Astronomy Picture of the Day

Thursday, March 31, 2016

#Fracking #nG #NaturalGas updates

Time, Time, Time

Ticking away,
Each day more updates,
the latest gyrations,

As my inbox overflows,
and my realization March 2016 is nearly over,
I am motivated to post the updates related to
proposed gas pipelines in Addison County, Vermont.

First, some movies:

some article links:

From the Rutland Herald...

Legislators use kid gloves
March 29,2016

Last week I attended a Senate hearing that was called to allow the commissioner of the Public Service Department to respond to criticisms of his self-edited evaluation of the effectiveness of the agency he oversees. I expected to hear some pointed questioning aimed at improving the DPS’s role as watchdog for utility ratepayers.

What I heard instead was a couple of softball questions from each committee member, an acceptance that “we all have biases,” and a bizarre comparison of Commissioner Recchia to General Grant. Ratepayers and all Vermonters need representation during this period of transition in energy policy, and the Legislature needs to pursue constructive recommendations that were voiced during the DPS evaluation process but ignored — in fact, edited out by the commissioner in the final draft.

Similarly, the DPS chose to edit out recent declines in oil prices in the cost data that the agency fed to the PSB to use as a basis for determining the value of the Vermont Gas Systems Addison pipeline.

Commissioner Recchia has a history of editing the truth in order to expedite the governor’s agenda. And the Legislature looks ready to give the commisioner a pass. When the committee member laughingly compared Commissioner Recchia to General Grant last Thursday, he quoted Lincoln’s statement that the general’s drinking problem had to be overlooked in the face of his great talent.

Commissioner Recchia’s talent is not apparent to those of us who have been watching the Vermont Gas Systems proceedings drag on and on, and a truth problem is not one that can be overlooked in any public official. I hope that the casual chat last week between the Finance Committee and Commissioner Recchia was only the beginning of a more thorough investigation of how well (or not well) the DPS is serving the public and the ratepayers of Vermont.


Activists rally outside the Statehouse following a vote by the Vermont Senate to retire the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant in 2012. Since the plant's ...

Protest in a Tree, in the proposed path of destruction

How can normal people fight this advanced lawyering?
Attached please find Vermont Gas Systems, Inc.’s 5th Request for Non-Substantial Change Determination. Due to the size of some attachments, they will be provided in electronic format on CD only. An original and 8 copies, and one CD were hand delivered to the Public Service Board this afternoon. Two copies and a CD were hand delivered to the Department of Public Service, and a hard copy and CD will be mailed to each party on the attached Certificate of Service.
Please let me know if you have difficulty accessing any of the documents on the CD.
Carolyn Moore | Legal Project Coordinator
Downs Rachlin Martin PLLC | Business Sense · Legal Ingenuity

Time for another movie:
A DPS hearing, courtesy fellow fracking fighter...

There really was much more but I am tired and this abbreviated update summary is about enough for now. meg

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Replay... Travelogue for the Universe: Hurts

Happy Easter!
A replay of a post from last year...

Travelogue for the Universe: Hurts: I had hoped to post a picture of the no fracking pipeline sign on the corner. This morning, a scant 12 hours after the sign was seen, Thi...

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Heading out? Speak to 'Ziegs' first

Heading out? Speak to 'Ziegs' first: Forecasters are buzzing and students gossiping. Outside, a cold wind picks up and everyone holds their breath as the flakes begin to fall. The only true test, however, is to consult the master, seek out the expert, the Weather Buff himself.

Great Teachers
Sometimes one and the same.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Rerun....Travelogue for the Universe: J.D. Salinger

I wrote this one in 2010

Travelogue for the Universe: J.D. Salinger: J.D. Salinger wrote one of the first books I read easily and more than once. Catcher in the Rye It had a cover with red color with yellow...

Thursday, March 17, 2016

St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick's Day

March 17th
Wearing of the green,
We're all Irish today,
That's how it's always been.

Sunday, March 13, 2016



Trails go this way and that way,
Follow them if you can.
The signs will show you some of the way,
Is it all part of a plan?

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Hinesburg residents react to pipeline deal

Hinesburg residents react to pipeline deal: It was a deal done behind closed doors, and now Hinesburg residents are trying to figure out how they can stop a Vermont Gas pipeline from running right through a park.

Gaz News Roundup

We are Opponents of the Fracked Gas Pipeline proposed 

to go through Addison County, Vermont

We are a cohesive group with a common goal:

To Keep Addison County beautiful.

Take it from the top...

Our neighbor Melanie shared these facts and observations...

Here's a great news story about the federal court jury award in this case: .

