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Transporting oil via pipelines carries risks

March 1st, 2016 | Posted by admin

Originally published in the Watertown Daily Times on March 1, 2016, from Lee Willbanks Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper and Save The River Executive Director.

In response to Wednesday’s editorial: “Cruising to Disaster“, Save The River would like to express our enthusiastic support of the editors’ position on the dangers and inappropriate risks of winter navigation on the St. Lawrence River. . . [however] while pipelines may be safer, they are by no means fail safe.

Click here for the full text of the Riverkeeper’s letter.

Kalamazoo River Spill (from EPA)

Kalamazoo River Spill (from EPA)

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Ban crude oil transit

October 1st, 2015 | Posted by admin

Save The River has been fighting to protect the vulnerable and fragile natural and human environment on the St. Lawrence River for its entire 37-year history. Recent efforts by the Seaway corporations to market the River as a highway for crude oil have caused us to increase our focus on the threat these cargoes pose to the River. What we have learned is alarming.

Although refined petroleum products are currently transported on the Great Lakes, crude oil is not. Two very different and very dangerous types of crude are poised to transit the St. Lawrence River. One, Bakken crude, is extremely volatile, even explosive as seen in numerous “bomb train” incidents in recent years. The other, tar sands oil, is heavy enough to sink in freshwater where, with current technology it is unrecoverable.

Shipping on the St. Lawrence River has long been an all-risk and no-reward proposition, and the shipment of crude oil will exponentially increase the risk to our environment, our economy and our communities.  Having suffered a major oil spill on the St. Lawrence River, we know all too well the risks involved with even traditional cargoes.  As pressure increases to bring these dangerous cargoes to the waters of the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes, we must take steps to protect our River before it’s too late.

For these reasons, Save The River enthusiastically supports the Pipeline Improvement and Preventing Spills Act, introduced in the U.S. Senate this week. If passed, it will ban the shipment of crude oil by vessel on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River. The authors, Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow (MI) deserve to be commended. Their bill, in addition to banning the shipment of crude oil, requires a comprehensive, top-to-bottom review of hazardous pipelines in the region, compels an assessment of oil spill response and cleanup plans, and requires that ice cover be part of worst-case scenarios in response plans.

Once crude oil is in a ship’s hold headed for the St. Lawrence it will be too late. Now is the time to prevent the next catastrophic spill from happening. The best way to do that is to keep cargoes the Coast Guard admits it doesn’t know how to handle off the water entirely. The Pipeline Improvement and Preventing Spills Act should be supported by every member of New York’s Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River congressional delegation as a way to preserve and protect the St. Lawrence River now and for future generations.

Letter to the Editor by Lee Willbanks
Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper / Executive Director

Published by the Thousand Islands Sun on September 30th, 2015

Click here to see the print article.

Oil Collage

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Proposed legislation would ban Great Lakes crude oil shipments, up pipeline regulations

September 30th, 2015 | Posted by Lee
Published by the Watertown Daily Times on Wednesday, September 30, 2015.
Newly proposed federal legislation could prevent vessels from transporting crude oil on the Great Lakes and provide a “top-to-bottom review” for pipelines on the waterways.

The Pipeline Improvement and Preventing Spills Act, introduced last week by U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters of Michigan, also calls for new research on oil spill response, such as how to respond to a spill during the winter when ice covers the lakes, and increases access to safety information about pipelines.

The pair said in statements that they were inspired by a large spill in the Kalamazoo River.

“One can only imagine what a disaster it would be for a similar oil spill to occur in the Great Lakes, the world’s largest system of fresh surface water,” Sen. Peters said in a statement.

The pair also noted discomfort among maritime officials about the effectiveness of oil spill cleanup methods, such as oil dispersants, in times of cold water.

Among those advocating for the measure were Save the River, Clayton, which dedicated its winter conference to the topic earlier this year.

“Shipping on the St. Lawrence River has long been an all-risk and no-reward proposition, and crude oil on ships would greatly increase that risk to our environment, our economy and our communities,” D. Lee Willbanks, the group’s executive director, said in a statement.

Tom Flanagin, spokesman for Rep. Elise M. Stefanik, R-Willsboro, said that the congresswoman was looking for ways to protect the lakes without limiting access to affordable energy, and that the proposal was under review by her staff and the Great Lakes Task Force.

