Astronomy Picture of the Day

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

🌏 Breaking 🌎 #fracking update

From the Stop ✋ the Trans Addison County Pipeline Group

For immediate release: March 21th
Activists address Valener/Gaz Metro investors at AGM: “Vermont Gas pipeline is a bungled mess and a bad investment. Time to invest in the future, not dirty, dangerous fracked gas.”
 Valener is the public investment vehicle for Gaz Metro, which in turn owns Vermont Gas. As investors assemble for their annual general meeting, activists from Vermont and Montreal are also assembling to express fierce opposition to the Vermont Gas Addison Natural Gas pipeline project – a fracked gas pipeline that is under construction through the state of Vermont. 
Julie Macuga, a 25 year old University of Vermont student, plans to deliver a statement to the investors inside the meeting: “I purchased shares of Valener so that I could speak to all of you directly about what you are doing… what is it going to take to make you stop destroying our state with your damaging and financially unsound pipeline?”
Activists cite cost overuns which have more than doubled from initial estimates to 166 million as a result of mismanagement, a federal pipeline hazardous material safety administration (PHMSA) investigation into unsafe construction and failure to comply with standards, a pending VT Supreme Court case over a pipeline easement through a public park, a recent letter from the 64 member VT legislature's Climate Caucus requesting steps be taken towards a reconsideration of the permit, lack of demonstrable Vermont market for the gas, and concerns about climate impacts of leaking methane from pipelines.
 “Vermont citizens and groups have been fighting this pipeline since the beginning of construction, nearly 4 years now”, stated Rachel Smolker, a resident of Hinesburg Vermont.  “This poorly constructed pipeline puts our communities at risk of a potential explosion, puts Vermont ratepayers on the hook for the costs, and puts our climate at risk from methane leaks.  Meanwhile, gas prices are predicted to rise over years to come. Valener/Gaz Metro should invest in the future and stop banking on the sinking ship of dirty, dangerous fracked gas.”

Contact: Rachel Smolker: (802)  or Julie Macuga: (802)238-5777 

------------------------and letter to editor by a friend-------
 Thanks, Bobbie


Editor’s note: This commentary is by Roberta Carnwath, who is a member of the Cornwall Planning Commission.
In May of 2010, when Vermont attracted national attention by becoming the first state to outlaw fracking, our governor, Peter Shumlin, said:
“We don’t know that we don’t have natural gas in Vermont, and this measure will ensure we do not inject chemicals into groundwater in a desperate pursuit for energy … One of the biggest challenges that future generations are going to face is clean, drinkable water. We have an abundance of it in Vermont. I think it’s a great message that we’re going to protect it at all costs.”
In noting the impact of the decision on future generations, Shumlin was framing the prospect of poisoning drinking water as the moral issue that it is. A moral issue like, for example, child labor, outlawed in Vermont, but … what if it were legal somewhere else, say … Alberta? And what if the product of this child labor was cheaper and more convenient than other products produced by more ethical standards? Would Vermonters say: “Yes! Let’s bring ’em in – give ourselves more choices? Heck, let’s build a pipeline and bring more of them in faster!”
A moral issue like, for example, child labor, outlawed in Vermont, but … what if it were legal somewhere else, say … Alberta?

If it is wrong to poison drinking water in Vermont, it is wrong to take advantage of the fact that people at the other end of the pipeline may not have the means to protect their back yards from exploitation by corporations partnering with their government.
In the years since the Public Service Board approved the certificate of public good for the Addison Natural Gas Pipeline, the concept of “climate justice” has been gaining respect as a factor that should be considered in economic planning. Members of the Vermont Legislature should all support the initiative spelled out in a letter from the Vermont Assembly Coalition on Climate Solutions to June Tierney requesting that the certificate of public good for the Addison pipeline be reopened. The letter gives five reasons why this action should be taken. But there is a sixth reason. The PSB should ask whether the pipeline is a good idea in the light of our emerging understanding of “climate justice.” Can we knowingly inflict damage elsewhere and still be proud Vermonters?

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