Archives for Tar sands

RadioActive 1/30/14

Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco

Issue: Environmental and Social Justice

Program Topic: The impacts of Tar Sands extraction on the First nations health, environment and autonomy; Update on South Portland Tar Sands Moratorium

Key Discussion Points:
a) Today we look at the impacts of the rampant contamination by tar sands oil extraction on First Nations communities health, environment and autonomy.
b) We speak with Eriel Deranger, member of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation ,who will be on the “Tar Sands Exposed speaking tour in Maine, January 30th and 31st, sponsored by climate activist network 350 Maine.
We also speak with indigenous rights attorney,and Penobscot Nation member, Sherri Mitchell, who will talk about the patterns of i exploitation at the Orono talk.

c) We begin with an update on the current moratorium on tar sands export in South Portland, Maine.


A) Emily Figdor, Environment Maine and Protect South Portland

B) Eriel Deranger, memebr of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) of northern Alberta, Canada; ACFN tar sands campaign and communication coordinator.

C) Sherri Mitchell, member of Penobscot Nation; indigenous rights attorney with Land Peace Foundation

WERU News Report 1/28/14

Producer/Host: Amy Browne

Segment 1: Environment groups are warning that Mainers may find themselves using gas derived from tar sands, citing a recent report by the Natural Resources Defense Council. Dylan Vorhees, the Clean Energy and Global Warming Project Director at the Natural Resources Council of Maine is joining us today to tell us why they see that as a big problem.
(Link to a pdf of the full report is here: )

Segment 2: Pete Seeger at SOA, 2003. Back in 2003 we reported on the annual protest at the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, formerly called the School of the Americas – and know to human rights activists as the “School of the Assassins”. The school, located at Fort Benning, Georgia, is run by the US Military. It trains soldiers from Latin America in counterinsurgency techniques and war fare, and many graduates have gone on to commit atrocities. One of the participants in the protest that year was Pete Seeger. On a stage set up right outside the gates of the military compound, he led the crowd in a sing-a-long. His voice was failing, but not his spirit, as you’ll hear in this clip

RadioActive 10/31/13

Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco

Issue: Environmental and Social Justice

Program Topic: Potential Tar Sands Pipeline and Waterfront Protection Ordinance in South Portland

Key Discussion Points:

a) On November 5th voters in South Portland will weigh in on proposed “Waterfront Protection Ordinance”.
b) The underlying motivation for it’s crafting is an attempt to stop a potential reversal of the Portland Montreal Pipeline to carry tar sands oil from Montreal to South Portland for export, linking to the Energy East tar sands pipeline project in Canada.
c) Portland Pipeline Corporation denies plans to reverse the pipeline at this time, and says the Waterfront Protection Ordinance will harm industry in South Portland.


A) Sarah LaChance, 350 Maine

B)Jim Merril, Bernstein Shur Group, New Hampshire State Director (, spokesperson for Working Waterfront Coalition and Portland Pipeline Corporation (

C)Bob Klotz, 350 Maine (

RadioActive 5/16/13

Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco

Issue: Environmental and Social Justice

Program Topic: Two unsuccessful legislative attempts to block tar sands pipeline and metallic mining; developments in global retailers reaction to Bangladesh building collapse

Key Discussion Points:
a) This week, the Maine legislature’s Natural Resources Committee watered down a bill that would have set a two year moratorium on pumping of tar sands oil through the Montreal Portland Pipeline, 76% owned by Exxon Mobil. Changes were made to the bill after the Maine Attorney General’s office claimed such a moratorium would interfere with federal interstate commerce laws.
b) A bill (LD 1059) that would have reversed last year’s legislation that opens Maine to open pit metallic mining did not pass out of committee this week. Instead, LD 1302 was voted out of committee, a bill that only seeks to mitigate environmental damages. Though 350 Maine and others did not support this compromise, other environmental groups, including the Natural Resources Council of Maine did.
c) Over 30, primarily European, clothing companies have signed onto a legally binding building and fire safety agreement for their Bangladesh factories. It requires independent safety inspections with public reports, mandatory factory building renovations, an obligation that brands and retailers underwrite the cost of repairs, and a genuine role for workers and unions. Us companies, such as Walmart and Gap have not signed on, making them the continued target of labor rights campaigns.

