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Vt. towns to consider resolutions on tar sands oil, assault weapons

MONTPELIER — While Vermonters debate school budgets and whether to buy new equipment on Town Meeting Day, some communities also will take up resolutions opposing the transport of tar sands oil through Vermont and recommending a ban on assault weapons.

The resolutions are nonbinding but petitioners hope they send a message on the annual state holiday, when residents gather to debate and vote on budgets and elect officials.

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‘‘The overarching intent is to signal to big oil that we don’t want them to transport tar sands through the 10 towns of the Northeast Kingdom, and we don’t want to use any of the tar sands or derivatives in our community,’’ said Anne Dillon of 350 Vermont, a group concerned about climate change that has pushed to get the tar sands free resolution on the ballot in 24 towns.

Larry Wilson, chief executive of Portland Pipe Line Corp., told Vermont lawmakers last week that his company is willing to move tar sands oil from western Canada across northern New England but has no plans to do so.

If it did, it would have to reverse the flow of the pipeline, which carries oil from Maine to a refinery in Montreal.

Communities Against Assault Weapons worked up an article that will be considered in March in Norwich, Theftford, Vershire, Strafford, Hartland, and Woodstock.

The resolution calls for a ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines and the requirement of criminal background checks for every gun sold and makes gun trafficking a federal crime.

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