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Opinion: Public Service Board gas decision served businesses, not public

Monkton residents got the coal-in-stocking treatment from the Public Service board on the day before Christmas Eve when the PSB released a ruling favorable to Vermont Gas/Gas Métro and unfavorable to concerned Monkton residents and landowners.
So, unless our neighbors downstream can stop it, my friends will have a pipeline carrying fracked gas passing under their fields and yards. Our entire town will be subjected to the trials accompanying its construction: blasting, noise, road delays. Could it be dangerous? PSB says not. Actually they say any danger or inconvenience will be mitigated by the provisions of the MOU entered into by the Monkton select board and Vermont Gas.
Are there dangers? Of course, but the PSB is clear that the “public good” trumps Monkton’s concerns.
Just who is the “public”? Well, Vermont Gas must be the public because this ruling is what they asked for; it must be in their interest. International Paper in Ticonderoga, N.Y., is due to receive a large portion of the gas passing through Monkton (70 percent?). The ruling is in their favor, therefore they must be counted as public. Middlebury college? Also public. Maybe Agrimark, too. Good for a few private businesses. Good for them.
But for private landholders along the passageway whose private property values will be diminished at best, endangered at worst, for us private citizens it’s not good. So we must not be the public. And for the private citizens whose homes and wells are damaged by fracking that produces Vermont Gas’ gas, well they must not be the public either.
This ruling is semantically hogwash. Let’s be clear even if we are powerless. We private citizens are the public and this ruling favors private, corporate interests, not the Public Good.
Keep fighting, dear neighbors downstream.
Eugenie Doyle
Monkton

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