Eventually I have to clean out the Monkton Chronicles...
Archived for the record.
Late November 2013.
The cold came in with successive blasts chilling to the bone.
Ison Headed into the Sun and still waiting for the upshot of that comet. Fun it coincided with Thanksgiving plus Chanuka all on the same day.
The turkey & trimmings are in the oven, cats lazy, giving thanks for warmth, food, Pets, Friends & Family. Now if you have no interest in natural gas, oil drilling or geology, stop reading now...
Been meaning to peruse these articles regarding natural gas, oil drilling in the Champlain Valley, seriously...1960 ish...
Guest editorial from the front porch forum,
Jane Palmer – Rotax Rd
Lately I feel I am living a Vermont version of the game, Monopoly. Instead of the four railroads, there are four utilities; Green Mountain Power, CVPS, VELCO, and Vermont Gas. Replacing Monopoly's two utility squares are “Green Energy” squares, where if you land, you pay a fee that is invested in alternative energy. These squares make you feel like you are doing something to help combat climate change. Actually, the money you invest goes to the utilities who sell Renewable Energy Credits to other states still burning fossil fuels. Indirectly, your fee on the “Green Energy” squares in turned to profit for the utilities. The “Free Parking” space is a “Free Hunting and Fishing” space. (about as common as free parking in Burlington or Montpelier.) The rest of the squares are much the same as in the original Monopoly game, only with more “Vermonty” names like Hardscrabble Road, Smuggler's Notch, Pleasant Valley, The McCullough Turnpike etc.
In this game, instead of playing with siblings or friends, I am being be forced to play with several large corporations that own most of the properties on the board at the start of the game. One Canadian corporation, Gaz Metro, owns all of the utilities as well as a few other key properties. (This is the equivalent of one player owning all four of the Railroads on the original game.)
On my first turn, I draw a card from the “Community Chest” that says, “Gas pipeline coming through your town, pay thousands of dollars in legal and professional fees.” Next turn I draw another one that says “Lost wages due to fighting the pipeline”. All the while, the other non-corporate players and I keep landing on the squares that Gaz Metro owns. Gaz Metro smiles as he takes our money. He tells us all not to feel bad, that it's all for the “public good” He will use our money to build new infrastructure...new infrastructure that will require all players give him more money when we land on his squares. “Not to worry,” he says...”This money will go toward investments in 'clean' energy.” The “clean” energy he is referring to however, is a fossil fuel that is extracted by extreme methods that pollute the earth.
In the “Chance” cards, there are several cards that say. “Pipeline sited across your property, collect $5” which may sound like good thing, because, after all, this is a game and you won't really have to host a pipeline, right? But then you read the fine print and it says your most valuable property would be immediately and severely devalued. (Think Park Place and Boardwalk suddenly worth less than Baltic and Mediterranean Ave.) Several cards say things like, “Path of pipeline cuts across your sugarbush, orchard, or newly planted berry bush field, you get $5, but lose all future potential income”. I draw another card that says, “Property taxes due. Pay $1000 on land you can no longer use.” And another one, “Fight with town to lower property taxes on easement-encumbered land. You lose. Pay $100.”
There are also cards that say things like “Take a hike up Snake Mountain, enjoy the view” or “On a clear night, stare at the stars” and “Go fishing on Lake Champlain” But no money comes with those cards. You still only get the $200 for passing go and the rents on the measly properties you have left. It's not enough to live on. I watch as my cash dwindles....I draw another card from the Community Chest and it says, “The Public Service Board grants Certificate of Public Good to owner of utilities.” This is the ultimate death card to any player that does not own all the utilities but to Gaz Metro it means that it can grab any property that it desires by using eminent domain. Our government will even assist in the condemnation. Give up your hopes of hanging on to the land you need or value. Say goodbye to the prospect of curtailing climate change. The future is grim.
If this were really a game, it would suck and no normal person would want to play it. But what I describe is pretty close to what we are experiencing. The players are not who we want to play with (in fact, we never agreed to play this game in the first place) and the rules are stacked against us. The outcome is obvious from the start and the only way you could possibly win is if you draw a “You buy a Tri-States Megabucks card and it's a winner, collect $2 million” card which I am not even sure really exists.
It is disheartening that the proponents of this gas pipeline keep touting the economical benefits of “natural” gas while they blame the lack of pipeline infrastructure in our state for our economic woes. We see the potential of economic benefits of a gas pipeline alright...to the owner of the utilities and to big businesses that consume huge amounts of thermal energy. To the rest of us...the costs are already adding up.
One has to wonder how things got this bad. Why would our government allow one foreign company to be so heavily invested in the lion's share of our state's utilities? Why would our governor claim to be supporting a switch to renewable and independent energy sources but at the same time, back a plan that will hook us up to a fracked gas pipeline for the next 100 years? Why is a company that has no respect for agriculture and landowners, being allowed to plot and plan a design to crisscross a state renowned for it's beauty and landscapes, with pipelines carrying a lethal gas that has been extracted by extreme methods, rendering the areas it comes from poisoned and ravaged? One has to wonder, who designed this game, anyhow?
