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August 03, 2012

Tar Sands Oil: Protest in Vermont, Spills in Wisconsin

VT tar sands rally2
On Sunday, July 29th, in Burlington, Vermont, more than 500 people took part in a march and rally outside of a conference of New England Governors and eastern Canadian leaders in protest of a proposed New England tar sands pipeline.

"Folks made it known that Vermonters, and our friends from the Northeast, oppose the proposed tar sands pipeline, and that this project will face a concerted and stiff local resistance if and when big oil decides to try and move it forward," said David Vandeusen, conservation organizer for the Vermont Sierra Club.

"The day saw environmentalists (Sierra Club, 350.org, etc), labor oriented folks (from the Vermont Workers Center), and those affiliated with the Occupy Wall Street movement stand together in solidarity and for a better more sustainable energy future for our region and beyond."
VT tar sands march
The marchers all wearing black t-shirts then laid down in front of the conference facility to form a human oil spill. A busload of Maine Sierra Club activists took part in the day's events as well.

"The Sierra Club presence was definitely felt," said Vermont Sierra Club Chapter Chair Steve Crowley, who had kind words for their friends from Maine.

"The Maine group started out with its own march down Church Street, and entered City hall Park with a flourish."

VT tar sands rally1

350.org's Bill McKibben spoke during the rally, along with several Sierra Club representatives - all urging clean energy instead of more dirty tar sands oil. The march and rally landed numerous media hits.

Photos courtesy of the Vermont Sierra Club. See more photos of the march and rally on Flickr and on Facebook.

Meanwhile in Wisconsin, "the U.S. Transportation Department's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has ordered Enbridge to certify that its entire 1,900-mile Lakehead oil delivery system is safe to operate." You can read PHMSA's order here (PDF).

This safety request comes after an Enbridge pipeline spilled "more than 50,000 gallons of oil into a Wisconsin pasture" last Friday.

You may remember Enbridge from their catastrophic tar sands oil spill in Michigan's Kalamazoo River two years ago. That spill was more than one million gallons and the effects still linger today.

-- Heather Moyer, Sierra Club


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