Similarly, a spokesman for Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., said the senator’s office also is reviewing the measure. A spokesman for Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand, D-N.Y., said she is considering the proposal, and is committed to protecting area lakes and waterways.

Currently, no crude oil shipments are made by vessel on the Great Lakes, Save the River and lawmakers said. However, the possibility of Canadian companies shipping crude oil on the St. Lawrence Seaway was reviewed last year by the U.S. Department of State as a part of its examination of the Keystone XL pipeline project.

2015-09-30 WDT Oil Article

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Save The River Applauds Federal Legislation that would Ban Crude Oil Shipments on the Great Lakes

September 24th, 2015 | Posted by Lee

Save The River Applauds Federal Legislation that would Ban Crude Oil Shipments on the Great Lakes, Assess Pipeline Risks and Improve Spill Response Plans

WASHINGTON, DC – Save The River is applauding the Pipeline Improvement and Preventing Spills Act which would ban the shipping of crude oil by vessel on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River.  U.S. Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow (MI) introduced the legislation today which in addition to banning crude oil in vessels, requires a comprehensive, top-to-bottom review of hazardous pipelines in the region. This legislation would also compel an assessment of oil spill response and cleanup plans, require ice cover be part of worst-case scenarios in response plans and increase public information about pipelines for local communities.

“We have suffered a major oil spill on the St. Lawrence River, and our communities will never forget”, said Lee Willbanks, Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper and executive director of Save The River. “As pressures increase to bring crude oil cargoes to the waters of the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes, we will vigorously support this legislation and we encourage our representatives to do so as well. Shipping on the St. Lawrence River has long been an all-risk and no-reward proposition, and crude oil on ships would greatly increase that risk to our environment, our economy and our communities.”

Save The River has been fighting to protect the vulnerable and fragile natural and human environment on the St. Lawrence River for its entire 37 year history, with a recent focus on the threat of new crude oil cargoes on the River. Last winter Save The River’s annual environmental conference featured an extensive examination of crude oil shipments, and possible impacts to the River. Earlier this month, Save The River brought these very concerns before a committee of the Jefferson County Legislature for consideration.

Currently, Willbanks is in Washington D.C. for meetings with Representative Stefanik and other members of the New York congressional delegation. While there he will urge support for the Pipeline Improvement and Preventing Spills Act, along with other River protection issues such as Plan 2014.

The Pipeline Improvement and Preventing Spills Act will protect the Great Lakes from oil spills by:

·         Banning the shipment of crude oil on tanker vessels and barges on the Great Lakes. Earlier this month, the State of Michigan and Enbridge reached an agreement not to transport heavy crude oil under the current configurations of Line 5. As we rapidly explore alternatives to Line 5, and as energy transportation increases in the U.S., this bill makes clear that shipping crude oil on the Great Lakes is an unacceptable transportation option. There is currently no crude oil transported by vessel on the Great Lakes, and this bill keeps it that way.

·         Mandating federal studies on pipeline risks in the Great Lakes, including alternatives to Line 5. The bill mandates analysis by the Department of Transportation and the National Academies on the risks associated with pipelines that run through the Great Lakes and other waterways in the region. The studies must deliver a report to Congress with safety recommendations related to reducing spill risks, including an assessment of alternatives to Line 5 and a comprehensive map of pipelines crossing waterways in the Great Lakes basin.

·         Improving oil spill response plans. The legislation requires the U.S. Coast Guard and other agencies to independently assess the current status of oil spill response and cleanup activities and techniques. It would also amend current law to require response plans that address icy conditions, when waters affected by a spill are covered in whole or in part by ice. During the past two winters, maximum ice coverage in the Great Lakes has been well above normal levels. The Coast Guard has stated it does not have the technology or capacity for worst-case discharge cleanup under solid ice, and that its response activities are not adequate in ice-choked waters.

·         Increasing public information and transparency about pipeline risks. Corporate information on pipeline operating standards, inspection reports and other information related to safety is often kept secret, or difficult to access and understand. The bill ensures residents are notified about pipelines near their property and compels operators to maintain publicly available information.

