Astronomy Picture of the Day

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Images




for the last day of January 2016,
bizarre weather,
bizarre images,
welcome February.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Protesters try to stall pipeline expansion

Protesters try to stall pipeline expansion: Despite approval from state regulators, opponents are still trying to block a natural gas pipeline project.

Friday Night Musik! Guy Forsyth Blues Band "Don't Stand Still (Snakeboy's Lament)" live on t...

This Land is My Land, Not a #fracking crib for (un) natural gaz

For educational purposes:


In November, Attorney General Maura Healey released a study that concluded additional natural gas pipeline capacity is not the best solution to meet the state’s long-term energy demand needs.

Grid operator flags pipeline constraints, growing role of renewables

Photo: Thinkstock
BOSTON, JAN. 26, 2016….With New England increasingly dependent on natural gas and the region moving to a “hybrid fleet” featuring more renewable power generators, power prices and system reliability are directly tied into the ability to move lower-priced gas supplies through pipelines and into the region, according to grid operators who provided an annual overview of the system on Tuesday.
Gordon van Welie, president and chief executive officer of ISO New England Inc., told reporters during a “State of the Grid” conference call that natural gas-fired power plants produced 49 percent of the electricity generated in New England in 2015, but the system is stuck in a “precarious position” in the wintertime when demand for natural gas rises for both power plants and residential home heating.
With Beacon Hill lawmakers gearing up for a major energy policy debate, van Welie clarified that ISO New England does not favor any fuel or technology or transmission or pipeline project, does not buy or sell electricity and has no financial connection to the natural gas industry.
In part due to the production of natural gas from the Marcellus Shale, New England can take advantage of wholesale energy prices that are competitive with other states if they are able to address pipeline constraint issues, he said. But under current conditions, prices rise and the system is constrained for 30 to 50 days per year when temperatures dip into the teens or lower, he said, noting there have been “hardly any issues” in recent weeks marked by mild temperatures.
“No one can predict what the weather will be in the long run,” van Welie said, adding that natural gas-fired power generation is also required to ensure “fast and flexible” energy and grid reliability as system operators learn more about the reliability of wind and solar sources that are growing in popularity.
“The generation fleet is shifting to a hybrid fleet from a system based almost entirely on large-scale oil, coal, and nuclear generators located near large population centers,” van Welie said. “This hybrid grid will continue to include large generators, but they will be mostly natural gas power plants located near large population centers and wind facilities in remote locations. Increasingly, our resource mix will include distributed generation, such as solar panels located at customers’ sites, and resources that reduce demand, such as energy efficiency measures and companies that can lower their power usage when needed.”
Oil and coal plants are retiring “in large numbers,” van Welie said, but still play an important role during peak demand periods in the winter. He said natural gas and wind energy would replace retiring plants and discussed the need for transmission improvements to pull wind and hydro power from sources in northern New England and in Canada and deliver it to more populated areas in southern New England.
Natural gas pipeline projects have run into resistance from residents along the proposed routes, elected officials and environmental groups. Asked about his confidence level that projects will get approved, van Welie said it’s hard to gauge which ones will make it through siting and contractual hurdles. “I think something will come to fruition,” he said.
Investors and market-based competition are working to fill gaps in power demand and a pay-for-performance system going into effect in 2018 will further mitigate reliability risks, van Welie said.
In November, Attorney General Maura Healey released a study that concluded additional natural gas pipeline capacity is not the best solution to meet the state’s long-term energy demand needs.
Healey, whose report puts her at odds with Gov. Charlie Baker’s desire to increase natural gas capacity, said that while new pipeline capacity would have consumer price benefits, it would also carry significant up-front costs with risks for ratepayers of long-term commitments to pay for new infrastructure. The study, funded with grants from the Barr Foundation and the John Merck Fund, demonstrated “that a much more cost-effective solution is to embrace energy efficiency and demand response programs that protect ratepayers and significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” she said.
New England’s power system features 350 generators and 31,000 megawatts of generating capacity, including 15,000 megawatts of generation added since 1997. The system’s all-time peak demand was 28,130 megawatts on Aug. 2, 2006. About 80 percent of the generation capacity added since 1997 runs on natural gas and 65 percent of all proposed new generation would use natural gas.
Other points raised by van Welie during the conference call:
— State policy requirements are also driving up the demand for wind and solar power, and energy efficiency improvements are driving down peak demand power levels.
— The need for natural gas supplies will not be offset by hydropower coming down from Canada, although that new source of power would help. It’s “important,” van Welie said, to ensure that hydropower will be available to New England when the system needs it.
— Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant in Plymouth, which last year announced its plans to close, “was driven out of the market by low natural gas prices.”
— While most solar power is based on “behind the meter” sites off the grid, the grid overseers are seeing an aggregate effect on the power system during daylight hours, van Welie said.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Wish I was at this human chain that happened yesterday. Looked well attended.