We often talk about the fact that the VGS pipeline is going to increase demand for fracked gas from Alberta. In the long-term, we should also expect that it will increase demand for fracking in Pennsylvania. Why you may ask? Well, VGS' stated plan since at least 5 years ago has been to connect with the U.S. Pipeline system with the only, as far as I know, named option (versus general geographic border areas of Vermont with NY or Massachusetts) being via the Iroquois Gas pipeline system in the Glens Falls, NY area. Gaz Metro has, in turn, noted in its last few annual reports that it is in the process of switching its purchasing of gas from Alberta to Ontario because of declining production in Western Canada and rising tolls on the TransCanada pipeline. Gaz Metro has been purchasing gas that comes up from the U.S. through far Western NY and points further West to Ontario. Some of that gas then gets transported to the Vermont border and back into the U.S.!

Vermonters are already unwittingly helping to support fracked gas production in the Marcellus Shale! Eastern Canada's market is growing by 3% per year not counting Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) experts from the East Coast of Canada.

Cabot Oil & Gas, the defendant in this water contamination case, is also a partner in the Constitution Pipeline (look here for a story about the chopping down of a family's sugar bush in NY here: along with Williams and Iroquois. The Constitution Pipeline, now delayed until 2017 (see this brand new article here:, is supposed to bring fracked gas nearly to Albany with an eventual interconnection with the Iroquois pipeline system - the same one VGS wants to hook up with!

In March 2014, Hillary Clinton spoke at an event in Montreal that was co-sponsored by Gaz Metro (she was paid $275,000 for about 90 minutes). She talked about the need for Canada and the U.S. to collaborate to help lessen Europe's dependence on Russian NG (and bragged about the U.S. support for the introduction of fracking in Poland). One way to do that is to export lots of LNG from Canada, which is further along in developing and constructing LNG export facilities than the U.S. is, to Europe! In other words, Vermont is poised to become a corridor for fracked gas to Quebec and onward if we continue to allow VGS to expand.

There is a difference between waiting out the storm and giving up on expansion. I personally don't believe for a second that VGS has given up on Phase II, III, or IV of its plans.

Thanks for all you're doing to stop fossil fuel expansion in Vermont!


P.S. An interesting aside, mentioned by a fellow JPer in a question to Governor Shumlin at an Addison County legislative breakfast last March, is that as of 2010, Shumlin had a modest investment in Cabot Oil & Gas. You can see his 2010 investment disclosure if you scroll down to the bottom of this article for the link: .


Next: Big News...from Josh Fox...

BIG NEWS! Dimock family wins court case against fracking company

The Ely family outside federal court in Scranton, PA. Photo © 2016 Laura Evangelisto
Jane --

Yesterday two families from Dimock, PA, a town that has become emblematic of water contamination cause by fracking, won a historic victory against the industry. A federal jury awarded the Ely and Hubert families $4.25 million after determining that Cabot Oil and Gas contaminated their water.
This is HUGE! When Dimock’s water was contaminated in 2008 it was a dire warning shot fired to the rest of the world letting them know what happens when fracking comes to town. Any town, state or country that now has a fracking ban owes a large debt of gratitude to the Elys and other families in Dimock who spoke up about what was happening to them.
Speaking up wasn't easy.
The fracking industry PR machine threw everything they had to try to bring these families down, but they persevered for years determined to tell their story before a jury of their peers in court. This victory should serve as an important precedent, with families harmed by fracking all over the country now taking the industry to court.
Free screening and Q&A with Josh Fox
Saturday March 12
7:00PM @ TBD (we had a venue back out because the event was 'too political.' It says a lot about the state of Pennsylvania right now that climate change is controversial. That is why we need to tour there!)
We’ll be joined by the Holleran family, maple syrup farmers, who just lost their maple syrup farm when trees were cleared for the Constitution Pipeline, an illegal and unapproved pipeline that will bring fracked gas from companies like Cabot to export.
This screening is part of our Let Go And Love Tour that will bring the film to 100 communities fighting fracking and fracked gas infrastructure all over the country.
Community after community saw the Elys story through screenings of GASLAND and GASLAND Part II. Now, the anti-fracking movement is one of the fastest growing environmental movements in the country and as they Elys proved today - we can win.
But we can’t do it alone. Join us now. We need your help. More than ever. This momentum from this victory against the fossil fuel industry and showing the world that these companies need to be accountable. We won't stop till all communities harmed by fracking and fracked gas infrastructure get justice.This is why it matters to keep fighting. This is why we need 100% renewable energy. This is why we need to ban fracking. This is what fighting for the American dream is about.

Please help us spread the word. SHARE SHARE SHARE. We need each and every one of you....

Here's is my reaction to the verdict:
Josh Fox and Lee Ziesche
Let Go And Love Tour

How To Let Go Movie

OHHH Myyyy!
New York doesn't want the pipeline!
So Vermont gets it?


