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Vermont Gas…Good parents?

When my son was young…and him being my first child, I took all sorts of parenting classes…I was terrified I would do parenting wrong…so I gathered all the information and advice I could find. One of the tips I remember being helpful when he was about two, was to offer him simple choices and not expect him to make decisions he was too young to comprehend. I learned not to say, “Are you ready for bed now?” or “It’s time for bed, OK?” but to rephrase it as, “Do you want to sleep with your bear or your dinosaur tonight?” or “Do you want a story or a song before you go to sleep tonight?” I gave him choices he was able as a two year old to make. This technique worked for a while, until the precocious little bugger started to catch on to my ploy and would tell me point blank he wasn’t sleepy and going to bed was not an option. (Well…another thing I taught him was to question authority and I can tell you that came back to bite me in the ass more than once while he was growing up).

 So, here comes Vermont Gas…and they want to find a way to deliver gas from Colchester to International Paper in Ticonderoga NY and Addison County is in the way. (For reasons still not clear to us Vermonters, going down the New York side is already off the table) Their first attempt to site their pipeline through Hinesburg and Monkton was met with vehement opposition from the townspeople.  So, I guess they went and took the same parenting class as I did because they basically came back to the towns and said.. OK..which route would you prefer….down the road or on the VELCO corridor?  And the townspeople responded like good little children and made their choices, not even questioning the “other” option of having no pipeline at all.

 Our select board has been struggling with this pipeline since the general public became aware of the situation. What seemed like a pretty straight forward project that promised financial gain and economic opportunities for the town, has now morphed into a battle between what is morally the right thing to do and what will make the fewest waves in the legislative system. More and more people are learning the truth about this so called “cheap, clean energy” and many of the folks that felt “natural” gas was a better choice than burning oil or coal and were queuing up to cross that fuel “bridge” to a cleaner tomorrow, started to look ahead and they realized that “natural” gas is a “bridge to nowhere.” It is more like a gang plank than a bridge because when we get to the end of it, there will be no turning back.

 The Public Service Board will eventually decide it they think this pipeline is good for the Vermont public. We (the public) need to let them hear what we want. If you truly believe that siting a foreign owned 12 inch, industrial, high pressure pipeline that will move Canadian “fracked” gas to a New York corporation, through the yards of your neighbors, through farmlands and sensitive wetlands, next to houses, wells and water supplies is OK as long as a few households are afforded the opportunity to hook up and buy “natural” gas that comes from questionable and environmentally unsound extraction methods, at a price that is subject to change drastically before this transmission pipeline is even installed,…then you should speak up. On the flip side, if you think this pipeline is NOT a good deal for your town, the State of Vermont……the world…then you should speak up too. The Public Service Board needs to hear from us..Here’s a link to the PSB comments page for the Addison Natural Gas Pipeline:

You might also send a note to Governor Shumlin (who, incidentally, thinks this pipeline is just the thing for Vermont) Here’s a link to send him a message:

 Early on, I thought “natural” gas was a good thing too..but then I did some research. All I am asking is that you do the research too. Maybe you will come to another conclusion than we did. Maybe you will come to the same conclusion, but either way, I hope you will voice your feelings on the matter. It’s how the system is supposed to work. And if you live in a town in the path of this pipeline, even if you have already written to your select board about it…let them hear from you again. They’re there to serve us, folks. Help them do their jobs. Question authority. We are not two year olds. We know what our choices are.

Nat and Jane Palmer





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