(I wanted to post a link to the video but the tv station didn't post it)

A Call to join with landowners:
I ask you all to consider what it would be like if a giant corporation came knocking at your door, informing you that you had to acquiesce to them cutting down your trees and creating a 50 foot wide swath through your land...land that used to be forest and pasture, so they can put in their pipeline to carry fracked gas through it, so they can make more profit and create the need for more fracked gas.
Add to this, your fear of gas explosions, and the prospect that you will no longer ever feel safe in your home of more than 20 years again. Imagine that you politely declined their offer but that makes no difference to this giant corporation or our own government because the government has decided this pipeline that perpetuates and expands the need for fracked gas is actually good for Vermont and Vermonters.
Such is the fate of several Monkton residents and if you thought you might get involved but were waiting for the right time, the time is this Thursday, January 28.



All I could do was sit in my chair and type my heart out. meg

Fracking Pipeline

My heart is with the few targeted property owners who oppose the pipeline And are defending their Property Rights. Since when did the town start giving the go ahead permission for permits before the applicant has the right to be there? How can one or two selectmen, a governor, a newspaper, a paper mill, the PSB (Gods) and a college just decide...there, there, that's the route we are giving the Canadian energy monopoly. Landowners be damned. Landowners lawyer up (oh, that is mean...expensive...Singularly painful). I try to keep updates on my blog listed under Fracking http://traveloguefortheuniverse.blogspot.com
I also have a lot under Vermont property taxes, Get used to it, people. You do not own anything, all of you. You rent from the town and state who have the power to make your life very complicated. If you all stand by when the PSB process tries to pull another land grab for big power, then you too may be subject to the same oppression.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Modern Life


I can't explain the images that appear on the paper.
Just fun to see how the ink lands.
Modern Life

Monday, January 25, 2016

Winter Light

the snow reflects the light, the clouds, mountains, all play together, the air fresh,
the pipeliners ready to cut a path through this area,
it's just wrong

Sunday, January 24, 2016

#Snowmageddon 2016

Snowmageddon...2016

Vermont was entirely spared,
We have a little snow left from last week.





Points south, however, were really getting hit hard...
Be safe.



Saturday, January 23, 2016

Because




I started following Boogs Malone on twitter,
This video caught my eye...
Watching it, made me think, remember, think, imagine.
As the big storm rakes the East coast of the U.S.
Vermont is cold and quiet
Watch this video,
Because.
meg

Friday, January 22, 2016

Friday Night Musik


There were so many songs
running through my brain.
Pick one, I said.

Desperado.
Rest in Peace, Glen Frey

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Bad Vibrations



When I moved to Vermont 35 years ago,
it was the Green Mountains that drew me in,
anchored me,
gave me a direction.

Before you know it,
They want to Pave Paradise,
And Put up a Parking Lot
For Wind Turbines, and
Solar Fields of Mirrors surrounded by chain link fencing.

The Vermont Public Service board, PSB, "They" say, go ahead,
put ugliness everywhere, wind mills along the spine of the green mountains of Vermont.The ugly wind mills cause health problems, property depreciation, dead birds.
The same handful of PSB deciders decided the now $150+ million fracking pipeline
 was good for Vemonters who will pay for it.
(the original purpose was for the pipeline to go to New York, under Lake Champlain. The paper mill decided costs were to great. Funny, many of us citizens opposed, spoke out. We were not counted)






Addendum...

An Article by the Governor...



