MERGING BETWEEN THE OWNERS OF ÉNERGIR : A COALITION DEMANDS AN END TO ANY NEW PIPELINES
MONTREAL, QC June 11th, 2019 A coalition representing climate justice groups from Vermont and Quebec attended the Interim Meeting of Shareholders for Valener and Energir. The groups were demanding that Energir sign a contract promising not to build any more pipelines.
Fossil fuel giant Enbridge and the Caisse de Dépôt et Placement du Québec, are consolidating their control over Vermont's major utilities (Vermont Gas and Green Mountain Power) by buying a larger stake in their parent company, Energir. As the climate crisis steadily makes the planet uninhabitable, fossil fuel companies continue to construct oil and gas lines. The industry is increasingly building infrastructure towards the Atlantic Coast, with the goal of international exports,and Enbridge is no exception.
Julie Macuga, an organizer for 350 Vermont, said, “Enbridge has a rich history of failure in terms of the environment and human rights, and their growing stake in Energir’s subsidiary Vermont Gas is a huge concern.” she continued, “It’s no secret that Canada wants to export more fossil fuels via the Atlantic coast, and we refuse to let our region be a conduit for that-- we’re already dealing with Vermont Gas’ newest pipeline, which is under investigation for construction violations. This sale makes it more likely that Enbridge would try to build even more fracked gas lines in Vermont-- and that’s the opposite of what we need.”
The gas feeding Energir’s network mainly comes from ‘sour’ gas and fracking fields in Alberta. Those fields release large amounts of methane in the atmosphere, a greenhouse gas 84 times more potent than CO2 over a 20-year period. They also negatively affect the health of the local population - even worse on local native populations. “ Énergir keeps attempting to increase its gas distribution network in Quebec and Vermont. La Caisse de Dépôt keeps putting more money in fossil fuels. We ask them to tell the truth about the source and environmental consequences of their gas,“ said Pascal Bergeron, an Extinction Rebellion activist.
The activist hope to hear a response from the companies that addresses the demand to halt buildout, and they insist that the companies stop relying on the myth that natural gas is “cleaner” than oil or coal.