In May, when I asked Peter Vigue at the Piscataquis County commissioners’ meeting in Dover-Foxcroft about the potential for a tar sands oil pipeline in the proposed East-West Corridor, he dismissed the question and sneered, “Why would anyone want to build a pipeline to the East Coast? Have you seen where Alberta, Canada, is? It is much closer to go to the West Coast.”
In January, Stephen Harper, Canada’s prime minister, indicated that Canada would redirect oil that had been destined for Gulf Coast refineries to other countries, particularly China, after the Keystone XL pipeline was blocked by the United States.
In May, Enbridge Energy, a Canadian oil transporter, announced a $3 billion plan called Eastern Access to enable pipeline development to the East Coast and applied for permission to reverse the flow of oil through an existing pipeline running from Portland to Montreal.
Enbridge Energy requested special permission to upgrade the pipes to allow the increased pressure needed for pumping tar sands oil (from Montreal to Portland).
In July, the Chinese oil giant Cnooc Ltd. closed a $15.1 billion deal to buy Canada-based oil developer Nexen Inc. Cnooc has expressed interest in shipping the oil offshore through the East Coast.
It seems to me that Mr. Vigue did not do his homework. So, I guess there is foreign interest in building an oil pipeline to the East Coast after all.
I wonder if the proposed East-West Corridor would make this easier for Canada and China. I also wonder exactly how this would benefit the people of Maine. I hope Mr. Vigue is reading the news.
Lesley Fernow is a resident of Dover-Foxcroft.