My comment:
The Governor is a scattered thinker, unfortunately. He talks about his farm, his burning brush, as if it is as natural as the driven snow. Addison County has burning police for that outlawed activity. He talks about renewables, fossils, coal, wind. He effectively killed nuclear, our reliable little plant that cushioned our electricity needs, oh, and it’s by his little brush farm.by his friends. Now, his other friends, Canadians, want Vermont as their own little money tree that could. Like a fairy, a Canadian monopoly was born. Each company slyly maintaining their own name. Green mountain power, Vermont Gas. The fairy pointed to the lake, mountain and valleys. Poof. Windmills on the spine of the green mountains, Valleys: Solar mirror fields,Gas pipelines the length of the state, and a big power line running the length of Lake Champlain. While the brush fire smoke blows out to sea. The Governor is proud, Landowners broke, forlorn, robbed, tourists Photoshop the windmills out…how it used to look. As I struggle to pay ever rising taxes on our fallow farm so the town won’t sell it for taxes, I am compelled to tell the future to my grandchildren. The Bad Vibrations started in 2016 or so. They drove people mad, or sick. They drove people out. Oil prices dropped like a stone but we were forced to buy outlawed fracked gas from carpetbaggers. Oh, and with divestment, I lost my state disability, retirement pension. Off to the cinder block high rise. That’s how Grandma and Grandpa lost the farm.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

#fracking Gaz updates or how Vermont gave away the lands

The latest updates

I would be lying if I said this is good news, for anybody,

all I can do is post links to local press, and what our Stop the Pipeline group sends.
================================================

Recchia “I’m sorry they didn’t get the result they want but that doesn’t mean the process is broken,” he said.

Since 2013, Vermont Gas System's planned 41-mile pipeline from Chittenden County to Middlebury has seen its price tag increase from $86 million to ...
Ok, let's back up...
Thanks, Meredith Angwin for clarifying, The "New, New, New Energy Plan"



Thanks for wading through the imprecise ramblings of a clearly superior race. Attorneys without boundaries. Someone profits. No doubt.
Everyone everywhere must comment.
New Hampshire under seige from the south.
If there ever is a shift in policy, all the dissenting comments will be transparent as glass.
Unlike the muddy, ever shifty rationalizations of the psb.
Mary Gerdt


On January 16, 2016, at 9:12 AM, Barbara Wilson wrote:

Hi all:
I haven't read the entire report - I jumped to the "Recommendations and Conclusion" sections only:

"While we do not recommend specific structural changes, we do believe that internal
changes could be implemented to provide greater transparency to the public of why the
Department takes specific positions."

"As this report makes clear, there is no one structural model that is optimal, and each model
has tradeoffs. We have not proposed specific reforms as we do not believe that there is an
inherently better model for Vermont ratepayers. This does not mean that there is not room for
improvement; while some of the comments received stem largely from the particular positions
that the Department takes in Board proceedings, there is also a clear indication that the
Department should do better in conveying the rationale for why the Department has taken a
particular position. In the complexities of weighing the "public interest" in a given proceeding,
we believe any advocate should be accountable to the elected officials and the legislative body,
and we believe the Department structure as it exists can and should accomplish this
responsibility in an informed and transparent manner, which, while not pleasing to everyone all
of the time, can stand on its analysis and relate credibly to all those who express interest."

No surprises here. The bottom line: We (the DPS) know better than the public what is good for Vermont and possibly we need to educate people better on why we are making the decisions that we (the DPS) do. I am thinking that they only way to respond to this is for a lot of Vermonters to send letters to their state representatives. Providing comments to DPS is useless in my mind. Thoughts?

Barb

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: Report on Ratepayer Advocate Structures
Date: Fri, 15 Jan 2016 21:24:32 +0000
From: Valentinetti, Angela
To: Jortner, Wayne


For your information, the draft report has been completed and can be found on our website at: http://publicservice.vermont.gov/publications/advocate_report.
Angela Valentinetti | Legal Assistant
Vermont Public Service Department
Public Advocacy Division
112 State Street
Montpelier, VT 05620-2601
=====================================================================

Note especially the 3rd paragraph.
"Dear Barbara,
Thank you for writing to me about Vermont Gas Systems' natural gas expansion project in Addison County.
I believe that climate change is one of, if not the, greatest challenges we face as a society, and it is crucial that Vermont continue our leadership on this issue. To this end, Vermont recently signed an agreement with five other Northeast and Mid-Atlantic to work together to develop market-based policies to further the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions we have already seen from the success of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). Furthermore, in my State of the State address, I urged the Legislature to send me a bill that divests state funds from coal companies and ExxonMobil. Owning stock in these companies is not a business Vermont, should be in any longer.
I also believe we also need more smartly-sited renewables to power Vermont and help secure our energy future. I believe we should continue to build renewables on a Vermont scale, and we should give an economic advantage for locating solar on rooftops, brownfields, landfills, and other already developed lands where we currently have transmission capacity. Homegrown is Vermont's energy future.
With regards to the expansion of natural gas service to Addison County, the Public Service Board has extensively reviewed the environmental and economic aspects of the project and determined that it should go forward. I agree with the Board's decision and appreciate their thorough review and analysis.
Thank you again for your message. I believe that if we work together, we can effect meaningful change on climate issues, and I will keep your letter in mind as I work with the Legislature to achieve our energy goals. Please don't hesitate to reach out if I can be of assistance in the future.
Sincerely,
Peter ShumlinGovernor109 State Street, PavilionMontpelier, Vermont 05609"
========================================================================

