Pipeline Opponents Shut Down Hearing
Maeve McBride, 350Vermont, 802-999-2820, firstname.lastname@example.org, twitter: @350vermont
Alex Prolman, Rising Tide Vermont, 603-566-7861, email@example.com
Mary Martin, Just Power, (802) 989-1398, firstname.lastname@example.org
Colchester, Vermont -- About 40 people attended the Public Service Board hearing in Colchester Thursday evening. The hearing was intended to collect public input on the funding mechanisms for the fracked gas pipeline. Shortly after the hearing commenced, Jane Palmer and dozens of ratepayers and activists shut down the hearing through song.
“Some people who are here still believe in the Public Service Board process,” said Jane Palmer, Monkton resident and landowner near the pipeline, as she addressed the audience during the disruption. “I, too, was like that once; however, after years spent fighting this pipeline within the regulatory process, I’ve realized that the PSB ignores the public. Nothing the PSB hears will have any impact on their decision.”
Ratepayers, landowners along the pipeline route, and climate activists are united in their opposition to this project that has been fraught with mismanagement, cost overruns, and questionable tactics obtaining easements with landowners. Protests and interruptions of pipeline construction have been frequent over the last three years.
“Vermont Gas is seeking to use funds they promised they wouldn’t touch until the pipeline was completed,” said Alex Prolman, a Vermont Gas ratepayer and organizer with Rising Tide Vermont. “Their poor management of this project has led to significant cost overruns, and now they’re seeking to pass their mistakes onto us.”
Many other audience members voiced their frustration with the PSB, because the Board has not effectively regulated Vermont Gas, a monopoly utility.
“I feel the heavy impact of passing along this project’s cost to seniors and low-income Vermonters.” said Louise Brill of Burlington, another ratepayer and AARP member. “The mismanagement of this project over the last three years will hit seniors hard if the Public Service Board yields to the demands of Vermont Gas instead of revoking the permit for the fracked gas pipeline.”
About 350Vermont: 350Vermont is a statewide organization in Vermont working to build a grassroots movement to reverse climate change. 350Vermont’s mission is to catalyze the cultural and systemic transformation needed to reverse climate change and return to 350 ppm of carbon in the atmosphere. Although we are an affiliated group of 350.org with a similar mission, 350VT is an independent organization, with local campaigns to divest the state pension fund, advocate for a carbon pollution tax, and stop any expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure. Learn more at 350vt.org
About Rising Tide Vermont: Rising Tide Vermont is part of an international grassroots network of groups and individuals who organize and take direct action to confront the root causes of climate change and to promote community-based solutions that help facilitate a just transition to resilient and equitable land-based communities.
About Just Power: Just Power is a grassroots group of Addison and Chittenden County residents who first organized around the Vermont Gas pipeline project three years ago. We include landowners along the pipeline route, retirees, students, parents, farmers, carpenters, and teachers. We are ordinary people who volunteer our extra time in our daily lives out of a deep concern about climate change and Vermont's energy future.