The Canadian tar sands are one of the dirtiest forms of energy on the planet, from destruction of the boreal forest of Alberta to their huge greenhouse gas emissions—according to James Hansen, full development of these tar sands will mean "game over" for our climate. As demonstrated by spills in Michigan, Arkansas, and other locations, tar sands oil is also almost impossible to clean up once it is released into the environment.
Along with trying to transport this dirty energy south through the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, the giant energy companies also are seeking an eastward pipeline to Montreal, and from there to the coast through routes such as the existing Portland-Montreal Pipeline. This 60+-year-old pipeline, built to transport conventional crude oil north to Canada, would experience the much greater pressures and temperatures needed to transport the thick tar sands oil. In addition to climate change impacts, tar sands oil poses substantial risks to the pristine environments of Vermont's Northeast Kingdom, New Hampshire, and Maine.
Request for Jurisdictional Opinion (January 2013)