This was a damn sad day for the fracking, pipeline opponent.
=====================================================================
My brave neighbor submitted this letter in response:
Ms. Hollenbeck implies that only landowners and environmental activists agree it’s irrational to continue unnecessary pipeline expansion. The PSB received thousands of public comments on VGS’ application. 95% were negative. Last year, International Paper, for whom the pipe was upgraded at significant cost to consumers, balked at VGS’s new price; the project no longer made business sense. Last summer, 500 ratepayers wrote to DPS saying they couldn’t afford higher heating bills to pay for new pipelines. On 12/17/15, 150 prominent Vermonters from business, faith, farm, and academic circles wrote Governor Shumlin saying market and climate developments led to one conclusion: Construction must stop now. By 1/8/16, 1350 more leaders, ratepayers, and average Vermonters had signed.

Expect rate shock when temporary drops in fuel prices and an unseasonably warm 2015-2016 give way to 31-32 years of sustained rate increases (“hypothetically” 12% per VGS) for expansion to Middlebury. For construction to Rutland, customers will see 1% added to rates and 1-2 more years of payments for every $10 million VGS spends. Some might see rate reductions, but many of the 17% in VGS territory over 65 will never see rates come down again. They’ll only catch the pipeline’s damage to Vermont’s farmlands, natural resources, and climate. Just before the holidays, the cashier at a Williston retailer asked me whether I lived in the area. I told her I was back home helping my Mom deal with Vermont Gas. Her response: “Oh. The pipeline. Everyone’s fighting that around here. No one wants it.”
========================================================================
Finally,
the unique geology of the Champlain Valley, once the Champlain Sea bottom,

Monday, January 18, 2016

Kris Kristofferson "Sunday Morning Coming Down" from the film "Road To A...



yesterday I watched this and smiled, a lot.
i looked up and it was quarter past noon,
no longer sunday morning,
no matter,
Kris made my day...

Rtafilm.com

RuthieFoster - "Heal Yourself" from the film Road To Austin



Wow...another great youtube video from

Rtafilm.com

Carolyn Wonderland and Bonnie Raitt - "Ain't Nobody's Fault But Mine" fr...



You tube surfing pays off,
Suggesting to me,
This wonderful link to two my favorite singer/guitarists.

This is part of a film,
Return to Austin.

Check it out...

Rtafilm.com

Posting 2 more links this morning...
Because good things happen in three's
meg

Sunday, January 17, 2016

First Flower


Oh, the sharing of a special gardening moment...
A Zinnia grows to brighten the astronauts' day
They fought the dreaded Space Blight.

Compare to Earthbound zinnias...

Earthbound Zinnia

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Winter


Winter seemed to come late, in waves, icy waves,
thunder snow, dimming light from cloudy skies.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Summertime

Link to Willie Nelson video-Summertime


Willie has done a new album-all music of Gershwin...
Last night, as winter is finally here,
I watched Willie's great version...

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Tributes

Tributes from space











Monday, January 11, 2016

If you were one of over 1400 who oppose the proposed Addison County Pipeline


Why was there even a process?

When the process ignores the Truth-Rights-Sensibility?


http://www.addisonindependent.com/201601regulator-wont-reconsider-its-ok-natural-gas-pipeline

________________________________________________________________________
and Now the Rubber Stamp, Please...

4) TDI gets PSB approval for $1.2 billion Quebec-Vermont power line
vermontbiz.com
Construction of a power line running for nearly 100 miles under Lake Champlain could begin this year. TDI New England announced today that the New England Clean Power Link has received a Certificate of Public Good from the Vermont Public Service Board. Vermont’s Certificate of Public Good is the comprehensive state siting and environmental regulatory approval that is needed to construct and to operate the project in the state, and details the conditions under which the project can be built and operated.

