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Friday, April 19, 2013

Guest Editorial

Guest Editorial

Regarding the Pipeline Gaz wants to build,

My neighbor Jane wrote this essay.

The President can change his mind...we can too!
Back when Vermont Gas first notified Hinesburg and Monkton that they were proposing to run their pipeline down Baldwin Road and then smack down the center of Monkton using the road right of way, the townspeople got up in arms and the Monkton Selectboard sent a letter to VG stating that they had no problem with the pipeline, just the proposed route. VG has since altered the proposed route to use more of the VELCO right of way. This route takes it through farms, marshes and swamps and people's back yards. I think we all need to rethink the value of having a pipeline run anywhere through our state. Many of us have become aware of the true consequences of the pipeline being run through our town and perhaps our opinions have “evolved” like Obama's did on gay marriage.
First, the issue of Natural Gas not being natural at all. The bulk of the gas pulsing through this pipeline will be derived from a process called 'fracking' which you can further research on Wikipedia as well as other sources. This relatively new process could potentially have disastrous environmental consequences and until further study is done, it would be ill advised to continue this questionable method of gathering energy. Vermont has supported this view with a ban on fracking in our state. ( a symbolic gesture as VT has no frackable gas as far as we know yet) Perhaps if we re-labeled the gas Vermont Gas is routing through this pipeline as “Fracked Gas” instead of “natural gas” folks would know better what they are dealing with.
Second, have you looked into the corporate “family” of which Vermont Gas is a member? The internet is a wonderful thing, VT Gas...then google Gaz Metro. When you realize how many corporate entities will be profiting from this pipeline, you will also question the claim that “natural” gas is cheap. In 2007, a typical price in the US was $7 per 1000 cubic feet. In April of 2008 it was up to $10 per 1000 cubic feet. I don't know about you but I don't remember energy prices ever going down significantly for any length of time. And corporate profits of oil and gas companies continue to climb. This is like the cable companies giving you cheap rates for 12 months and then jacking the price up once your “hooked”.
Third, most people assume landowners are compensated fairly for Vermont Gas having the privilege of using their land. Not so. The easement VG is proposing is for FOREVER..not 50 or 100 years and the amount offered has made most landowners just laugh. Bear in mind that VG goes into these negotiations with the term “eminent domain” and “condemnation” on their tongues. Many landowners are filled with dread and resignation before the dealings even begin. And perhaps this is why VG can keep their prices as low as they do...for now.
Fourth, and maybe most important, is the fact that once this pipeline corridor is in place, there is nothing to stop the expansion of the company to more and more distant and gas thirsty customers...ensuring that this 12 inch pipeline may well become a 16 or 22 inch pipeline as it is currently doing in parts of Colchester. Those forced to swallow this bitter pill will have to do so at the whims of this gigantic corporation and there will be nothing they will be able to do about it. And our future generations will have us to thank for that.
So what are the pros of this project? I have yet to see any for us or our immediate neighbors. So I urge everyone who change your opinions about this pipeline. There is still time. Just say NO to Vermont Gas coming through our town.
I posted this essay months ago but feel it may be worth repeating. Since this post, many people have risen against this pipeline and Vermont Gas has ramped up their efforts to secure a route for the second phase which will take it from Middlebury to Ticonderoga and International Paper.
If you have any feelings about this pipeline, I urge you to speak up now because once Vermont Gas gets a Certificate of Public Good from the VT Public Service Board, they will start condemning land. This is democracy...such as it is...and the board needs to hear from the "public" not just a bunch of corporate entities that see "natural" gas as a way to make more money at a greater cost some of us know we can't afford to pay. We can make a difference. It all adds what you can! If you want more information, please contact me. Here is a link to post a comment to the PSB.

By Jane Palmer, Monkton, Vermont

mary: I salute my neighbor Jane on her mission to keep the pipeline totally out of our idyllic town.
I too have lodged comments opposing this. It is wrong.

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