We’re lucky to have a special post by Mikayla McDonald to present her hot-off-the-press fantastically helpful background report on the Trailbreaker project. Thank you, Mikayla!

Even as we celebrate last week’s partial-victory over the Keystone XL pipeline, let us not forget our ultimate goal: to stop the production, transportation and consumption of tar sands oil. To this end, we must look beyond the Keystone XL pipeline for now, and instead focus our sights on the other tar sands pipelines currently being proposed in Canada and the U.S.

One of these pipelines is called the Trailbreaker, first proposed in 2008 by Enbridge, another multi-billion dollar Canadian energy corporation heavily invested in Albertan tar sands. The Trailbreaker would bring Albertan tar sands oil from Sarnia, Ontario east to Portland, Maine via two pipelines – Line 9 owned by Enbridge, and the Portland- Montreal Pipe Line owned by a company of the same name (PMPL for short). Both pipelines are currently in existence, however both would have to be reversed to allow tar sands to flow west to east. The PMPL cuts through the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, running through the towns of Jay, Troy, Newport, Irasburg, Barton, Sutton, Burke, Victory and Guildhall.

The reversal project was postponed due to the economic downturn since 2008, however interest is currently being revived and the two companies (Enbridge and the PMPL company) are now applying for permits and are in discussions about how to move forward with their goals.

It is imperative that we inform ourselves of the status of this proposed pipeline project, and be prepared to fight it, if need be. Vermont is in a strategic position of influence with this pipeline, as it cuts through our beautiful state. Not only would the pipeline transport dirty tar sands oil, but the reversal could increase the likelihood of ruptures and oil spills in our communities, forests, fields and waterways.

As you know, we caught the Keystone XL pipeline almost too late. Let us not make the same mistake again. We must start earlier with the Trailbreaker, and stay vigilant. In fact, communities in Quebec have been fighting this project for years now! It may be time for us to join the fight.

I have written up a report with the latest information on this project. Please read it, discuss it, share it, and feel free to send me any questions you may have. – Mikayla