3) Vermont Gas gets OK again from PSB for Addison County pipeline
vermontbiz.com
The Vermont Public Service Board gave a significant victory today to Vermont Gas Systems in its effort to build a pipeline to Middlebury, and in turn issued a significant blow to the many individuals and organizations seeking to stop it. The PSB, in a decision dated January 8, decided not to revisit its original approval of the project. The PSB had considered reopening the case after construction costs increased twice in 2014.

-- 
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

This one is titled like an NFL Football game....Score!!

Score: Canadian Power/Gaz/Gas Conglomerate:1
       Vermont Landowner individuals:0
       1400 Signatories opposing project:0
       
http://vtdigger.org/2016/01/08/vermont-gas-scores-major-win-in-gas-pipeline-project/
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

This part I am copying and pasting from our group.
You know, a boycott is just what I want!
I don't want your Damn Gaz....even though I am not offered a hookup I never want it!
########################################################################

I felt like if I read this in all the outlets I could accept it.
I cannot accept this.
I am not heard.

The Public Service Board issued an order Friday saying it has declined to reconsider the certificate of public good for the Addison County Natural Gas ...

WPTZ The Champlain Valley
Natural gas pipeline construction to continue as planned ... Service Board has ruled construction of a natural gas pipeline will continue as planned.

============================================================================

Last but not least:

See what petitions can do? or Not?

1,400+ CALL TO END VERMONT GAS PIPELINE PROJECT
For Immediate 
Release: January 6, 2016
Contacts:Rebecca Foster, Just 
Power, 646-468-3511
Paul Burns, Vermont Public Interest Research Group, 
802-793-1985
Beth Thompson, Rutland Area Climate Coalition, 
802-293-2695
Shaina Kasper, Toxics Action Center, 
802-922-4780

Middlebury, Vermont — Just days before the Public 
Service Board is expected to make a major ruling on the Addison Natural Gas 
Project, more than 1,200 people added their names to a letter originally signed 
last month by business owners, nonprofit organizations, faith leaders, farmers, 
academics, and community representatives across Vermont asking Governor Peter 
Shumlin to pull his support for additional construction of the pipeline and stop 
at the 11-mile mark.

“For the health and economy of our state we wish to 
say, ‘Enough’,” reads the letter. Bill McKibben, the founder of 350.org, added, “The 
gas pipeline was planned in a different age, before we knew as much as we do 
now about the effects of fracking and methane on the atmosphere. It’s important 
to re-evaluate this project based on updated facts.”

More than 200 of the 
1,400 signers are Vermont businesses, organizations, and community leaders 
wanting to “close this painful chapter in our state’s history and turn our 
positive energies toward a prosperous and sustainable future.” The signers 
include household names such as Ben & Jerry’s, American Flatbread, High 
Mowing Organic Seeds, AllEarth Renewables, Aqua Vitea, and Maple Wind Farm, as 
well as beloved local establishments such as Vermont Cookie Love, Northshire 
Bookstore, and Magnolia Bistro in Burlington.  Bill McKibben as well as 
several Vermont politicians signed, including candidate for Lieutenant Governor 
David Zuckerman.  Vermont Interfaith Power and Light, town energy committees, 
and dozens of Vermont farms joined the call to stop construction.

“Please 
add my voice to those being raised in opposition to the gas pipeline,” commented 
David Rosen of Adirondack Guideboat in North Ferrisburg. “My company designs, 
builds and sells high-end rowing boats and we exhibit and sell them at shows all 
across the country. As a representative of the State of Vermont I often receive 
the admiration of others for our advanced environmental policies and values. I 
don’t find the Addison Natural Gas Project to be representative of those values 
or smart environmental policies.”

“Pipeline construction is at a common 
sense stopping point,” said Bobbie Carnwath, a member of the Cornwall Planning 
Commission.  The portion of the project that has already been constructed will 
be used for “looping” for existing customers, “but any added pipeline beyond 
that point would just drive up costs for current customers to bring in more 
fracked gas, when better alternatives are available today.” The project cost has 
increased to $154M since initial projections in 2011 of 
$60-$70M.  International Paper pulled its support for Phase II of the pipeline 
early in 2015 following a less substantial cost increase.  As a result, Vermont 
Gas already cancelled that leg of the project.

