January 18, 2013

On July 25, 2012, more than 100 people gathered at Bug Light in South Portland near the oil tanker terminal to commemorate the second anniversary of the worst tar sands oil spill in the U.S. and to bring attention to the disastrous proposal to pump tar sands oil through the Exxon-Enbridge pipeline across Maine. On January 26, 2013, hundreds of people from across New England are expected to gather for a big rally and march in downtown Portland demonstrating opposition to sending dirty tar sands oil through the Exxon/Enbridge pipeline across Maine and the Northeast.

Hundreds of people from across New England are expected to gather in Portland on Saturday, January 26 for the biggest tar sands protest the region has ever seen. The rally and march is being held to protest a proposal to send dirty tar sands oil through the 236-mile long, 62-year-old Exxon/Enbridge pipeline across Canada, Maine and the Northeast.

“Maine and the region have everything to lose and nothing to gain from sending toxic tar sands across our state,” said Emmie Theberge of the Natural Resources Council of Maine, who is helping to organize the rally, along with other groups like 350 Maine and Environment Maine. “Hundreds of people will descend on Portland Saturday to make a point: We cannot afford the risk of tar sands oil surging across the Northeast in Exxon’s pipeline and will be calling on the State Department to demand an environmental review of this risky proposal. There is too much at stake.”

Marchers will gather at Monument Square in downtown Portland at 11:30 a.m. for music, Native American drumming and more. At 12:30 the group will march through the streets of Portland from Monument Square past City Hall, down Exchange Street and via Commercial Street to the State Pier.

The big rally at the pier features a series of fired-up speakers including Portland Mayor Michael Brennan, Unity College President Stephen Mulkey, and a resident of Casco, the first Maine town to vote against the pipeline at its at town meeting. Portland City Council members are set to vote Wednesday on a measure that would ensure the city’s municipal fleet does not use fuel made from tar sands oil. Unity College was the first college in the nation to divest its endowment from fossil fuels.

People from across Maine, from every New England state, and from Canada have already registered for the rally, and buses are being organized from a number of places.

For more information on the rally and to register online:

Maine is threatened by the ExxonMobil/Enbridge tar sand pipeline that would run through Ontario, Quebec, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine to Portland Harbor. In Maine, the pipeline passes next to Sebago Lake, the drinking water supply for more than 15% of Mainers, crosses the Androscoggin and Crooked Rivers, and ends at Casco Bay, where it could endanger fishing and lobster industries.

The history of disastrous tar sands pipeline spills and escalating weather disasters from fossil fuel driven climate change, make the flow of tar sands oil especially risky.

The rally will demonstrate a wall of opposition to this risky proposal and call on federal officials to ensure there is a full environmental review of this project—because the threats are too great for the environment and economy of Maine, New England, Canada and the Earth.