ADDISON COUNTY RESIDENTS, CLIMATE JUSTICE ADVOCATES PROTEST FRACKING PIPELINE AT PSB HEARING

March 22, 2013
 
Hinesburg, Vt. – A coalition of landowners, farmers, students and climate justice activists held a demonstration in opposition to the proposed Vermont Gas Pipeline on Thursday evening.  The demonstration was held outside of the Public Service Board public hearing at CVU high school.
 
Opposition to the proposed pipeline, otherwise known as the Addison Natural Gas project, has grown in recent weeks as the environmental and human health risks associated with hydraulic fracturing, gas consumption and high transmission pipelines becomes more apparent.  The proposed pipeline route intersects farms, preserved wetlands and would eventually go underneath Lake Champlain to supply International Paper’s Ticonderoga mill with gas service.  Many landowners along the route are concerned about the impacts on their land, as well as the ability of Vermont Gas to seize their land should they refuse to sign easements.
 
“Here is the democratic process: The Public Service Board, a judicial like board of three individuals, will decide if Vermont Gas gets a Certificate of Public Good,” said Jane Palmer of Monkton, “Once they get that certification, Vermont Gas will be able to condemn our land using eminent domain and install this pipeline.”  Palmer spoke, along with other landowners and climate justice activists, to a crowd of nearly 100 supporters.
 
Palmer is one of several landowners who is refusing to sign an easement that would allow Vermont Gas to lay the pipe across her land and through her organic pasture and vegetable gardens.
 
Climate activists are concerned that the gas in the pipeline is obtained through hydraulic fracturing, an increasingly common form of extracting gas that blasts a high-pressure cocktail of sand, water and chemicals below the surface of the earth to crack open deposits of gas in shale formations.  Fracking has been linked to water contamination, fish kills, and sickening communities.
 
“Natural gas is not clean energy.  It is a fossil fuel that contributes significantly to climate change, and building this pipeline will lock us in to decades more of fossil fuel use in Vermont,” said Sarah Mehalick of Rising Tide Vermont.  “Vermont banned fracking in 2012.  We can’t say we don’t want it here, but are okay with imposing the pollution and destruction on other places.”
 
Much of the gas will come from Alberta, Canada, where there is growing grassroots opposition to fracking.
 
Opponents are also questioning the climate benefits of the pipeline.  According to a 2011 Cornell study, gas obtained through fracking is worse than coal and oil in terms of greenhouse gas emissions.  Recent EPA estimates state that methane, a greenhouse gas which is released during the extraction and transport process of gas, has a impact on the climate that is 20 times greater than CO2.  Methane leakage rates are as high as 9% in fracking operations.
 
“Fossil fuels have no place in Vermont’s energy future,” said Mehalick.  Rising Tide Vermont is working to stop new fossil fuel infrastructure projects, and supports efforts aimed at reducing energy consumption overall, such as weatherization for low-income Vermonters.
 
A coalition of labor, environmental and social justice organizations also issued a statement at the hearing, voicing opposition to the pipeline and support for a just transition away from fossil fuels that will create long-term, dignified work for displaced workers.
 
After the rally, the crowd moved inside to testify to the Public Service Board, which can either approve or deny the permits for the project.

 

 
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Take Action! Rally and Public Hearing to Stop the Vermont Gas Pipeline

Thurs March 21st in Hinesburg

6pm Rally

7pm Public Hearing

CVU High School 369 CVU Road, Hinesburg

As Vermont Gas pushes forward with their plans to transport dirty, fracked gas through farms and neighborhoods, join us as we rally together and tell the Public Service Board “NO WAY!” to new extreme energy and fossil fuel infrastructure.

Landowners have been lied to and intimidated, and Vermont Gas is pulling a swift one on Vermonters by “greenwashing” the supposed benefits of fracked gas, aclimate-wrecking fossil fuel that is poisoning the water and air in gas fields from Pennsylvania to Alberta, Canada.

Please join us this Thursday, March 21 to stand with impacted landowners, concerned youth and other Vermonters in stopping one of the biggest threats to a sustainable, equitable energy future in Vermont.  We will hear from landowners who are fighting to keep the pipeline out of their forests and farms, and will present ourselves as a unified movement aimed at stopping the pipeline and reducing Vermont’s dependence on extreme energy and false solutions to climate change.

For more info, go to risingtidevermont.org or contactrisingtidevermont@gmail.com
For carpooling from the Burlington area, call Keith Brunner (201) 906. 4484
For Carpooling from central Vermont, call Sara Mehalick(802) 338.1613

If you can’t make it Thursday, you can submit public comment on-line here: http://psb.vermont.gov/docketsandprojects/public-comment?docket=7970

Vermont Gas – Locking Vermont into decades more of dependence on dirty, extreme energy
Natural gas is not clean energy.  Due to methane emissions from leakage during extraction, storage and transport, natural gas may be worse in terms of climate change than coal.