“Moving away from dirty 
fossil fuels and investing in local clean power is good for the economy, good 
for our earth, and good for Vermonters,” said Jon Erickson, Professor at UVM and 
Fellow of the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics. Investing in fossil fuel 
infrastructure prevents investments in green technologies, Dr. 
Erickson continued. “Energy from wind, solar, biomass, hydro, and geothermal 
systems promote in-state jobs and energy independence. They just make 
sense.”

New technologies like cold climate heat pumps, which have 
fewer greenhouse gas emissions than gas, have become readily available and more 
cost effective in the four years since Phase I of the pipeline was 
conceived. “The fracked gas pipeline proposal is outdated and out-of-touch with 
current economic and environmental realities,” said Ben Walsh of the Vermont 
Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG). “Spending tens of millions of dollars 
of ratepayers’ money to import fracked gas didn’t make sense when this 
pipeline was proposed, and it makes even less sense today.”

“Ultimately 
this is an issue of justice,” said Rev. Daniel Cooperrider, pastor of the 
Weybridge Congregational Church. “We have a shared moral responsibility to be 
vigilant in our stewardship of the earth. The call of our times now is to 
respond to the threat of climate change in a way that shows compassion for all 
life, now and for generations yet to come.”

Regardless of their 
political, religious, or other views, the signatories spoke in one voice calling 
on the Governor to adjust his energy policy so that it complies with the most 
up-to-date economic and scientific research and stops the pipeline at 11 
miles.

###

Below follows today's cover letter to the Public 
Service Board, full text of the letter to the Governor, and a link to the 
full list of the signers.

LETTER TO THE PUBLIC SERVICE 
BOARD REQUESTING THE LETTER AND SIGNATORIES BE ENTERED AS OFFICIAL PUBLIC 
COMMENT:

January 6, 2016

Judith C. Whitney
Acting Clerk of 
the Board
Vermont Public Service Board
112 State Street
Montpelier, VT 
05620

Dear Ms. Whitney,

Attached please find a copy of a letter to 
Governor Shumlin regarding the ongoing proceedings related 
to Docket 7970.  Please note that there is a small change in wording from the 
December 17, 2015 letter, and therefore this version should supersede the 
original.  On behalf of the more than 1,400 signatories I request that this 
cover letter, the updated letter to the Governor, and the full list of 
signatories be added to the official record as public comment in the Board’s 
deliberations regarding the pending 60(b) motions of the 2nd Remand.

For 
the Board’s reference, I would like to note that the original intent was to 
submit one version of the letter with a complete list of signatories; however, 
as soon as news began circulating that the letter was submitted to the Board, 
businesses and individuals began asking whether it was too late to join the 
letter.  As a result, for a short time we opened up the letter to additional 
business and individual signers, and the letter took on its own life via word 
of mouth.  We have an additional roughly 100 businesses and community leaders, 
including Ben & Jerry’s and dozens of businesses in proposed Addison County 
expansion communities, and over 1,200 individuals joining the letter.

The 
urgency with which businesses, farmers, faith leaders, and families are 
expressing in one voice their concern that the pipeline is no longer a realistic 
or beneficial option for Vermont seems to confirm what opposing parties have 
been saying all along:  The new evidence presented by opposing parties 
demonstrates that any net benefits are illusive.  Without a meaningful price 
differential, commercial demand for piped gas has fallen away to such an extent 
that businesses in Middlebury and elsewhere in Addison County are even speaking 
up to say not to bother with the pipeline anymore.  And both current 
and potential residential ratepayers, who have learned of the opportunity 
to comment to the Board at this stage, are saying clearly that it would be 
unjust and unreasonable to ask them to absorb the costs of the project.  Even if 
the MOU between the Department of Public Service and Vermont Gas Systems were 
enforceable by anyone besides the parties, it is ludicrous to ask captive 
residential and business customers to carry 31 years of costs when climate 
imperatives and markets are telling us that the pipeline’s useful life could be 
only 35 years.  When the “useful” portion of the pipeline for current customers 
is confined to the 11 miles of facilities already built, the only logical and 
just option is to amend the project and halt construction now, or subject the 
project to a new review that takes into account current 
circumstances.

DPS claims that it would be “unfair” to VGS to update 
analysis of the project to take into account the emergence of CNG islands in 
Middlebury and Vergennes.  It would be not only unfair but also unjust to 
hold ratepayers responsible for a change in circumstances that could have been 
avoided by VGS building the project on-time and on-budget.

