PRESS RELEASE: Press Event Scheduled for 2/6/2019
Rep. Mari Cordes: (802)989-9267, [email protected]
Rep. Mary Sullivan: (802)862-6632, [email protected]
Terence Cuneo: (802)922-2359, [email protected]
Julie Macuga, 350VT: (802)238-5777, [email protected]
LEGISLATION TO STOP FOSSIL FUEL INFRASTRUCTURE IN VERMONT
MONTPELIER-- Legislators are kicking off the 2019 session with bold plans to combat climate change, reduce emissions, and protect the rights of landowners. Representative Mari Cordes (P, Addison 4) is introducing a bill (H.175) that would prohibit the use of eminent domain to construct fossil fuel infrastructure. This comes shortly after Rep. Mary Sullivan (D, Chittenden 6-5) introduced a bill (H.51), with 31 cosponsors, which would ban the construction of large, new fossil fuel infrastructure altogether.
“It makes no sense to continue installing fossil fuel infrastructure that has a decades-long payback when we need to massively cut our emissions,” said Sullivan. “This transition away from our fossil fuels will strengthen our economy, improve our air quality and reduce our emissions. Let’s remember, 78 cents of every dollar we spend on fossil fuel leaves our local economy.”
Williston residents, Terence and Kari Cuneo, were forced to relocate when Vermont Gas used eminent domain to seize their former home along the route of the Addison Natural Gas Project. The pipeline is currently under investigation over safety and construction concerns, and could be shut down, as a result.
“Thanks to the Addison County Pipeline, our family has first-hand experience of what it’s like to be subject to eminent domain proceedings,” said Terence Cuneo. “Just about no landowner is prepared for what the process demands: an extraordinary amount of time, money, energy, and pain. It’s because of this experience that our family wholeheartedly supports legal measures to prevent the use of eminent domain to construct fossil fuel infrastructure.”
“Having homes forcibly taken by a government system stacked against people in order to push dangerous pipelines through fragile ecosystems and prime agricultural land, while transporting a fuel that has devastated communities at its extraction point, is absolutely not the direction to go,” said Rep. Cordes. “The new direction must be a new clean energy economy supportive of everyone, especially those most vulnerable to climate change and economic hardship.”
Maple Perchlick, a sophomore at Montpelier High School and a representative of the Vermont Youth Lobby, spoke to legislators about the need for bills like these, “The choices you make today are the choices that not only determine my future, but your kids, your nephews, nieces and grandchildren's future. This is where Vermont Youth Lobby has drawn their line, and I with all my respect insist every legislator give us something that will be a big step in cleaning up this climate crisis.” She said, “We need to do something big this session, and I refuse to hear another no if its not followed by another idea that will bring us closer to a clean planet.”
Last week, in Seattle, Washington, the King County Council passed a moratorium on fossil fuel infrastructure. In August 2018, the Oregon Supreme Court affirmed Portland’s constitutional right to prohibit new fossil fuel infrastructure with their 2016 ordinance banning storage and distribution terminals for oil and gas.