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Environmentalists say they'll fight Portland pipeline flow reversal

April 21, 2013 at 10:49 PM

PORTLAND, Maine, April 21 (UPI) -- Environmentalists said they are fighting a plan to reverse the flow of a Maine oil pipeline that would allow Canada greater access to overseas markets.

Over seven decades, the Portland, Maine, pipeline has carried approximately 5 billion gallons of crude oil across the mountains and beneath the waters of northern New England to Quebec refineries, The Boston Globe reported Sunday.

Although the Portland project would be a small-construction enterprise, opponents believe the project would make northern New England the first express conduit for the most polluting kind of crude oil. They think it would cause increased use of environmentally harmful fuel productions.

"This is about whether we should allow pumping of the dirtiest crude oil on earth through some of the most beautiful places in the region, from Vermont's Northeast Kingdom to the clamming muds of Casco Bay," said Dylan Voorhees, clean energy director with the Natural Resources Council of Maine.

But Larry D. Wilson, president and chief executive of Portland Pipe Line Corp., said, "All that would happen is that molecules would be flowing in a different direction within the same safe design criteria."

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