I would be 
grateful to receive, on all of the signatories’ behalf, acknowledgement of your 
receipt of this letter as well as confirmation that it will be entered into the 
official record.

Many thanks and warm wishes for the New 
Year.

Sincerely,
Rebecca Foster


ORIGINAL LETTER TO THE GOVERNOR:
December 17, 2015 Dear Governor Shumlin, We are leaders in Vermont—business owners, nonprofit executives, faith leaders, agriculture stewards, academics, and community representatives—who have followed the saga of the Addison Natural Gas Project (ANGP) over the last few years. For the health and economy of our state we wish to say, Enough. We need to close this painful chapter in our state’s history and turn our positive energies toward a prosperous and sustainable future. Pipeline construction is at a logical stopping point. The “looping” portion of the project, the first 11 miles that was intended to bring reliability to gas customers north of Williston, is completed. Any additional pipeline would become a transmission line, rushing more fossil fuels through Vermont. The world is different than it was four years ago when the Department of Public Service and Vermont Gas were planning this project, and we are in the fortunate position of having more information. What may have looked sensible then, or even in 2013, does not now. Here is a partial list of new information since the project’s conception: · We have learned that for the planet to maintain a living habitat, 80% of the known fossil fuel reserves must be kept in the ground;[i] new pipeline increases fossil fuel extraction. · We now know that the global warming potential of methane (natural gas) is more than 86 times greater than CO2 over a 20-year period.[ii] · Investing in fossil fuel infrastructure prevents investment in green technologies.[iii] · The project now costs 220-256% of the original 2011 estimate,[iv] the burden of which would be borne by gas customers for decades. · The higher price tag has pushed out the return on investment to over 34 years; and current customers can’t be expected to carry this burden without tangible benefit. · There is no proven correlation between pipelines and economic growth; Addison County already exceeds Franklin County in economic metrics.[v] · New technologies, such as heat pumps, combined with an investment in good old fashioned buttoning up, would cost households less and be a more enduring solution in our climate-conscious era. · Fuel oil prices are predicted to continue to decline into 2016, [vi] so even a minimal rate increase of 6% for gas customers would surpass the price of fuel oil. Further, it would take these consumers more than 25 years to recover conversion costs, which could tally over $9000. We trust that you will read these updated facts earnestly because you demand excellence and consistency from your climate change policies. We hope that you agree with us that the ANGP’s carbon footprint must stop where it is, at 11 miles—a painless juncture at which to adjust policy. A signal of your agreement would have global implications by adding to the gains made at the Paris Climate Talks, by acknowledging the understanding that to survive we must update our technologies and habits, and by putting Vermont in an enviable leadership position on climate. Sincerely, LINK TO THE MORE THAN 1,400 SIGNATORIES: http://www.toxicsaction.org/news/tac/1400-sign-letter-end-gas-pipeline-project CC: Chris Recchia, Commissioner, Department of Public Service [i] Bill McKibben, “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math,” Rolling Stone, July 19, 2012. [ii] Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Working Group 1, Assessment Report 5, “Anthropogenic and Natural Radiative Forcing,” in Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis, page 714, section 8.7.1.4, Table 8.7, CH4 GWP with climate-carbon feedbacks. http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar5/wg1/WG1AR5_Chapter08_FINAL.pdf. [iii] Kevin Bullis, “Natural Gas Could ‘Muscle Out’ Renewables,” MIT Technology Review, June 7, 2011. [iv] “VGS estimates that the cost of expanding to Vergennes and Middlebury would be between $60 and $70 million.” Public Service Board, “Order Amending Alternative Regulation Plan,” Docket No. 7712, September 28, 2011. [v] Median home value in Addison County is $234,500 or 14.7% more than Franklin County’s $204,400; Addison County retail sales per capita is $12,657 or 10% more than Franklin County’s $11,383; with a population of 37,009 and 5,217 firms registered to do business, Addison County has 44% more firms per capita than Franklin County’s 4,754 firms with a population of 48,642. United States Census Bureau, http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/. [vi] Energy Information Agency, http://www.eia.gov.



Sunday, January 10, 2016

Alternative Therapies...

