Opinion: Vermont Gas, not protestors, is doing a disservice

In response to the editorial by Mr. Lynn on May 29, 2014, titled; “Rising Tide Vermont did its cause a real disservice”:
The real disservice here is … Vermont Gas, a public utility, has many of the residents and public officials of this state brainwashed into believing their exaggerations and out and out lies. The “assault” that Mr. Lynn seems to want to highlight (you know, the one that never happened?) is a case in point. Just because Vermont Gas says it happened, he believes it.
The people who convened on Vermont Gas headquarters are more informed about the process and how it’s progressed so far, than Mr. Lynn seems to be. Chris Recchia, commissioner of the Department of Public Service (DPS) publicly announced his support of this project BEFORE the Public Service Board had determined it was in the “public good” and has informed all of the impacted landowners that the DPS is charged with protecting the ratepayers, first and foremost. The higher easement payments and landowner rights and covenants all take a back seat to keeping the costs to the ratepayers in check.
Rising Tide brought this to the attention of the media last year because they were dismayed at the lack of transparency and the apparent unwillingness of our own public officials to allow the process to work.
Mr. Lynn seems convinced that the project is “a done deal that a vast majority of residents in Addison County support” despite the fact the majority of speakers at the last three public hearings on the pipeline were against the pipeline. At a public informational meeting in Middlebury in April 2013, the vast majority of attendees opposed the pipeline. Over 2,000 messages pertaining to the pipeline were received by the PSB on Phase 1 and 96 percent of them were against it. Monkton, Cornwall and Shoreham all voted against the pipeline at town meeting this year. Is this some sort of inspirational tactic … when facing defeat try declaring victory? Tell me again, Mr. Lynn, your suggestions on how to get our messages across to those in charge?
As far as spreading the “gospel of renewable energy,” one would have to be deaf and blind to not have heard, seen or otherwise been aware of what the community of Addison County is doing to promote alternative energy. Trouble is, many of us have to earn a living as well as support the opposition. We are not getting paid to be involved, unlike Vermont Gas employees who all take home a salary for the work they do to promote their project.
So yeah, some of us are protesting and some of us are promoting renewable energy projects and some of us are writing letters and some of us are baking cookies and some of us are chaining their necks to doorways. It’s how things get done. We all do what we can to achieve the common goal of stopping this insane project from being built. We may be meatheads, Mr. Lynn, but the majority of people are on OUR side.
Nathan B. Palmer

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