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Thousand Islands shipping halted after sugar freighter runs aground

April 21st, 2015 | Posted by admin

Published by the Watertown Daily Time on April 21, 2015

“Shipping along the St. Lawrence Seaway has been halted after a freighter carrying sugar ran aground under the Thousand Islands Bridge early Monday.

Lt. Brian T. Hillman, a spokesman for the U.S. Coast Guard based in Buffalo, said the 621-foot-long freighter, named Juno, called for help about 1 a.m. Monday. No cargo or fuel was spilled into the waterway, he said, and no crew injuries were reported.

The Coast Guard said Monday evening the vessel was listing slightly to port with 18 feet of water in the forward peak of the vessel.

The ship, flagged in the Bahamas, was heading toward Toronto. It is owned and operated by Polska Zeg Luga Morska, P.P., a subsidiary of the O’Brien’s Group. The pilot was fully licensed.

Lt. Hillman said Coast Guard and company crews are investigating the cause of the stoppage, assessing damage to the vessel as they wait for a salvage team that is en route.

At 6:30 p.m. Monday, U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Levi A. Read, based in Cleveland, said three ships were stopped because of the Juno’s grounding.

He said the Juno might not be able to leave the area until Wednesday, and the crew will stay on board the freighter in the interim.

Monday afternoon, environmental group Save the River noted the Juno was the second grounding of the just-launched season, and criticized the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. for listing the waterway as “Highway H2O.”

“If the shippers want to share the use of this river with the rest of us, they must exhibit their ability to do it safely,” D. Lee Willbanks, the group’s executive director, said in a statement. “Too much is at stake for the environment and our communities who rely on a healthy river.”

On April 3, the bulk carrier CWB Marquis went aground near Beauharnois, Quebec, Canada, after hitting a large ice floe.”

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From WWNY Channel 7 News: Ship Aground Near TI Bridge

April 20th, 2015 | Posted by admin

Kelly Martelle Juno aground

“The St. Lawrence Seaway is closed to commercial traffic after a freighter ran aground under the Thousand Islands Bridge near Alexandria Bay early Monday morning.

It happened just after 1 a.m.
The Juno is registered in the Bahamas and is carrying a load of sugar.

U.S. Coast Guard spokesman Mark Weidman tells 7 News nothing was spilled and there has been no environmental damage.

Coast Guard and Seaway inspectors are on board.”…/Ship-Aground-Near-TI-Bridge-3006316…

We’ll keep you updated on the status of the Juno as we learn more.

Photo Credit: Kelly Martelle

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Cost of an Oil Spill Too High

February 20th, 2015 | Posted by Lee

The clean up cost of oil spills has come into question as more crude oil is being transported across the US and Canada. With recent train derailments causing oil spills and explosions, the damage that can be caused by oil transport is becoming more apparent.

Monday February 16th a train carrying 3 millions gallons of Bakken crude oil derailed in West Virginia. The train consisted of 109 tanker cars, 26 of which had been derailed. Of the 26 derailed cars, all of which were built to new higher standards following the tragic Lac Megantic derailment, 19 were involved in a fire that was still ablaze on Wednesday, two days after the initial crash. Crude oil was also spilled into the Kanawha River. Several 100 people were left without drinking water and with winter weather impacting the area a timely response for clean up was not an option.

The risk of an oil spill on the St. Lawrence River is an emerging threat as companies seek ways to transport the hug buildup of Bakken and tar sands oil. One oil tanker can carry the equivalent product of 225 rail cars or 870 trucks. If a ship carrying oil on the River was involved in an incident, a spill might not be the worse that could happen. In any case the end results would be devastating and the damage unimaginable.

The Council of Canadians and Équiterre have issued a new report that make it clear that an oil spill in Lac Saint-Pierre on the St. Lawrence River, where tar sands oil has already been shipped, would cost billions to clean up – far more than the liability limit in Canada.

The environmental impact would be devastating to this UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve recognized as a wetland of international importance. Lac Saint-Pierre is a drinking water source and home to 27 species of rare plants, 79 species of fish, and 288 species of waterfowl. Although down river from Montreal, it stands as a chilling illustration of what could happen on some of the most difficult to navigate sections of the St. Lawrence between Kingston – Cape Vincent and the Seaway locks at Massena.