The Pain,

Contemplated,

Begs for an alternative,

To #Pharma

Hey, Pharma isn't all bad,
It has got me out of a lot of jams and presently keeps
me moving forward.
Pharma Plus Dedicated Doctors
Create winning medications, combinations,
Always trying to minimize side effects, I hope.
If you think it's easy or profitable for Doctors to write prescriptions, then you don't know 90% of Doctors.
It's just more paperwork.
Patients often seek out a solution to their ailment (or they wouldn't pay the copay to visit).
Don't figure all pharma is responsible for all the bad in healthcare.
At the same time, do accept there may be alternative therapies, ointments, poultices, tinctures, elixirs, topicals, ingested, teas, and on and on.

As the Vermont legislative year began, the politicians were hot and cold on the alternative ancient healing herb, Cannabis.
Sounds like the cold ones have never been on
 "The Rack" of MS Pain.
Sounds like they aren't going to ask me what I think.
So, here goes a little statement into the blogosphere (it was also sent to the ms society-no response...I asked my bc case manager and she said medical director doesn't believe in it...there are at least 50 different sets of laws and standards, diagnoses eligible, licenses, blah, blah) :

I don't understand your position on Cannabis. There is plenty of research.
 Please help medical users gain legalization in all states. Decision between Doctor and patient. Often as a last resort. The pain is excruciating, spasms debilitating, depression heavy. Please help. Natural products, effective, as old as civilization itself.


Saturday, January 9, 2016

JOINT STATEMENT OF TOXICS ACTION CENTER AND JUST POWER RE: VERMONT GAS PIPELINE RULING

JOINT STATEMENT OF TOXICS ACTION CENTER AND JUST POWER RE: VERMONT GAS PIPELINE RULING

January 8, 2016

MIDDLEBURY, VT – The Vermont Public Service Board today issued a ruling stating that it would not reconsider the certificate of public good issued in December 2013 to Vermont Gas Systems, Inc. (VGS) to expand its transmission pipeline into the heart of the state.

The decision comes in the wake of news earlier this week that over 1,400 businesses, organizations, faith and community leaders, and individuals predominantly from Vermont signed a letter requesting that pipeline construction be stopped where it is at 11 of the 41 total miles. (See press release, letter, and signers at this link: http://www.toxicsaction.org/news/tac/1400-sign-letter-end-gas-pipeline-project) Even though the deadline for signing passed, the tally has continued to go up and is now 1,500.

For the last few years, Toxics Action Center staff and Just Power volunteers have followed the Board proceedings closely, carrying out extensive fact checking on VGS’ claims and review of the Department of Public Service’s (DPS) and other parties’ analyses. We’ve found everything ranging from obvious math errors to repeated instances of contradictory and misleading statements in VGS’ testimony and exhibits.

DPS is the public’s sole representative in utility cases. We’ve been alarmed by DPS’ blind support of VGS, including the shifting of goal posts to accommodate VGS’ cost increases and delays. In light of DPS’ unwillingness to enforce project conditions and regulations, we have little confidence that VGS’ pledged rate cap will hold. Ratepayers will not be able to enforce the agreement, and we have yet to see DPS do anything but VGS’ bidding since review of this pipeline began four years ago.

Today's decision sheds light on the broken regulatory process. The ruling relies on vague statements from VGS about how it might mitigate exorbitant rate increases necessary to pay for the project and notes that those options will be addressed in a future rate case. However, VGS could have filed a rate request already. Instead, the company, with ardent support from DPS, extended its Alternative Regulation Plan and deferred the costs of the first 11 miles of pipeline until next year. In other words, the latest cost increase could have been reviewed on the basis of facts. Instead, customers are left with continued uncertainty about cost increases that will affect them decades into the future. When DPS protects the utility rather than the public the regulatory process as a whole is broken.

In 2011, VGS received special dispensation from the State to pre-charge customers for what VGS said would be a distribution line serving businesses down Route 7 at a total cost of $60-70 million. Today, with a price tag of $154 million, rate increases that could exceed 15%, almost no price difference between fracked gas and oil, alternative home heating options dropping in price, available compressed natural gas for commercial customers, and a dangerously high-pressure transmission line that cuts through prime agricultural land and sensitive wetlands, the project and the conditions around it are simply unrecognizable.

With so much at stake for Vermonters’ safety, health, and economy, we today call on the Board to reverse its decision and appoint independent counsel to represent the public immediately. Vermonters deserve a fair and thorough review of this large-scale utility project. Under these circumstances, the only way the public good can be served is through effective representation by independent counsel – whether before the Board or before the Supreme Court on appeal.

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CONTACTS
Shaina Kasper, TAC, 802-922-4780
Rebecca Foster, JP, 646-468-3511