The oil industry has reached a new low by continuing to publicly deny its plans to transport tar sands oil through Maine (Maine Voices, “Oil sands crude not to be feared,” Oct. 21) and, at the very same time, applying for and receiving permits for the project.

Our deep-seated concern about and opposition to the project are precisely about the product that would move through the antiquated pipeline, which was built in 1950 and comes within 1,000 feet of Sebago Lake.

Tar sands oil is a different product than conventional oil. Tar sands oil isn’t even a liquid. After it’s diluted with chemicals so it can be pumped through pipelines, it becomes a corrosive, thick and hot substance that grinds and burns its way through the pipe, increasing the chance that weakened pipelines will rupture.

Indeed, between 2007 and 2010, pipelines carrying tar sands oil in North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan spilled almost three times more oil per mile of pipeline compared with the U.S. national average.

In addition, tar sands oil spills are hard to impossible to clean up, since the heavy tar sands tends to sink in water. More than two years after a major tar sands oil spill in Michigan’s Kalamazoo River, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wrote earlier this month in a letter to Enbridge, the company responsible, that tar sands remained “throughout approximately 38 miles” of the river and continues to generate oil sheen and oil globules.

This project poses grave risks to Sebago Lake and numerous other Maine waterways. Please join with us to stop it.