A) Bob Klotz, organizer with 350 Maine Team,

B) Liana Foxvog, organizer with International Labor Rights Forum, Sweatfree Communities campaign

C)Update on Coal is Stupid blockade in Somerset, MA

WERU News Report 3/26/13

Producer/Host: Amy Browne

Topics: regulating tar sands, smart meters fees

Segment 1: There is news today on the issue of a possible tar sands pipeline in Maine. A diverse coalition of groups and individuals announced this morning that they are filing a petition with the federal government, calling for new safety standards– and a moratorium on further construction until the safety measures are in place. Jim Murphy, Lead Counsel for the National Wildlife Federation, was the moderator on a conference call earlier today, where the coalition provided background:
(FMI: and )

Segment 2: In Augusta this afternoon, the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee held a public hearing on a bill [LD 826 “An Act To Eliminate the Opt-out Charges for Smart Meters”] that would eliminate the fees consumers currently have to pay if they don’t want one of the electric company’s so-called “smart meters” on their house. The meters have raised concerns about health and privacy issues. Representative Andrea Boland spoke in favor of the bill:

RadioActive 1/24/13

Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco

Issue: Environmental and Social Justice

Program Topic: Tar Sands demonstration in Bangor, organizing in Maine

Key Discussion Points:

a) Demonstrators in Bangor and across the region rallied to oppose the use of a northeast pipeline for tar sands oil. The Portland Montreal Pipe Line (PMPL) corporation has plans to reverse it’s 70 year old pipeline to transport tar sands from Montreal to Portland, Maine’s harbor.

b) The demonstration took place in front of a TD Bank. TD is one of the largest financiers of the Alberta tar sands developments. Canadians have opposed this industry because of forest destruction, contamination and health impacts, specifically on First nations communities. Both in the US and Canada, people have opposed tar sands pipelines, because of the proven increased risk of spills, the toxicity of the bitumen crude, and threat to drinking water. It takes three times as much energy to produce a barrel of tar sands oil then conventional oil. Scientist James Hansen warns the production and use of tars sands oil will precipitate “game over for climate change.

c) For the first time in it’s history, Sierra Club is planning to engage in direct action this February to oppose tar sands production and climate change.

A) Demonstrators at tar sands protest in Bangor
B) Andy Burt, Sierra Club activist and environmental justice coordinator for Maine Council of Churches

WERU News Report 12/12/12

Producer/Host: Amy Browne
“Tar Sands Coming to Maine? What to Expect”

*National Wildlife Federation’s new report: “Crude Behavior: TransCanada, Enbridge, and the Tar Sands Industry’s Tarnished Legacy”
*Enbridge & Trailbreaker pipeline project
*Experiences elsewhere

Dylan Voorhees, Natural Resources Council of Maine
Joe Mendelson, director of climate and energy policy, National Wildlife Federation
Gillian McEachern, deputy director, Environmental Defence (Canada)
Jeffrey Insko, Michigan landowner and tar sands blogger
Jane Kleeb, executive director, Bold Nebraska
Peter LaFontaine, report author and energy advisor, National Wildlife Federation

The full report, “Crude Behavior: TransCanada, Enbridge, and the Tar Sands Industry’s Tarnished Legacy” is available at

RadioActive 10/18/12

Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco

Topic: Industry pushes to increase mining and transport of tar sands oil, including in pipeline from Montreal to Portland, ME and through East Texas, where construction is being me by civil disobedience resistance

*We look again at the aggressive push across North America to increase the mining and pipeline transport of t highly polluting tar sands oil. Studies show tar sands oil creates 20% more climate changing pollution then even conventional oil.
*We look at the proposed tar sands pipeline from Montreal to Portland, ME and what companies would profit. Recent research shows Exxon Mobil to be a majority owner of the current and proposed line.
*We, again, talk with a representative of the Tar Sands Blockade in Eastern Texas. A high profile campaign of civil disobedience has been active there since August,as construction is started on the southern segment of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

Dylan Voorhes, Clean Energy Project Director, Natural Resources Council of Maine,
Ron Seifert,