“Lac Saint-Pierre is a treasure and a wonder in the area. One oil spill could be the death of it all for future generations,” says Steven Guilbeault of Équiterre. “Given the high environmental price of a spill, diluted bitumen shipments should not be permitted on the St. Lawrence River.”

Shipments of diluted bitumen from the Alberta tar sands are expected to increase as oil giant Suncor and pipeline company TransCanada ramp up exports from ports on the St. Lawrence River. Bitumen from the tar sands is extremely difficult to contain and clean up when spilled on water as it tends to sink to the bottom.

The study also reports that in the event of an oil spill, emergency response would be limited by ice conditions and inadequate capacity of the small private company responsible for oil spill cleanup on the St. Lawrence. Under normal conditions, a spill could travel the length of Lac Saint-Pierre in eight hours – far quicker than a response can be mounted.

“We should be reducing the amount of oil shipped on the St. Lawrence, not increasing it,” says Mark Calzavara of the Council of Canadians. “Doubling the number of supertankers and doubling their size means that a disastrous oil spill is just a matter of time.”

The report recommends reducing the allowable ship size and number of exports, increasing emergency response capacity, removing the liability limit, and making the exporting company jointly responsible for damages.

The report is available at:

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Can Alberta Sands oil be safely shipped on the St. Lawrence?

February 10th, 2015 | Posted by Lee

By Julia Botero                                                                                                                                         Published on February 10, 2015 by North Country Public Radio

Crude oil from the Midwest is moved by pipeline and rail across the United States and through parts of New York’s North Country. Some companies are interested in shipping oil to East Coast refineries by way of the St. Lawrence River.

At a conference organized last weekend by the Thousand Islands-based group, Save the River, environmentalists voiced concern over the potential of a catastrophic oil spill.

The St. Lawrence River is frozen solid right now, but when spring arrives tankers will begin their slow journey up and down the waterway. The tankers carry huge amounts of heavy raw materials like grain, iron, and coal to ports in the United States and Canada. Only a few shipments of crude oil from Alberta Sands in Canada and the Bakken in North Dakota have come through the seaway, but environmentalists and state official are concerned more will come. Lee Willbanks, director of Save the River said, “This is a huge issue because there is a lot of oil in different forms being extracted in the Midwest in our country and in Alberta Canada. And right now there is more oil coming out of the ground then has a conduit to a refinery.”

Gary McCullough, with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation said, “Fundamentally my concern is that spills on the St. Lawrence River would be extremely challenging to clean up.” Mcllouch said that is because the river’s current is really strong. “The oil will move on the water faster than we have the ability to contain it. If you lost a large amount of oil on Alexandria Bay, that oil has already transversed to Massena.”

McCullough mentioned the Nepco spill of 1976. A massive barge carrying thick motor oil ran aground and spilled 500,000 gallons. “You can still see oil strips on rocks up in Ogdensburg, Lisbon area,” he said.

McCullough said much of that oil floated. The oil from the Tar Sands, on the other hand, is much heavier and may not float. Oil that sinks causes more damage because it is almost impossible to completely remove from a river floor. Emma Lui, with the Council of Canadians, said the company Suncor has already shipped Alberta Tar Sands oil along the River this past fall. Lui said, “The shipments that happen with Suncor really set a precedent for other shipments to happen.”

Lui said her organization released a study that found the cost to clean up just 10 percent of the oil from a Suncor tanker would be more than the Canadian government can afford. “We are not prepared nationally and locally — the mayors in the communities aren’t prepared either and if we aren’t prepared we should be doing this.“

Lee Willbanks said talking about the worst case scenarios when it comes to shipping oil can, at the very least, make those in charge think before they act. “It is really shame on us if we as a community don’t demand this discussion and have it in every level of government before we ship this,” he said.

The current low price of oil means shippers aren’t moving much, but that could change by the time the seaway reopens for navigation in March.

for oil post












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Risk of Crude Oil Spills Highlighted at Save The River’s Winter Environmental Conference

February 9th, 2015 | Posted by Lee

Risk of crude oil spills spotlighted at Save the River winter conference

Published: Sunday, February 8, 2015 by the Watertown Daily Times

CLAYTON — Stephen C. Taylor asked a group of panelists a question on Saturday morning at the 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel about the risk posed by crude oil extracted from Alberta’s tar sands, which sinks to the bottom of water bodies and can cost millions to clean up.

