ESSEX One protester from Rising Tide Vermont chained herself a Vermont Gas Systems pipe site in Essex this morning to protest Phase 1 of the Addison-Rutland Natural Gas Project.
Johanna Anderson of Plainfield remained locked to a section of exposed pipe for three and a half hours before surrendering to police shortly before 11 a.m.
About one dozen protesters arrived at about 6:30 a.m. at the worksite at the intersection of Vermont 2A and 289. Essex police arrived on scene and asked protesters to move away from the construction area. All but Anderson, 28, complied.
Essex police Lt. Ken Beaulieu said protesters were welcome to demonstrate on the site but outside the construction zone.
"We have to balance the right to protest vs. the rights of the company to do its lawful business," Bealieau said.
Rising Tide wants to delay construction of the 41-mile pipeline, which will run from Colchester to Middlebury and Vergennes. Vermont Gas broke ground last June and plans to finish Phase 1 in fall 2016.
Police repeatedly told Anderson to leave, but she refused. Beaulieu said his officers worked with Vermont Gas engineers to figure out how to remove Anderson from the pipe.
The task would have been difficult, Beaulieu said, because police did not know exactly how Anderson secured herself to the pipe. Anderson used a homemade steel contraption which hid her hands and forearms from view.
As police and Vermont Gas engineers debated what action to take, Rising Tide protestors held a banner that read 'Vermont Gas Lies!' and sang songs in support of Anderson.
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