South Portland, ME: Activists Stand Up to ExxonMobil's Tar Sands Plan:
Pipeline located within 1000ft of Southern Maine reservoir

Tar sands oil is the dirtiest oil in the world: it is a heavy molasses like oil that you can hold in your hand and needs to be diluted with a host of toxic chemicals in order for it to flow through pipelines. Spills from these pipelines can and do occur. We have already seen communities devastated by ruptured pipelines like Mayflower, Arkansas and Kalamazoo, Michigan. Three years after the Kalamazoo spill, the Environmental Protection Agency has declared 37 miles of the river permanently polluted.

While the proposed Keystone XL pipeline poses a threat to many Midwestern states, here in New England, ExxonMobil wants to pump the same highly toxic tar sands oil through an aging oil pipeline that runs from Montreal, through Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

The Vermont legislature has voted to ensure that the proposed pipeline must go through an environmental review. In Maine, several towns have passed resolutions opposing using the pipeline for tar sands oil, given that the pipeline travels within 1000 feet of Sebago Lake, the drinking water source for all of Southern Maine.

ExxonMobil’s plans include building two 70-foot smokestacks in South Portland next to iconic BugLight lighthouse, necessary for burning off the toxic fumes of the oil before loading it onto tankers.

Learning of the threat to their air quality, drinking water and special places, South Portland residents came together in the spring to stop tar sands from coming through their community. Their group, the Concerned Citizens of South Portland reached a big milestone in the summer securing signatures from 1 in 5 city residents to put a question on the ballot to stop the tar sands project. Toxics Action Center staff continue to work with residents to ensure that the residents in South Portland vote “Yes.”