Opinion: Proposed gas pipeline runs counter to regional plan

Editor’s note: The Cornwall selectboard on Jan. 30 sent this letter to all Addison County Regional Planning Commission members.
Your commission has been asked to approve Vermont Gas’ proposed “Phase 2” natural gas transmission pipeline through our community. We expect you are familiar with the details of that proposal and the arguments made by proponents. The Cornwall selectboard respectfully requests that you comply with the ACRPC Regional Plan and disapprove the request.
The regional plan’s language regarding such a proposal is specific and unambiguous. See page 7-28:
“Goal D – That energy infrastructure and services do not cause undue adverse impact to the health and safety of residents or on the environmental quality of the Addison Region.
To meet that goal it is our objective: …
Objective b – For no large-scale energy generation or transmission facilities, which have as their primary purpose providing energy markets outside the Addison Region, to be constructed or expanded in the region.”
The Plan defines “goal” and “objective” on page 1-4 and 1-5:
“Goal – Broad statements of what the region ultimately wants to achieve.”
“Objective – The general steps necessary to reach the stated goals, including an action to be taken, expressed in a time frame in which the action is to be completed.”
No amount of parsing, legalistic interpretations nor “readings” change those words or their meaning. If your commission finds that it disagrees with current provisions of the plan there is a prescribed process for making such changes and you are duty-bound to follow that process.
Judy Watts, for the Cornwall Selectboard
Bruce Hiland, Chair; Judith Watts, Vice Chair; David Sears; Ben Wood; Abi Sessions

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