Pan Am Railways also in the spotlight
More oil may be coming on southern route
On July 10 the Phoenix reported online that Pan Am Railways had neglected to file monthly required reports to the state Department of Environmental Protection on how much crude oil it shipped through Maine during April and May, neglecting also to pay the 3-cents-a-barrel fee due with each report to help pay for the DEP’s oil-spill-cleanup actions. (See “State to Probe Missing Crude-Oil Reports,” by Lance Tapley, at thePhoenix.com/AboutTown.)
Pan Am operates a south-to-north line through Portland, Waterville, and Bangor separate from the west-east line operated by the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway whose runaway oil train was responsible for the Lac-Mégantic disaster. Both companies have been shipping crude to the Irving Oil refinery in New Brunswick.
The Canadian press has speculated that Irving, now blocked from receiving oil via Lac-Mégantic, may increase shipments with Pan Am. “It’s likely,” says Chop Hardenbergh, editor of Atlantic Northeast Rails & Ports newsletter, though he pointed out Irving has other options, such as the Canadian National rail line through Quebec. Neither Irving, Pan Am, nor Governor Paul LePage’s office replied to the Phoenix’s inquiries before deadline.
“We’ll block the trains,” commented Earth First! activist Jim Freeman about a possible increase in Pan Am’s oil traffic. (See sidebar, “Maine’s First Fearless Summer Skirmish.”)
Activism without getting arrested
Sebago Lake events feature author Bill McKibben
On Saturday, July 20, Bill McKibben, author and founder of the anti-global-warming group 350.org, will speak during a day of educational and kid-friendly activities sponsored by 350 Maine, the Sierra Club, and other environmental groups at Sebago Lake State Park in Casco.
The day’s theme is “protect Sebago Lake,” according to organizer Bob Klotz, of 350 Maine. The sponsoring groups are opposed to the Portland-Montreal pipeline being used to transport oil from Alberta’s tar sands to Portland Harbor. The pipeline runs close by the lake — Portland’s water supply and a recreational mecca. The pipeline company is considering such a use.
Events begin at 8 am at the Route 302 and 85 intersection in Raymond, where street-theater participants will dramatize the proximity of the nearby pipeline to the water. A parade in the park starts at 10:30 am. At 11 am the “People’s Flotilla” takes to the lake. McKibben will speak at a noon press conference.
A shuttle service from Portland and Lewiston/Auburn is being organized. The park has small entrance fees, but there’s assistance for those who can’t afford it. For information, go towww.350Maine.org.
"Shame on you MMA. You, the train from Hell,
don’t come back here. You are no longer
welcome. [Signed] The inhabitants.” | Jym St.
Pierre, Maine Environmental News