A neighbor shared this letter.


There are trust issues when it comes to big business. Too much money is at stake to take what big business says at face value. Consider the case of Vermont Gas (VGS) – owned by the Canadian giant Gaz Metro – whose machines are now destroying Williston habitat to install a fracked gas pipeline. Some weeks ago, VGS sent out a marketing letter to potential Addison County customers advertising that it is pleased to offer a cheaper heating option to customers. Is what this letter states true?
Well, the average price of oil for the last five weeks for oil is $1.80 (or 1.8028). When I go onto the VGS website to calculate how much the "average" Vermont family would save were it to switch from oil to fracked gas, I learn this: it would save no money. Instead, the average family would lose around $110 annually before taking into account conversion costs or the predicted rate hikes associated with VGS's pipeline expansion. As for the conversion costs, if my information is correct, rental conversion equipment costs $23/month or $276 annually; installation of an oil to gas conversion burner costs about $2000; replacement of a furnace/boiler costs anywhere from $2,500-$10,000; and, decommissioning/removal of an unused oil tank as required by State Law costs anywhere from $500 to $3,000 depending on whether the tank is above or below ground.
Gov. Shumlin and the Public Service Board told us that running a fracked gas pipeline though our town and state serves a "public good." That public good does not, apparently, include providing cheaper heating options to the average Vermont family. But if it doesn't, the right question to ask is just what the public good in question is. Right now, I do not see what it is.

Terence Cuneo
Williston, VT

News in between updates....

Natural gas explosion in Seattle. Nine firefighters injured - neighborhood destroyed.


Secrets Deals:

All for now...whew...

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Friday, March 4, 2016

Friday Night Musik

 A great YouTube video of a friend...
Daniel Goodman
Video by Anthony Pepitone

Daniel just recorded a cd by the same name

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Gaz Update, aka, Yesterday's numbers just don't add up anymore. Guest posting...

You Know,
In Honor of Abraham Lincoln,
His quote:
"The Best Way to repeal a bad law is to enforce it strictly."

Like the law giving power to The Vermont Public Service Board of Land Takings and Environmental Risks that they think are worth displacing people's property rights...

What got me going again is a friend, neighbor, co-patriot...
She posted this sensible math exercise.

Yesterday's News...

If the Canadians build a pipeline, the scattered select residents and businesses along the way will line up to change their oil burner to gaz and plug in. Gaz was so cheap, oil climbed, climbed.
Oh, the tides are shifting,
In case you can't add it up,
Fuel Now Cheap, and getting cheaper,
Gas expensive,
ratepayers paying for the company's  80 million ...130 million...Make that $150 Million!
 It Is All Fossil (dead dinosaurs) Fuel, Fool!

Today's sunshine:

Thanks to neighbor :)

Home heating oil price is down yet again (OK...marginally so, but it's getting cheaper)

I'm now getting an average price for this week plus the past four weeks of $1.80 (or 1.8028) for oil (Barb Wilson usually corrects my result so take this with a tiny grain of salt although it's surely not off by more than a penny or so if at all).

But, if I'm right, this is what VGS' calculator tells us: the "average" Vermont family wouldn't save at all by switching to natural gas from oil - instead, the average family would lose around $94 annually (before taking into account conversion costs or the predicted rate hikes associated with VGS' pipeline expansion). Instead of encouraging people to spend potentially thousands of dollars on conversion or ask current customers to suffer rate hikes of 10% or more once the pipeline is built, wouldn't it be smarter for the State to encourage people to invest in weatherizing and/or heat pumps - options that would help them save money, help protect our planet, and decrease their dependence on the fossil fuel market roller coaster?

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Spring Dreaming

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Gaz Updates

********Mr. Kuethe's 117ths birthday...Love that guy...

now the business
my mailbox chocked full of gaz er un- natural gas news,
still fighting the proposed Addison County, Vermont pipeline,
like my neighbors,
never wavering

Gaz Updates:

This one is especially poignant...personal stories, impacts of big corporate powers on regular people:

Yet, given its agreement with Vermont Gas (VGS), this is exactly what the state of Vermont is now doing to our family. I would be hard pressed to find ...

and more

... 53-mile intergenerational walk next month to spread awareness about natural gas infrastructure. The organizers say pipelines pose environmental ...

Go Hinesburg!
The topic had arisen before. Vermont Gas filed an application with the Public Service Board in December 2012 for the Addison Natural Gas Project, ...

Pain at the wellhead has flowed down the pipeline to afflict midstream ... "I'm extremely bullish on the demand side for natural gas," Ebel said. "We've ...

*****Neighbor's comment: "Thank goodness it doesn't snow here any more. "

The National Law Review
Early this month, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety ... Citing past incidents at natural gas distribution facilities related to the effect of snow ...