Continuing to burn fossil fuels of any sort ensures that catastrophic climate change will wreak havoc on the planet over the next century.  And continued reliance of forms of extreme energy like hydraulic fracturing guarantees that communities will continue to be poisoned, displaced, and denied their rights to a healthy environment and livable planet.

Not in Vermont’s Backyard?
In 2012, Vermont banned fracking, taking a bold stand against the fossil fuel industry.  Now, the governor, Vermont Gas and many large businesses want to import more fracked gas, so they can claim meager CO2 emissions reductions.  If fracking is too dangerous for Vermont, it is too danger for other communities as well.

Join us in solidarity with communities trying to stop fracking in Alberta, and help us send a message to the Public Service Board and the governor that fracking shouldn’t happen in anyone’s backyard.

Energy for people?
A majority of the gas that will move through this pipeline is destined for the International Paper pulp mill in Fort Ticonderoga, NY.  Despite their rhetoric, Vermont Gas cares more about supplying cheaper energy to one of the worlds largest timber corporations than providing low-income Vermonters with more affordable heating options.  Recent estimates suggest that if Vermont Gas used approved ratepayer funds to weatherize every home in Addison County instead of to build a new pipeline to IP, the cost savings to residents would be much more substantial over the long term, and the emissions reductions, from CO2 and methane, would be significantly higher (up to 20 times!).

Join us this Thursday, March 21, as we rally together and send a strong message to the Public Service Board.  We need to stand up for the rights of our communities and the rights of communities in other parts of the world, and fight for the kind of sustainable, equitable energy future we wish to build.

In Solidarity,

Will Bennington and Rising Tide Vermont

Upcoming Actions to Stop the Vermont Gas Pipeline!

1) Join the Rally to Stop the Vermont Gas Pipeline on March 21st
2) Write a letter to the editor telling why you oppose this fracked gas pipeline
3) Join upcoming canvassing date Saturday March 16th in Addison County  

1) Take Action! Join the Rally to Stop the Vermont Gas Pipeline 

Thursday March 21st

6pm Rally & Speak out
7pm Public Hearing of the Public Service Board (PSB)

Champlain Valley Union High School, 369 CVU Rd, Hinesburg 

Please join us for a rally and speak out before the public hearing.  We will hear from landowners and residents along the pipeline route, as well as other impacted people (and lake monsters!).

After the rally, we’ll all head in to testify to the Public Service Board.  The PSB has the power to stop this pipeline from putting communities and the lake at risk. Together, we need to let them know that Vermonters say “NO” to moving dirty energy like fracked gas through the state and underneath Lake Champlain.

Transportation
If you are traveling from Burlington, contact Keith (201) 906-4484 keith.f.brunner@gmail.com

If you are traveling from Central VT, contact Sara (802) 338-1613 sarainvt@gmail.com

Let us know if you are coming, and if you want to help with making banners, skits, songs, etc.

2) Take Action! Write a Letter to the Editor!

Vermont Gas Systems proposed pipeline has been making the news, let’s make sure the opposition voice is loud & clear.

Read recent coverage here & write a Letter to the Editor to share why you are opposed to this pipeline.  (Don’t forget to invite people to join us on March 21st!)

Submit public comment to the Public Service Board here.  

Check out some talking points below for some inspriation.

Talking Points

Natural gas is not clean energy. It is a false solution to climate change. From methane emissions during drilling and transportation, to the water and air pollution caused through hydraulic fracturing, natural gas is a dirty fossil fuel that harms communities and contributes to climate change.

Vermont must consider the consequences of our energy choices beyond our borders. We in Rising Tide understand that dirty energy sources disproportionately affect the poor, people of color and Indigenous People. Many people claim, “Not in My Backyard.” We stand in solidarity with all those resisting false solutions by claiming, “Not in Anyone’s backyard.” We banned fracking in 2012, we need to also ban fracking infrastructure!​

We support a rapid transition away from fossil fuel use in Vermont to decentralized community controlled clean energy solutions. New projects like this pipeline will lock us into decades more of burning dirty energy sources, and will delay our ability to reduce fossil fuel consumption in the state.

Send us a copy of your letter! We’d be happy to help get it out to various newspapers.

3) Take Action! Join upcoming Canvassing Date in Addison County Saturday March 16th!

Contact us if you’re interested in door to door organizing with Addison County residents to build broad community opposition to stop the pipeline!