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Possible changes to Portland Pipe Line use to be explored on Nov. 14


November 07, 2012
RANDOLPH — The Randolph Conservation Commission will host an informational meeting at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 14, at Town Hall on Durand Road to explore and discuss possible changes in the use of the east-west Portland Pipe Line (PPL).

"We've invited members of the Planning Boards and Conservation Commissions from Lancaster, Jefferson, Randolph, Gorham, and Shelburne and also hope that at least one selectman will attend from each of these towns through which the PPL has run since the early 1940s," explained Bruce Kirmmse, chairman of the Randolph Conservation Commission.

He envisions a meeting at which a PPL spokesperson, as yet unidentified, would speak to the company's plans, if any.

Other panelists include Shelley Kath, an advisor and senior consultant to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) who is prepared to speak to environmental questions, and Richard "Rick" Berry of the state Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) who will discuss the state's responsibilities in connection with the pipeline, Kirmmse said in an e-mail exchange. After each of these speakers presents information for 15 or 20 minutes, officials from the five invited towns will get a chance to ask questions. Then the floor will be open for questions and comments from the general public, including towns in Vermont and Maine through which the pipeline has run since the early 1940s.

Several environmental organizations will likely also have representatives in the audience, Kirmmse said.

The NRDC, headquartered in New York City, issued a report in June that outlines its concerns: "Going in Reverse: The Tar Sands Threat to Central Canada and New England." A printed copy is available in both the Randolph Public Library and the selectmen's office.

The report is also available online at www.nrdc.org; use search box in upper right corner and type in "Going in Reverse" to see both the executive summary chart and full report.

Kirmmse, who is scheduled for shoulder surgery soon at Maine Medical in Portland, will likely not be able to attend the meeting, but he has turned the meeting's logistics over to Conservation Commission member Ben Eisenberg (BEisenberg@ne.rr.com).

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