Bill passes, pipeline worries remain
Located along Route 2 in Shelburne, this Portland Pipe Line Corporation pump station helps move crude oil from South Portland, Maine to Montreal, Canada. (JOHN KOZIOL)
A warning sign on Meadow Road in Shelburne shows the underground location of the Portland Pine Line Corp.'s pipeline, which carries crude oil from South Portland, across northern New Hampshire and Vermont to refineries in Montreal, Canada. JOHN KOZIOL
A warning sign on Meadow Road in Shelburne shows the underground location of the Portland Pine Line Corp.’s pipeline that carries crude oil from South Portland, across northern New Hampshire and Vermont to refineries in Montreal, Canada. JOHN KOZIOL
PMPL has not been a bad neighbor, said Woodburn, D-Dalton, "but we need to have our own plan when it comes to having them run something through the environment. It's not something we can gamble with."
Beginning in South Portland, Maine, the pipeline extends 236 miles, entering the Granite State in Shelburne, and proceeding underground mostly along the Route 2 corridor through Gorham, Randolph, Jefferson and Lancaster before it crosses into Vermont. The oldest part of the pipeline was built in 1941.
Woodburn and SB325 supporters have noted that the PMPL crosses more than 70 streams and wetlands, including the Connecticut and Androscoggin rivers, as well as the Moose River, in front of the Kruszynas' modest home on Durand Road.
But it wasn't until further review that Bob Kruszyna said he realized his easement is open-ended and doesn't actually specify how wide the right-of-way is. He also came to the conclusion that only the federal government, which has regulatory authority over oil pipelines, could prevent the PMPL from being used to transport tar-sands oil.
Woodbury said that PMPL opposed SB325, claiming that federal law pre-empted any state action. He said that philosophically, some SB325 supporters found it "offensive that we can't be involved and regulate what's happening within our own borders. This is oil that doesn't benefit anyone in New Hampshire, it just passes through."
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