Wednesday, June 19, 2013
RAYMOND — The Board of Selectmen on Tuesday voted against adopting a resolution that would have called for tighter regulations around the transportation of tar sands oil through the town.
The matter probably hasn't been put to bed, however. Chairman Samuel Gifford said he expects the selectmen, who voted 3-2 against adopting the resolution, to vote on it again at a meeting next month.
"The three who voted against it said they need to know more about the permitting process," said Gifford, who voted in favor of the resolution along with Charles Leavitt.
"I'm quite sure it will come up in April and, if those questions are answered sufficiently, I'm quite sure the vote will be positive," he said.
Selectmen Joe Bruno, Lawrence Taylor and Mike Reynolds voted against adopting the resolution, which the board had tabled at a meeting Feb. 12.
Raymond is one of many towns in Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire that have considered resolutions regarding the transportation of tar sands oil through a Portland-to-Montreal pipeline.
Owner Portland Pipe Line Corp. says it may in the future want to carry oil that comes from tar sands deposits in Alberta, Canada to Portland Harbor, but has no specific plans to do that.
Environmentalists say tar sands oil is more likely to spill and is more harmful to the environment than the oil that currently runs through the pipeline, from the Portland Harbor to Montreal. Representatives of the oil industry disagree, arguing there would be no added risk from tar sands oil.
Several people on both sides of the issue have shown up at meetings in Maine towns and cities along the route of the pipeline.
The towns of Bethel and Casco have adopted resolutions opposing the transportation of tar sands through the pipeline. About 30 towns in Vermont did the same at Town Meeting Day on Tuesday.
The resolution considered in Raymond does not totally oppose tar sands, but "expresses serious concern" about its transportation through the town and calls for a thorough review of its environmental impact by the federal government.
"If tar sands are going to come through, then we want to make sure that our area is safe from spillage," Gifford said.