Montpelier, Vt. - Hundreds of people are rallying in protest of a proposed gas pipeline through Chittenden and Addison Counties. A broad coalition of Vermonters including Vermont Gas customers, farmers, indigenous activists, labor leaders, and landowners threatened by pipeline construction are expressing outrage over a controversial deal the Department signed with Vermont Gas recently, without any public input or communication with impacted parties.
"Despite hundreds of written complaints from current Vermont Gas customers opposing the fracked gas pipeline, the Department of Public Service recently penned a back room deal with Vermont Gas falsely claiming to protect ratepayers, while leaving them on the hook for over $134 million in pipeline construction costs," said Anna Rose, a Vermont Gas customer from Burlington."We will continue to obstruct DPS and the PSB until they revoke the permits for the fracked gas pipeline and commit to meaningful forms of public participation in our energy future," Rose said.
Demonstrators marched through downtown before rallying in front of the building that houses the Department of Public Service. Demonstrates also erected a large fracking rig in the middle of State Street to draw attention to the Shumlin administration's hypocritical position on the use of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) for natural gas.
"It is irresponsible and immoral for Vermont to continue exporting the worst impacts of our energy sources. If you can't frack in Vermont, then you can't frack anybody's land so they can get sick and you can get cheap energy" said Henry Harris, of Plainfield. "We are blockading State Street because this state government and the Department of Public Service continue to act in favor of corporations and ignore the will of the people"
Speakers and demonstrators have vowed that their resistance to this pipeline will be ongoing. As farmer and impacted landowner Jane Palmer concluded, "if the peoples' voices are ignored, they will only grow louder".