“It seems to me that one of the most clear things from this discussion is that we aren’t ready for this, but that the industry is going to force it down our throats,” the resident of Wellesley Island said, speaking to the four panelists who made a presentation on the impact of crude oil shipments from Canada’s Alberta oil sands during the annual winter environmental conference held by Save the River. “What are the oil and pipeline companies doing? … I think they’re dumping it on our lap. And it’s quite clear we aren’t ready for this.”

Mr. Taylor was among about 170 people — about 30 of them Canadians — who attended a variety of river-related presentations during the 26th annual conference. Most of the attendees were members of Save the River, an environmental advocacy group based in Clayton.

Emma Lui, water campaigner for the Council of Canadians of Ottawa, responded to Mr. Taylor’s comments by saying that his concerns about crude oil were merited. She said research shows that the Canadian government, for example, would be ill-equipped to handle a crude oil spill of about 10 percent from a standard-size Aframax oil tanker. The government would have a maximum of about $1.4 billion to cover such a spill, she said, which would cost at least $2 billion to clean up.

“That’s a huge concern,” Ms. Lui said. “And I appeal to everyone in the room that it’s our responsibility to be highlighting this. If we’re not ready for a spill, we shouldn’t be going ahead with it.”

The Council of Canadians believes that all transportation of tar-sands oil should be banned on and near the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River, Ms. Lui said.

Much of the panel discussion was focused on the glut of crude oil extracted from tar sands in Alberta and the Bakken Shale Formation in Montana, which is being transported to refineries across the U.S. Experts said the crude oil — called diluted bitumen — has posed a serious threat to the Great Lakes and could impact the St. Lawrence River in the future.

Tar sands are a type of petroleum deposit that contains sand, clay and water saturated with a dense kind of petroleum called bitumen, Ms. Lui said. Because bitumen has the consistency of molasses, it has to be separated with chemical diluents to be transported by pipelines. Diluted bitumen floats briefly when spilled, she said, but then it sinks as its light components evaporate. As a result, it becomes more difficult to clean up and poses a greater risk to watersheds than conventional crude oil.

To illustrate, Ms. Lui cited a massive spill in July 2010 in southwestern Michigan, in which nearly 4 million liters of diluted bitumen spilled into Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo River. A ruptured pipeline operated by Calgary-based Enbridge Pipelines Inc. was responsible for the spill, which resulted in a cleanup cost of about $1.2 billion.

“And even after 1.2 billion dollars was put into it, it’s still not clean,” she said.

Though the St. Lawrence River isn’t now used much to transport diluted bitumen, Ms. Lui said, that could change. Last fall, the first oil tanker to transport diluted bitumen on the St. Lawrence made a shipment from the port of Sorel-Tracy in Quebec, east of Montreal, she said. Owned by Suncor Energy Inc. of Calgary, that tanker carried about 700,000 barrels of the oil to Italy, while a second tanker carried a load in October to the Gulf of Mexico.


The U.S. Coast Guard has focused much of its attention in recent years to understanding how to respond effectively to diluted bitumen spills, according to T.J. Mangoni, supervisor of the District Response Advisory Team for the 9th District of the Coast Guard, which is responsible for overseeing operations across the Great Lakes. He said that in the case of the Enbridge oil spill on the Kalamazoo River, 22 Coast Guard posts supported the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in cleanup efforts.

Mr. Mangoni said that the Coast Guard is required to plan for worst-case scenarios and that he is confident in the Coast Guard’s ability to respond effectively to serious oil spills. He said the Kalamazoo River spill helped the Coast Guard develop better techniques.

“There are many different techniques that organizations are now prepared to try to capture it within the (water) column, and also removing sediments from the bottom,” he said. “And it’s going to be a case-by-case.”

The effectiveness of the response to an oil spill is often based on how quickly crews are able to remove it from the water surface, said Gary P. McCullouch, spill engineer for state Department of Environmental Conservation Region 6, which encompasses Jefferson, Lewis, St. Lawrence, Oneida and Herkimer counties.

Diluted bitumen “doesn’t sink immediately,” he said. “So I think our greatest focus is speed … you can get a lot of that oil off the surface before it sinks. And I think part of the discussion should be about our initial response techniques.”

