Cornwall landowner group opposed to natural gas pipeline
CORNWALL — A group of Cornwall residents who own land that would be crossed by a proposed natural gas pipeline are looking for consensus on how to react to the Vermont Gas Systems proposal.
On Oct. 30, seven Cornwall landowners who are being asked to host the Addison Natural Gas Project transmission line that would serve International Paper Co. in Ticonderoga, N.Y., met at the home of Randy and Mary Martin to discuss their opposition to the project. They sat around the dining room table and discussed their concerns
None of the seven landowners at the Oct. 30 meeting are pleased with the way they have been treated by Vermont Gas. They said there have been incidents of trespassing, intimidation, and mistruths by Vermont Gas representatives.
In a unanimous decision, the landowners agreed the Vermont Gas project would have detrimental effects on the value of their land. They agreed not to allow Vermont Gas representatives on their land, nor enter into any talks or negotiations with Vermont Gas.
The landowners agreed to use every viable legal action to prevent Vermont Gas from desecrating their land.
The landowners who met were Florence, Jim and Brian Gill; Amy Quesnel; Raphael Worrick; and the Martins.
Mary Martin said that at the last minute landowner Ralph Teischeid couldn’t make it, but his opinions were noted and he was kept in the loop of the group’s conversation.
“We all were in agreement,” Martin said in an email exchange with the Independent. “Reasons given varied from fracking and pollution, hypocrisy of allowing fracked gas into our state after we have passed a moratorium on that method of extraction, global warming, the future of our children’s children, the world we leave behind, safety, property rights, etc.”
Only one land owner in Cornwall is in negotiation with Vermont Gas at this time. Martin said one of the people at the meeting had unsuccessful in contacting that landowner, and would follow up with him.
Item three on the agenda of the Cornwall landowners’ meeting asked “Can you be bought?” Martin described the general consensus on the question to be the following:
“We could all be bought. Every man has a price but no man can afford us. If IP would save millions and Vermont Gas will make millions, then they need to give each of us millions.’
It was not decided whether the landowners would fight individually or together, and no attorney was named.
The Cornwall gathering was joined later in the evening by Monkton residents Nate and Jane Palmer, whose land is slated to be crossed by a Vermont Gas pipeline. They were interveners in the hearings regarding Phase One of the Addison Natural Gas Projection (pipeline from Colchester to Middlebury), and said they are willing to help with opponents to Phase Two — the proposed pipeline from Middlebury to Ticonderoga. The Palmers explained to the Cornwall contingent the difficulty in the proceedings unless the intervener is “a utilities attorney,” Martin said.
At the end of the meeting, e-mail addresses and phone numbers were exchanged in an attempt to keep everyone informed of up coming meetings.
“We have not been asked to host this pipeline; we have been told we have no choice,” Martin wrote in a press release describing the meeting. “We do not want this on our land, and believe there is no negotiation process by which a fair compensation can be reached if one party can’t refuse participation.”
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