Multiple Lockdowns Prevent Pipeline Construction in Two Vermont Counties

We can’t afford another 50 years of relying on extreme energy and endless economic growth at the cost of human and planetary health.

vermontfrom Rising Tide Vermont    Police unsafely attempt to remove demonstrators with saws. Police and Fire Department on scene

Williston, Vt. – Members of the Stop the Fracked Gas Pipeline Campaign are blocking pipeline construction, enforcing what they call a “keep fossil fuels in the ground” strategy to avert the worst impacts of global warming.

Several people are locked to equipment, and others are blocking an access road to stop construction. Participants say they need to take direct action to stop the pipeline because state regulators and Governor Shumlin have refused to cancel permits, despite a groundswell of opposition to the project over the past three years.

The work disruption comes in the beginning stages of the 2016 construction season. Vermont Gas hopes to finish construction in the fall, and has stated the significant delays in construction and easement acquisition could threaten the viability of the project.

Hinesburg residents have successfully stalled the company’s attempt to use eminent domain to seize town land, which could delay a part of the project into late summer.

Chris Schroth, of Burlington, took the day off work as a carpenter to obstruct pipeline construction. “We can’t sit by and let the state and corporations make decisions that are unaccountable to our communities and to future generations,” he said.

‘We can’t afford another 50 years of relying on extreme energy on endless economic growth at the cost of human and planetary health. But the people in charge aren’t going to budge unless we get in their way and take matters into our own hands through direct action. And we are seeing people across the continent and across the world coming to this same conclusion,” he said.

Many participants in the action have been involved in efforts since late 2012 to stop the pipeline, through participation in the Public Service Board permitting process, weighing at public hearings, and organizing and talking with their friends and neighbors about the project.

“Because of this statewide organizing and opposition, this pipeline is far behind and over-budget,” said Rising Tide organizer and Vermont Gas ratepayer Alex Polman, referring to the ballooning cost of the project which was supposed to be fully built over one year ago.

Monkton landowner Jane Palmer, who has been fighting VGS and the state over this pipeline since 2012, joined the action in Williston. “Just because Vermont’s mockery of a regulatory process approved this pipeline doesn’t mean it is right or that it has to be built,” she said, referring to the highly criticized role of the Public Service Board and the Department of Public Service in utility regulation cases. “I’m dedicated-and we are all dedicated-to fighting this project until the very end.”

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