Mr. McCullouch cited the last major recorded oil spill in the St. Lawrence River, in the summer of 1976, when the fuel barge Nepco 140 ran aground near Alexandria Bay, spilling about 300,000 gallons. He said that spill cost about $8 million to clean up, but the process wasn’t effective because the Coast Guard’s knowledge about oil discharges was limited at the time.

“With that experience behind us, and a greater focus on safety, cooperation and more comprehensive cleanup and disposal strategies, a spill of that magnitude today would easily cost hundreds of millions of dollars,” Mr. McCullouch said, emphasizing the importance of efforts to prevent future spills.

Mr. McCollouch said that while oil spills have always been a threat, the recent national spotlight on the risks of crude oil transportation has re-emphasized the importance of preventing spills. In that sense, he said, it has been a positive trend. He said organizations at the state and federal level are cooperating more to understand how to better combat spills.

“It’s fashionable to work together again,” he said.

2015 WEC Oil Panel

Photo Credit: Sarah Ellen Smith

From left to right: Lee Willbanks, Kushan Dave, TJ Mangoni, Gary McCullouch, and Emma Lui


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26th annual Save the River winter conference boasts eclectic topics, speakers

February 2nd, 2015 | Posted by admin
Published: Monday, February 2, 2015  by the Watertown Daily Times

CLAYTON — The shipping of oil on the St. Lawrence River will be the main focus at the 26th annual Save the River winter conference Saturday [note: this is corrected from the article, which incorrectly states the Conference is Friday] at the Thousand Islands Harbor Hotel.

“The theme sort of chose itself this year,” said D. Lee Willbanks, Save the River executive director. “Across the Great Lakes region there has been a lot of attention to how much oil is produced in Alberta and North Dakota and how suppliers are having a hard time transporting it.”

At the conference, residents and public officials will have an opportunity to hear from scientists, experts, activists and educators about issues of importance to the health of the St. Lawrence River. Conference topics will include “To Ship or Not”: with the pace of oil extraction from the U.S. Midwest and Alberta tar sands picking up and increasing the pressure for ways to ship it to overseas markets, the waters and watershed of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River are being considered as potential routes to the sea.

Mr. Willbanks said the oil shipments on the St. Lawrence River are already an unpleasant reality. He said the heavy oil and bitumen from the Alberta tar sands pose new threats to the river because of their chemical characteristics that make them difficult to handle and recover if spilled.

“Even shippers should be concerned,” Mr. Willbanks said. “If there is a spill, it could be a very long process to clean up.”

A panel of experts will examine the implications of moving these new, toxic cargoes on and near the St. Lawrence River. The panel will include Kushan Dave, Cornell University, co-author of the recently published report “A New Era of Crude Oil Transport”; Anthony Mangoni, district response advisory team supervisor, Ninth Coast Guard District; Gary McCullough of the state Department of Environmental Conservation and Emma Lui from the Council of Canadians. There also will be a visual presentation about the source of this potential new cargo by Alex MacLean.

Mr. Willbanks said the discussions won’t be exclusively about oil. Additional speakers will provide updates on issues directly affecting the health of the St. Lawrence River and in which the river community has taken an active role. Dereth Glance, commissioner to the U.S. section of the International Joint Commission, will speak about the status of Plan 2014 and other water quality initiatives being undertaken by the commission. Jennifer Nalbone, of the state attorney general’s office, will provide an update on microbeads, the tiny plastic particles contained in personal care products, that have been found in alarming concentrations in the river, and the effort to ban them in New York. Matt Windle, research scientist at the St. Lawrence River Institute of Environmental Sciences, will speak about his research on the American eel, a once-thriving and still iconic and culturally significant but threatened St. Lawrence River inhabitant.

“There are a going to be a lot of rigorous discussions going,” Mr. Willbanks said. “I think this is going to be one of our best-attended events.”

The conference is open to the public and anyone interested in the future of the river is encouraged to attend. Registration begins at 10 a.m.

The registration fee is $45 and includes coffee, lunch and a cocktail reception with light hors d’oeuvres.

To make a reservation, call 686-2010.

26th Annual Winter Environmental Conference

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