There is a groundswell of opposition growing against this pipeline. Those that have not been paying attention are starting to tune in and raise their voices against a fracked gas pipeline project that seems to be progressing along in spite of the outcries of dissent. If those outcries are ignored, they will get louder. Vermonters have a right to protect our land, our health and our economy. We have a right to refuse to take part in the desecration of our planet. We have a right to say “NO” to the Addison “Natural” Gas Project....
by Jane Palmer...a Great Writer, mom, farmer, activist.
November 2013...already, time change...already,
not enough sunlight, daylight,
not enough Time.
Then I reel myself back in, take a nap and re-prioritize.
The time change adjustment will take only a few moments of random panic or tiredness, usually not attributable to a time change.
The sunlight/daylight thing is best left alone. Sleeping more can be a good thing: quasi hibernation/reflective meditation.
The fact we do not have enough time is a strange one. That one depends on the definition of Time. I am too tired to start that one.
Finally, I am posting my comments on a proposed town plan for Monkton, Vermont. It is available to peruse on
comments are due tomorrow. i did this at the last possible minute. it is overwhelming to comment, believing my comments will fall and blow away like the leaves. m.e.g.
I, Mary E. Gerdt, Monkton town landowner am commenting on the proposed town plan.
I found the 200 or so pages of the proposed town plan a bit too much to wade through.
There is a lot of subjective data like the flowery descriptions of a farm utopia turned bedroom community.
Neither seems accurate or relevant.
Each person who owns property has control over their property within the confines of rules and laws.
When the town uses a document to project a concept they impose on a landowner, a value, an image, it should not be in such subjective tones.
We do not need any more rules in Monkton, Vermont.
It is hard enough to develop lots. Please do not think about downzoning our property.
We already are taxed on best use.
Please correct cemetery Road on the map. The end was thrown up. I grow tired of asking for this. You should also add Norris's extension heading West.
Finally, in spite of all the work that went into this plan, I see little that I could support in a vote.
Every subjective sentence creates a slippery slope for landowners.
Please respond that you received this.,
Mary E. Gerdt
As we are 2/3's of the way through October, thought I would report from my Monkton,Vermont news room.
It is hard working full-time and trying to keep up. Thanks to my followers and co Twitterers who keep me up on the worldwide stage.
Locally we fight the gas pipeline proposal that has environmental implications beyond any theoretical benefits. We got our tax bill, piled high and scary, over $500 @ month,
Smells more like rent.
On the Bright side,
The colors have been spectacular and always too short lived. Remnants of colors stimulate your eyes and remind us of the winter to come.
Hunter's moon last weekend, Solar flare last week.
Cardinals v. Sox series. I sat with my Bohemian Uncle Frank listening to the radio: cards v sox in 1968 series. Great memories. Enjoy October 2013, mg
>>>>>below are archives....
Fall is around the bend.
Finally rearranging parts of my blog. So cluttered, like I see piles of books and projects everywhere around me. Is that really such a bad thing?
Fighting the pipeline, in whatever time slots I can find.
Labor day gives most workers in the US an extra day to do whatever the heck we want to do. About 4 am I heard the rain POUR, then later the drip, drip of the roof and trees and the air is so damp, the air is dripping.
Humidity is not becoming of New England. Pretty soon we will be burning pellets and the winter will kill off the molds.
Our garden is a moderate failure and we are in good company. Somehow the lack of sunshine, excess rain early on, weed and bug proliferation and personal fatigue contributed. We are lucky to get anything and reminded of the heartbreaks of gardening that balance the triumphant years. It is so reassuring when a gardening comrade joins me in my misery, we both love the company. Enjoy Fall or Spring wherever you are on the planet. The colors have started here and it is always such a surprise. The swallows have left their nests. Last week they fed their month old babies in midair. Now they and babies are flying to Southern climates. And we think we are so advanced...mg
my favorite tweet of 2013:
The universe constantly plays back to you the energy that you are putting out into the world. Yes, you are that powerful! ♥#spiritchat&mdash'>https://twitter.com/search/%23spiritchat">#spiritchat
— Panache (@PanacheDesai) May'>https://twitter.com/PanacheDesai/status/338640126253096960">May 26, 2013
***Keeping posted because we must stop the nG pipeline plans.
We fight with words, not deeds.
Monkton Chronicles Guest Editorial
Selectboard ignored safety concerns while backing gas pipeline
We appreciate the Middlebury selectboard's sharing their reasons for their
continued endorsement of the Addison Natural Gas Project, however it appears
that a reality check is in order.
The selectboard says that the facts don't support concerns about the
increased danger the pipeline will represent. I guess the pipeline leaks that
Vermont Gas experienced last month (in St. Albans on April 24, and in Hinesburg
on April 25) and the leak less than a month later on May 21 in South Burlington
don't count. Thankfully, no spark ignited these leaks causing a deadly explosion
The selectboard also cites lower greenhouse gas emissions as a reason for
supporting the Vermont Gas pipeline. Unfortunately, research conducted by the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found that up to 9 percent of
the gas leaks from gas wells, more than double the official inventory but in
line with estimates made in 2011 by a Cornell University research team who also
tested for methane leaks around active wells.
