RAYMOND – The Board of Selectmen voted Tuesday to reject a resolution calling for tighter regulations on transporting tar sands oil through Raymond, but the issue probably isn’t settled.

Chairman Samuel Gifford said he expects the selectmen, who voted 3-2 against adopting the resolution, to vote on it again next month.

“The three who voted against it said they need to know more about the permitting process,” said Gifford, who voted in favor of the resolution along with Charles Leavitt.

“I’m quite sure it will come up in April and, if those questions are answered sufficiently, I’m quite sure the vote will be positive,” he said.

Selectmen Joe Bruno, Lawrence Taylor and Mike Reynolds voted against the resolution, which the board had tabled at a meeting Feb. 12.

Raymond is one of many towns in Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire that have considered resolutions regarding transportation of tar sands oil through a Portland-to-Montreal pipeline.

Portland Pipe Line Corp. says it may someday want to carry oil extracted from tar sands deposits in Alberta, Canada, to Portland Harbor, but it has no specific plans to do that.

Environmentalists say tar sands oil is more likely to spill and is more harmful to the environment than the oil that now runs through the pipeline from Portland Harbor to Montreal.

Representatives of the oil industry disagree, arguing that there would be no added risk from tar sands oil.

Several people on both sides of the issue have shown up at meetings in Maine towns and cities along the route of the pipeline.

Bethel, Casco and Waterford have adopted resolutions opposing transportation of tar sands oil through the pipeline. About 30 towns in Vermont did the same on Tuesday, during Town Meeting Day.

A related resolution is being reviewed in Portland, and the South Portland City Council is scheduled to discuss it Monday.

“I think, in the end, we’re going to end up passing something, but I don’t fall to pressure because there’s a lot of people in the room,” said Bruno. “I want to do the right thing. Nobody wants an oil spill, but I want the facts in front of us.”

Raymond’s resolution does not totally oppose tar sands oil, but “expresses serious concern” about its transportation through the town and calls for a thorough review of its environmental impact by the federal government.

“If tar sands are going to come through, then we want to make sure that our area is safe from spillage,” Gifford said.


Leslie Bridgers can be contacted at 791-6364 or at:

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