Vermont Public Radio
Demonstrators opposing a Vermont Gas pipeline expansion set up a mock oil rig outside the Department of Public Service's offices last year.

From the group:
“The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund is a non-profit, public interest law firm providing free and affordable legal services to communities facing threats to their local environment, local agriculture, the local economy, and quality of life. Our mission is to build sustainable communities by assisting people to assert their right to local self-government and the rights of nature.

Established in 1995, CELDF has now become the principal advisor to community groups and municipal governments determined to transition from merely regulating corporate harms to stopping those harms by asserting local, democratic control directly over corporations.

Through grassroots organizing, public education and outreach, legal assistance, and drafting of ordinances, nearly 200 municipalities in ten states have adopted CELDF-drafted Community Bills of Rights laws. These laws address activities such as shale gas drilling and fracking, corporate water withdrawals, longwall coal mining, factory farming, the land application of sewage sludge, and uranium mining.”
Also more info about the work
In another episode there's also a good long interview with Jane McAlevey, author of Raising Expectations and Raising Hell, discussing " the future of the labor movement, her time spent organizing in it, and how to win."

** Another version of an opposition letter:
Mary sent this to me...I had not read because I do not subscribe to this paper.

Mary Martins comment: Well singers are so very dangerous!

Opinion: Police presence unwarranted at PSB proceeding

Posted on February 25, 2016 |
By Mary Martin

I’m not sure how to even start this but I feel I need to let you know how I felt when I attended the Public Service Board hearing on Friday. I went to show my support for the Cuenos who are facing the challenge of eminent domain.
I walked into the vestibule and was confronted by three armed policemen. It is a small space and they seemed intent on not letting me pass freely. They asked why I was there and they checked me over like bomb-sniffing dogs. I inquired what was going on because the tension was palpable. I received no answer.
I took the elevator up and tried to control my angst over that brief encounter. When I opened the door to go to the hallway, I saw six sheriff’s department officers. I fearfully approached the end of the hall. There I was overwhelmed by the state police presence. The state police completely lined the wall that runs parallel to the hearing room.
I took a deep breath and walked into the hearing room where the furniture had been arranged to form a blockade of tables between the public seating area and the hearing participants and board. There was a human wall of armed police on the other side of the tables facing me (in addition to several others elsewhere in the relatively small room) standing hands on their weapon belts and at the ready … as if they were expecting an assault from the public seating.
I was so frightened and I asked what was going on. Maybe I was in the wrong place. I told them I was there for an eminent domain hearing. I have never seen such a show of force. I have attended countless hearings in that room and I have never witnessed anything that would give cause for this amount of firearms and intimidation. I kept asking for answers to my uncontrollably growing panic. Am I in the right place? What is going on? Why officers from Lamoille and Washington counties along with Montpelier police and an army of state police?
Finally, an officer told me I was in the right room but he wouldn’t explain why they were all there. I sat down alone and shakily thought about leaving. With all the news about innocent people being shot by police, I felt my fears were justified. I told them all that I was not there to do any harm and asked that they not hurt me. No response.
People started filling the room and I was relieved not to be alone anymore. Let me explain how great my fear was. I saw a paperclip on the floor under the table in front of me. My instinct was to pick it up but as soon as I shifted in my chair, I felt the eyes of all these armed men on me. I left it there. I did not want to die for a paperclip. I can laugh now as I write this and I can see my tombstone now, “She died while saving a paperclip from being vacuumed up.”
I will continue to attend these hearings. Their intimidation tactics will not stop me. These are public hearings after all. They should not be dominated by police. I do not understand what the point was if not to deter us from witnessing the unjust actions of the board. That was a terrible use/waste of our resources and tax dollars. I thought I live in Vermont, not a fascist police state where the power is used to dominate and control citizens mentally and physically. They may scare the bejeezus out of me but that won’t stop me from attending. Thanks to them, I am getting stronger.
Mary Martin
Editor’s note: The subject of the public hearing was an eminent domain easement for the Addison Natural Gas Project pipeline in Williston. The hearing was halted after more than 70 opponents of the pipeline sang for 30 minutes drowning out officials trying to carry out the business of the meeting. It was the fifth time an eminent domain hearing was halted in this way in the past two months.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Artwork inspiration

Attributed to Pisanello (Italian, by 1395 - about 1455), Attributed to the Master of the Antiphonal Q of San Giorgio Maggiore (Italian, about 1440 - about 1470)
Initial S: The Conversion of Saint Paul, about 1440 - 1450, Tempera colors, gold leaf, gold paint, silver leaf, and ink on parchment
Leaf: 14.1 x 8.9 cm (5 9/16 x 3 1/2 in.)
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles