We are committed environmentalists
with no dough,
not a lot of energy reserve,
some things are so worth fighting for.
We are asking for help,
your help if you are up to it,
or a friend perhaps,
you can help change history.
So read what a friend Jason wrote and feel free to comment,
I won't tell you what to believe,
or what to say.
I will tell you what I wrote,
and hope you will write your own version.
time is of the essence...
a few pictures, land and sea, Vermont, in it's splendor,
don't make us a gaz transmission field.
A new year is upon us, and we're hitting the ground running. The following is a time-sensitive call to action with two requests.
The PSB's approval of Phase I of the Addison Natural Gas Project came with an important condition - a requirement that Vermont Gas obtain all of its state and federal permits before it begins any construction whatsoever. There are six of these additional permits, and so far Vermont Gas has zero.
The two federal permits that are required for Phase I also fall under the obligations of the National Environmental Policy Act, which requires a detailed project analysis called an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). You may have heard of an EIS - it's what brought the Keystone XL pipeline approval to a halt. While Vermont Gas must secure the two federal permits, they will be seeking an exemption from the EIS requirement. That's where we all come in.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACoE) handles one of these federal permits, and they also gauge the need for an EIS. Vermont Gas recently filed their permit application with the ACoE. This has triggered a 30-day public comment period, which began December 24th and ends January 24th.
My first request is that we reach out across our network of thoughtful, dedicated citizens to submit comments in this proceeding. According to the public notice from the ACoE, "all factors which may be relevant to the proposal will be considered," including conservation, economics, general environmental concerns, energy needs, and in general, the needs and welfare of the people. Additionally, "the decision whether to issue a permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impact of the
proposed activity on the public interest." Climate change, fracking, new fossil fuel infrastructure, welfare of future generations - all of those big-picture issues we tried to leverage with the PSB can find their audience with the ACoE.
Our words are genuine, and our concerns are real. Therefore, I ask you to write your comments on paper and submit them in the mail. We don't need form letters or templates - just authenticity.
Address and mail your comments (in reference to File # NAE-2012-0123) to Mr. Michael Adams at:
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
New England District
Vermont Project Office
ATTN: Michael Adams
11 Lincoln Street, Room 210
Essex Junction, VT 05452
(If you prefer to email your comments, send them to Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org)
My second request is in regard to the EIS. Although Vermont Gas is seeking an exemption from the EIS, federal law makes this exemption very difficult when there exists a "substantial controversy on environmental grounds." We'd have a harder time proving that Vermont has mountains. Therefore, my second request is that all of us gather all manner of documents that demonstrate this controversy over the past year. I'm thinking back-issues of local papers with letters to the editor and news articles highlighted, DVD recordings of the various PSB hearings and informational meetings, selectboard actions, town petitions, news clips, photographs, lawn signs - anything and everything - and sending these to the ACoE office. ("Pro-pipeline" material is necessary too - we're trying to show the ACoE the scope of this controversy.)
I'll be the clearinghouse for these materials. Send them my way to be wrapped up in a package and delivered to the ACoE office. Or, you can send this material directly to the ACoE with your comments.
Time is of the essence for both of these requests. All comments and materials must be received by the ACoE by Friday, January 24. We've got three weeks. Spread the word. Go team go!