Friday, May 3, 2013
Guest Editorial. Must say No to Gaz Pipeline.
the more research I have done, this mountain terrain by sensitive habitat, humans, livestock is all wrong
And through Jane's Garden. wrong!....marygerdt
btw...have been censored by addison independent, again, you heard it here worldwide,
yes, censoring happens even in the u.s. bummer. mg
by Neighbor Jane Palmer
In case you missed the excitement at Ballard's Corner or the short article in the Free Press on the gas line rupture in Hinesburg last Thursday, a fully loaded cement truck missed the driveway at a construction sight and ran over a “valve box” on the Vermont Gas pipeline. Apparently, the weight of the big rig caused the valve to break and gas was allowed to leak into the atmosphere. It is not clear how long it was before the gas was able to be shut off, or how much gas actually leaked out into the atmosphere but we have heard (rumor has it) that it was about an hour and a half before it was shut down.
I am sure many of you have read my posts about the proposed “natural” gas transmission pipeline Vermont Gas Systems is requesting permission from the Public Service Board to build between Colchester and Middlebury and then on to Ticonderoga, NY and International Paper. I have been railing against this proposal because, for numerous reasons, I believe “natural” gas is not the direction Vermont should be heading in our quest for energy independence and sustainability. Noticeably missing in my rants has been any expression of fear of being blown to bits by this pipeline that VGS is requesting...(more like demanding)...we let them bury less than 100 feet from our house. I can't really explain why I haven't been scared. Enough people have been showing me photos of fiery conflagrations and I have been reading about and seeing enough videos of gas explosions on the news lately…. I should have been laying awake in bed at night wondering if that was, indeed the way I was going to leave this sweet old world. But that's not what I have been focused on.
I have lost more sleep worrying about if I will still be here when the water from our spring is no longer potable...or the marsh on our farm is eerily quiet because the frogs and birds are long gone. Or how I would feel if I lived in one of the states that sits on a shale gas deposit and my neighbors sold their mineral rights to a gas drilling company.
Now, with three gas leak “incidents” in the state in the last couple of weeks, I am starting to think the reality is.....I just might get to be blown up.
Am I the only one who feels this way?? I am so dismayed that the reaction to this latest incident in Hinesburg is “ho hum...business as usual... it only affected service to a bank, a bar, a convenience store and a library” HELLOOOO! A truck hit a gas valve and a bunch of gas leaked out! Worse case scenario would have been if a spark from somewhere had ignited the gas. We would have had a heck of an explosion and that fully loaded cement truck would have been toast. And the whole shebang would have burned for over an hour. (if the truck caught fire...even longer) What actually happened was the best case scenario in that it did not ignite...thankfully. And when I asked the Safety Guy at Vermont Gas some pretty specific questions, he said “ Vermont Gas responded immediately upon notification of the leak and in accordance with our emergency procedures. The leak was secured shortly thereafter without incident. It is unlikely that an explosion would have occurred because natural gas is lighter than air and the gas was freely escaping and dissipating into the open air.”
Do you feel better now? Does an hour and a half sound like “shortly thereafter” to you? I am trying hard not to get hysterical here....because really, it's not my nature. But this is serious, folks. This is the THIRD gas mishap in a couple of weeks here in Vermont that I am aware of. Any one of them could have easily become a terrible situation. No one was hurt, not this time. But next time we might not be so lucky. And even though Vermont Gas' reaction was that an explosion would be unlikely, this stuff is volatile and under the right circumstances, it will explode.
And actually, some folks were hurt on Thursday. Those businesses that had to evacuate lost at least an hour of open time. The fire and police departments had to respond.. And what happened to all that gas that escaped into the atmosphere? I don't know the formula to figure out how much gas we are talking about here, but I do know that the unburned methane in “natural” gas is a big, BAD greenhouse gas. It's twenty five to one hundred times worse than carbon dioxide is as a greenhouse gas.
I am not saying we should burn more oil or coal. And I am not saying we should “ban” “natural” gas. I am saying maybe we should think about how expanding the distribution of this fossil fuel will increase the number of households and businesses that will be dependent on it. And I think we should think very carefully about hosting a transmission line so a foreign company can sell gas to a giant, out of state corporation. And I think we all should consider the reality that with more gas lines, we will have more gas “incidents” and they might be substantial.
People who support this gas pipeline build out need to think about what we are doing to our future. It's not conjecture...it's science. And we all need to ask ourselves, do we want humanity to die a slow, painful death, or do we want to be intelligent, resourceful and deliberate about the way we inhabit the earth?
Don't lay in bed awake at night wondering what you can do. The Public Service Board is charged with deciding if this pipeline expansion is in keeping with the “Public Good.” I hate to say it, but the deck is stacked against the environment and the little people that will be so profoundly affected by this pipeline. You can make a difference by voicing your opinion.
Write a note to the Public Service Board and/or the Department of Public Service. Write a note to our Governor who supports this pipeline. Write a note to your select board. Thanks.