"Tar sands" opponents plan to continue work
A member of the local citizen group which supported a resolution opposing the possible flow of “tar sands” oil through the nearby Portland-Montreal Pipe Line said Friday their work is not done, despite a defeat of the resolution at last week’s Bethel Town Meeting.
Bethel voters easily rescinded the resolution originally approved at a special town meeting in January.
The resolution opposed a potential reversal of the direction of oil flow through a Portland-Montreal Pipeline Co. pipeline that passes through Bethel as it carries crude oil to Montreal. Pipeline officials who attended the January meeting never got a chance to present their case before residents voted.
Bud Kulik, who circulated a petition to bring about the revote, told residents last week that if they rescinded the vote, “we can go back to square one. The proponents can always bring it up again, if they wish to do so.”
That point was echoed by Larry Wilson, president/CEO of the Portland-Montreal Pipe Line.
He said resolution proponents “have every right to do another resolution, and all we want to do is try to protect the operations that have been here for 72 years, to come and participate in the discussion, and be happy to accept the results.”
Wilson said the resolution, which he acknowledged is not legally binding was intended by proponents “to send a message that all of the community is supporting for the elected officials in Maine to keep oil sands opportunities out of Maine.”
But others at the meeting, including Al Cressy, thought there was enough information to be con-cerned and keep the resolution in place.
Cressy said he had struggled with how to vote, but two key points convinced him: the age of the pipe that is in the ground, and the potential effect of a spill.
“I believe it’s important for this town that depends on its environment – the rivers, the forest – the town that we value. Let’s be safe rather than sorry.”
Later in the week group member Seabury Lyon was asked if they would pursue another resolution.
He said the group will look at various options.
“Tar sands opposition is very much alive in Bethel as it is in many hundreds of American communities,” he said. “Like it or not, we’re all in this together and it’s vitally important that we seek and act on the very best information available.”