Before the board: Both sides voice opinions on proposed natural gas pipeline

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Heather Pipino of the Vermont Workers’ Center speaks during a rally against a proposed gas pipeline through Addison County before a hearing before the Public Service Board to discuss the proposal at Champlain Valley High School in Hinesburg on Thursday.

/ GLENN RUSSELL/FREE PRESS

By Dorothy Pellet / Source: Burlington Free Press

The message could not be missed. People entering Champlain Valley Union High School for the Public Service Board hearing Thursday encountered an orderly rally of climate activists, farmers and students, some holding a 10-foot-long banner stating, “NO PIPELINES. The Climate is in Crisis.”

Speakers at the rally included Jane Palmer, a homeowner from Monkton. “Natural gas is not the answer to our problems. Natural gas is not clean,” Palmer said.

Emily Reynolds of Waterbury said she is a member of Rising Tide, a group seeking to put a stop to more fossil fuel use. She said Waterbury’s devastation from Tropical Storm Irene was due to climate change derived from fossil fuel use.

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Environmentalists Rally to Landowners’ Defense in Vermont Gas Pipeline Fight

By Kathryn Flagg / Source: Seven Days Vermont

In the fight against Vermont Gas’ proposedAddison County natural gas expansion, it’s largely been landowners piping up with concerns about the project, which would run a natural gas transmission line south through Vergennes and Middlebury — and potentially on to Ticonderoga, N.Y. Until now.

A rally last night at Champlain Valley Union High School illustrated that property owners aren’t the only ones balking at the pipeline extension. A growing grassroots coalition of environmentalists and workers’ rights advocates, singing solidarity songs and brandishing banners, gathered in front of the high school to make their objections known prior to the start of a Public Service Board public hearing on the project.

Chief among their concerns is the environmental impact of extending a pipeline that carries fossil fuel deeper into Vermont. In particular, the protestors are unhappy that the pipeline would carry a portion of gas obtained in Canada using hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as “fracking” — Vermont Gas concedes that this is the case. Vermont lawmakers last year passed a law making the Green Mountain State the first in the country to ban fracking. It’s a technique oil and gas companies love, because it opens up vast reserves of shale gas previously too costly or difficult to extract. Environmentalists have long raised the alarm, however, pointing to problems with groundwater contamination, waste water disposal and even earthquakes in places where fracking is underway.

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Environmentalists, businesses talk proposed natural gas pipeline 2-phase project brings fuel to Middlebury, Ticonderoga

By David Charns / Source: WPTZ Channel 5 News 

HINESBURG, Vt. —Environmental activists and community members made their voices heard about a planned natural gas pipeline through Addison County and under Lake Champlain.

The gathering occurred at Central Valley Union High School, before the Public Service Board held a hearing about the proposed pipeline.

Vermont Gas wants to build a foot-wide line from Colchester to Middlebury, transporting natural gas from Canada to Addison County. The utility already runs 700 miles of natural gas pipeline through Vermont.

A second phase of the project, in its initial planning stages, would take the fuel from the Middlebury area under Lake Champlain to the International Paper mill in Ticonderoga, N.Y.

Vermont Gas moved the planned route for the first phase of the project after neighbors requested the pipeline not interfere with some property. Part of the pipeline will follow power electric lines rather than along roadways, Vermont Gas communications director Stephen Wark said.

Engineers have not announced through what communities the second phase of the project will travel.

“This pipeline is a plan to bring dirty, fracked gas from Canada into Vermont,” said Sara Mehalick of Rising Tide Vermont, an organization working to limit reliance on fossil fuels.

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Natural gas pipeline hearing in Hinesburg

Source: WCAX Channel 3 News

HINESBURG, Vt. -The proposed Addison natural gas pipeline isn’t sitting well with many residents of Addison County, and Thursday night was their chance to say so.

But the discussion drew more than just the local crowd.

Singing in the halls and shouting outside, an environmental group called Rising Tide sang their message loud and clear Thursday night. They oppose this pipeline and all future fossil fuel projects.

“Our stance has always at Rising Tide has always been no new fossil fuels because we need to be switching to renewable energy and this is just not a sustainable resource,” says Emily Reynolds with Rising Tide.

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Monkton, VT voters oppose gas pipeline

By Sarah Harris / Source: North Country Public Radio

Tuesday was town meeting day in Vermont. Residents across the state gathered to vote on routine business, like school budgets and taxes. But hot button issues were also on the agenda in some towns this year. In Monkton, residents are riled up about a proposed natural gas pipeline.

The cafeteria at Monkton Central School was standing room only Tuesday morning. Voters filled the chairs and lined the walls.

They chimed in about additions to the fire station and a new library, but it was the proposed natural gas pipeline that really got them on their feet.

“This pipeline makes use of Monkton only as a convenient corridor,” said resident Ivor Huges, reading a speech he prepared for the day. “So while there will be gas beneath our feet we in Monkton will derive no benefit from this significant cheaper heating fuel.”

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Monkton Shows Strong Opposition to Natural Gas Pipeline

By Kirk Carapezza / Source: Vermont Public Radio

On this Town Meeting Day voters in one Addison County town have reiterated their strong opposition to a proposed natural gas pipeline, hoping to boost their voice as the Vermont Gas Company seeks permission from the state to expand its service south.

As in other Vermont towns, a well-run grassroots campaign is widely seen as an art form in Monkton. So Jennifer Baker was welcomed when she circulated petitions asking whether anyone was interested in establishing a legal fund to represent the town’s interests in the Addison County Natural Gas Project.

“I think the town is pretty united that they don’t want to be pushed around by Vermont Gas and that they want to have a say in Vermont Gas’s future presence in the town,” Baker said shortly before a voice vote during Monkton’s town meeting confirmed her assumption.

And with that, Monkton agreed to spend as much as $50,000 on a legal fund.

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Tar Sands Resolutions Send Message Of Concern Over Climate Change

By John Dillon / Source: Vermont Public Radio

Along with the debates over school budgets and tax rates, some two dozen towns tackled oil companies and the global issue of climate change.

Twenty-eight towns went on record opposing the shipment of tar sands oil across Vermont. Activists argue that extracting the oil poses an unacceptable risk for the planet.

The organizers hope the non-binding resolutions will send a message to Montpelier and Washington.

Climate change activists are concerned that oil companies will use an existing pipeline that cuts across northern New England to move the oil from western Canada for export via Portland, Maine.

Nancy Smith was trying to rally support outside Montpelier’s city hall for the anti-tar sands resolution on the ballot.

“The pipeline is 60 years old,” she said. “It’s not designed to transport an abrasive and highly toxic substance that could destroy it. If that stuff breaks through the pipeline and it leaks into the water system, it would be absolutely disastrous.”

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