, of course, this is a just a way to enable the continuation of the Alberta tar sands project itself. Right, if the corporation is going to destroy the planet by scraping away the vegetation and churning up vast areas of forest and grasslands to get the oil, and then rain down killing pollution that is poisoning the air, the water, the food, sickening the native peoples and destroying their lives…. at least make the transport of the project a little less risky… right?

    The tar sands oil project is a disaster in itself. That is what needs to be stopped. This idea of “making the tougher standards which regulate the pipeline” is simply a way of enabling the project….. NO, to tar sands oil extraction… period. NO pumping of tar sands oil.. period. NO to tar sands oil.

  • sandra bettis

    safety standards for tar sands oil?? the only safety standard for tar sands oil is to leave it in the ground!!!

  • I think you’re missing the thrust of the pipeline safety petition. This is yet another way to slow down or stop the use of the Portland Montreal Pipeline for running tar sands bitumen. Of course the ultimate goal is to shut down development of the tar sands fields in Alberta. However, what we can reach for here in Vermont, close at hand, is a way to cut off yet another head of the hydra. If they can’t get the tar sands products out, they can’t sustain the development.

    Please keep your eyes on the prize, but don’t start seeing enemies in people who are working toward the same goal.

  • Jim Barrett

    Yes federal government, please save us from some safety concerns that don’t exist. Maybe if we holler loud enough the government will also outlaw natural gas, oil, coal and anything needed to help us survive the onslaught of a government which plans on taking everything!


    Tar? Where’s the feathers.

  • Judy (Larson) DiMario

    I couldn’t agree more — It should have been mandatory when the whole thing began!

    Fayston, VT