Old and leaky

To the Editor:

In your April 3, 2013 editorial comment, you incorrectly stated that "the NEK pipeline has zero negative impact on Vermont and never will. You further misstated that the "oil pipeline has run quietly, since the 1940's, through a corner of the Northeast Kingdom.

In fact, there have been a series of pipeline breaks and spills over the years. The worst spill so far, at least on the Vermont section of the pipeline, occurred in February 1952 when the pipeline was only 11 years old. A break in a welded seam near the Irasburg-Newport town line, near Kidder Pond, spilled over 3,000 barrels (165,000 gallons) of crude oil directly into Parker Brook. The spill then flowed into Ware Brook, then into the Black River, and finally into Lake Memphremagog. If you dig into some of the beaches in the South Bay area of the lake you can still find a layer of oily mess under the sand.

Pipelines, especially old pipelines, do leak. The Portland pipeline began operations 72 years ago in 1941. Just the other day, on March 29, 2013, an Exxon Mobil pipeline spilled over 85,000 gallons of oil into a residential area in Arkansas.

Mitch Perry

Dalton, N.H.


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