The Tar Sands Free Vermont Campaign began after corporations and lobbying firms representing the oil industry (Exxon-Mobil) gave a strong indication that they wanted to reverse the flow of an aging crude oil pipeline in New England, the Portland-Montreal Pipeline. This pipeline crosses northeastern Vermont and New Hampshire and sends crude oil west, from Maine ports to Canada. The pipeline reversal would have meant that tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada would travel east through Vermont to Portland, Maine for export. To resist these plans, 350Vermont partnered with the National Wildlife Federation, Vermont Sierra Club, and 350 groups throughout New England. Tar sands are one of the dirtiest fuels on earth, and Vermonters organized to ensure that it would not be transported through our state.
Two major goals for the Tar Sands Free VT campaign were to (1) prevent diluted bitumen from the Canadian tar sands from being transported through the Portland-Montreal pipeline, which crosses Vermont; (2) ultimately halt tar sands extraction in North America. Vermonters’ organizing efforts against tar sands included but were not limited to:
Passing 42 Town Meeting Day resolutions in Vermont against tar sands during 2013-14.
- Sending three representatives from Vermont to the Tar Sands Healing Walk in Alberta and holding a series of public report-backs, along with many other educational and organizing events.
- Hosting informational presentations from throughout the State everywhere from schools to rotary clubs, state fairs to pizza shops.
- Organizing a victory speakers series to hear how from 350Maine members how our combined grassroots efforts halted the tars sand expansion.
In collaboration with Rising Tide VT, and the Vermont Worker’s Center hosted a 3 day Northeast Regional Climate Justice Gathering in the Northeast Kingdom in August where over 200 participants from as far as Toronto and Texas came to attend workshops, plan, and network. Running parallel to the CJ Gathering was “The Make,” a spirited activist art build that generated cantastorias, banners, silk screen t-shirts, costumes and more that all was brought to the People’s Climate March. The event culminated in an incredibly festive “Carnival for the Climate” in the state capital of Montpelier, where State Street was successfully shut down for 3 hours.