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Debbie New’s “My View” essay in The Valley Reporter should be required reading for all Vermonters. It’s an important message.
We know that we live on a planet with a finite amount of source materials which we use to sustain us. We know that everything we extract from the earth and use, whether in its natural state or changed by processing, is ultimately “used up” – but it doesn’t disappear. Nothing disappears. It, along with the substances used in its extraction, processing, manufacture, use and disposal, wind up in the soil, the water we drink, the food we eat, the air we breathe and the atmosphere that regulates our earth’s climate. Our planet is the ultimate sink once the source is extracted and used.
As Debbie pointed out, tar sands oil is one of the dirtiest petroleum products in existence. It uses almost as much energy in exploration, extraction, processing and use as it provides as fuel. To add to the problem, the U.S. and Canada have permits to extract nearly four times as much of this dirty stuff as the planet can handle; the source is far greater than the sink.
Beyond the global and moral implications of tar sands oil production lies the very real threat of the flow-reversal of the Portland/Montreal pipeline in order to pump this hot, abrasive, acidic, diluted bitumen through a 62-year-old pipe currently carrying light crude from east to west through 10 Northeast Kingdom towns.
Oil spills from tar sands pipelines are three times more prevalent per mile of pipe than ordinary crude. Spills release airborne neurotoxins from the solvents used and the heavy tar sands coat streambeds making cleanup nearly impossible.
Sign the petition to Keep Vermont Tar Sands Free. Find it at the Warren Store, Eat Warren Community Market, Moretown General Store, VG, and Sweet Pea. Vote yes on the petition’s resolution at Town Meeting.
Dotty Kyle and Eric Brattstrom live in Warren.