Then there is the study published in the journal Atmospheric Environment by
a UC Santa Barbara scientist who tested air samples across large parts of the
U.S. during a cross-country drive and found methane emissions far higher than
expected, confirming the more localized studies. This would not be a problem if
not for the fact that methane is over 100 times more potent a greenhouse gas
than carbon dioxide in the short term and about 21 times more potent in
accelerating climate change in the long term.
While our selectboard prides itself on making decisions based upon the best
information available, it appears that in this case the "best information"
considered by the selectboard is a report by the U.S. EPA, an organization with
the conflicting job of being both a regulatory agency and promoter of the fossil
fuel industry. EPA estimates are not based on extensive direct measurement,
monitoring and reporting of hard data, but are calculated indirectly by applying
estimated emission factors to data on the total amount of gas produced. An audit
by the inspector general of the EPA cited the agency for lacking "directly
measured air emissions data" and "a comprehensive strategy for improving air
emissions data for the oil and gas industry." The inspector general also found
that "about half" of the EPA emissions factors were based on insufficient or
The board's letter declares their agreement that "renewables are necessary
for a sustainable future" and notes a United Nations report that predicts up to
21 percent of industrial energy usage will be from renewables by 2050. They are
failing to act upon this recognition since support of the pipeline delays
progress on implementing our renewable energy infrastructure. They instead
acknowledge other studies with slightly higher numbers, but with the overall
message that we will be depending on coal, oil, gas, and nuclear power for many
years to come.
They must not be aware of the recent Stanford University study that found
that New York state alone could supply 99 percent of the entire state's energy
needs from renewables within 20 years. With the realization that today, Germany
meets about 40 percent of its energy needs from renewables, it appears that the
real reason we will be relying on nuclear and fossil fuels for many years to
come, is because our political and business leaders continue to invest in fossil
fuel infrastructure and delay investment in renewable energy...the Middlebury
falls hydro-electricity project that has been languishing on the drawing board
for several years now comes to mind.
Selectman Nick Artim has stated that the majority of town residents support
the pipeline project. However, since no vote has been held on the issue and no
polling has been done to gauge residents' opinions, any statement that a
majority of citizens either support or oppose the gas pipeline project is just
speculation. If the selectboard were serious about allowing Middlebury residents
the ability to choose among our energy options, it would allow a vote on whether
the town should support the pipeline.
The selectboard also claims that economic savings by businesses are
necessary to create jobs, and suggests that we are suffering from some kind of
job crisis. The data do not support the position that natural gas service in an
important factor that causes businesses to succeed or fail, or impact the hiring
of workers. Vermont's unemployment rate, seasonably adjusted, was 4.1 percent in
March, third lowest in the nation. Compare that to the rates of states that have
the most dense interstate natural gas transmission lines in the nation: Ohio,
7.1 percent; Pennsylvania, 7.9 percent; New York, 8.2 percent; West Virginia,
7.0 percent; Texas, 6.4 percent; Louisiana, 6.2 percent. Clearly, variables
other than natural gas infrastructure have a greater influence on the economic
condition of a state or a county.
And yet, the strongest argument in favor of the pipeline made by the
selectboard is economics. Vermont Gas Systems will make hundreds of millions of
dollars for their Canadian owners if the pipeline is built. Unfortunately, the
rest of the businesses and residents who decide to buy fracked Canadian gas can
expect prices to rise significantly in the next few years because the collapse
in natural gas prices dropped the price below the cost of production, an
unsustainable situation for drilling companies. Thus, claimed savings of $200
million over 20 years that Middlebury can expect are grossly overstated. Savings
will only be short-term.
If the selectboard were serious about taking action to reduce emissions,
protect the environment, support the local economy, grow jobs, provide long-term
savings on fuel costs, and support the position of the majority of residents,
they would abandon further fossil fuel infrastructure development and
aggressively pursue renewables and energy efficiency. This past year a Vermont
legislative task force determined that it would take about $27 million to
retrofit 80,000 Vermont homes for energy efficiency while providing energy cost
savings and jobs, actions that polls have shown the majority of Vermonters
support. For the price of the Addison Natural Gas Project, we could retrofit
every home in Addison County with the latest energy-efficiency upgrades and
still have money left to install solar panels on many homes. However, it looks
like our selectboard is not going to allow facts to get in their
way.Ross Conrad and Alice Eckles
Bees be with you,
Dancing Bee Gardens
“The bee is more honored
than other animals, not because she labors,
but because she labors for
don’t have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in the process of
change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the
world." – Howard Zinn
Large group opposed to the fracking (just found out correct spelling is Fracing) pipeline fighting with pens, words and put an ad in the Addison independent. I try to post comments. Most say No to pipeline. Hey, Yoko did a cool you tube, also a judge ruled in NY on Thursday 5.2.13...let us hope for us that the pipeline will not be allowed in our rural idyllic town and that more people wake to the facts that frackin' is all wrong.
Hope everyone who passes this gate has a wonderful week. Make a wish, a good wish, put it away, hope it comes true.