ReVision Energy against tar sands pipeline

On January 26, ReVision Energy staffers joined a rally of more than 1,400 protestors who took to the streets of Portland to protest plans to reverse a Montreal-Portland oil pipeline to carry tar sands oil to Casco Bay, instead of importing oil to Montreal as it does now.

This short-sighted and environmentally reckless scheme has now become a pivotal point of environmental activism in Maine, with 350 Maine, Environment Maine, and the Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM) working to organize both the policy work and activism work required to shut down the proposal before it moves any further.

The January 26 rally was the largest to date, pointing to the urgency Mainers feel about stopping this specific pipeline plan, as well as working to curb our addiction to fossil fuels generally.

On behalf of the Portland Press Herald, Tux Turkel reports:

[Protestors] came to protest the threat of a spill from a thick form of petroleum that might someday be pumped through a pipeline that runs from Portland to Montreal.

But this rally wasn’t just about a pipeline. At its root is a scientific calculation that the world must lower the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million, or suffer stronger storms, droughts and other extreme weather events associated with climate change. The rally was orchestrated by the people behind 350.org, a website devoted to climate change.

In North America, public attention is focused on tar sands deposits in the province of Alberta. These deposits give Canada the world’s second-largest petroleum reserves, behind Saudi Arabia. But environmentalists say full development will release enough CO2 to push the Earth’s atmosphere past a “tipping point,” making 350 parts per million an impossible goal.

To keep tar sands oil in the ground, activists have launched a coordinated, two-nation effort to block three primary routes in which energy companies want to build or repurpose pipelines. No pipelines, the activists reason, no tar sands oil. One of the routes runs through Ontario to Montreal, and potentially to Portland — the end of the pipeline.

maine protestors against tar sands oil
Photos courtesy NRCM

Stopping the Keystone

While the Maine rally galvanized momentum locally, the tar sands issue is part of a bigger message trumpeted by 350.org’s environmental activist Bill McKibben. While climate change was hardly mentioned at all in the 2012 presidential campaign, it featured prominently in both President Obama’s inauguration speech and state of the union. One tangible way to ‘walk the talk,’ according to McKibben, is for Obama to shut down the plans for the Keystone XL Pipeline.

To send a strong message to the President, 350.org is planning the largest climate change rally in history on Sunday, February 17 at 12pm. NRCM is organizing buses from the Portland area, and ReVision Energy staffers plan to be there among the 20,000+ protestors expected.

If you can’t make it to D.C., you can follow the excitement on NRCM’s Facebook page (and ReVision Energy’s, too), and you can also send a message to Obama to take climate change seriously.