Opinion: PSB fails in its duty to citizens

Aside from the fact that I believe the proposed Vermont Gas (Gaz Métro) pipeline through Vermont is a gigantic leap down a wrong road that will only exacerbate the human-generated climate chaos we have already begun to experience here, what is most troubling to me is the fact that our own Public Service Board (state-funded through taxpayer dollars) can and is making decisions that deny the rights of citizens who DO NOT WANT to participate in, and bear all the risk (to their health, safety and property values) for, a foreign corporation’s agenda and ultimate financial gain.
You don’t have to agree with me (that the future health and safety of our citizens, farms and waterways will be in dire jeopardy if this project advances) to acknowledge that property owners should have the autonomy and guaranteed right to weigh their personal risks and OPT OUT. A Vermonter should not be forced to bear all the risk of a Canadian company’s energy expansion. And do not be deceived, there is great risk involved in transporting this fossil fuel. If something goes wrong, those landowners will be the ones who are going to suffer.
The Public Service Board’s designation of such a corporate project as “in the public good” does NOT represent the interest of all private citizens in our state. We, the public, must stand up for those rights, if the Public Service Board betrays them. We rely on this board to monitor and regulate public utilities (because they are inherently monopolistic) on behalf of the citizenry. We help each other here in Vermont. We stand up for each other. And I hope we still respect one other’s personal rights and freedoms.
I call upon the Public Service Board and Gov. Shumlin to deny further compliance on this project through assignation of a “Certificate of Public Good” on Phase 2, which would allow the principle of “eminent domain” to abrogate the rights of any of our state’s citizens in order to benefit a utility company. And, by the way, now that Vermont Gas projects it will exceed its budget for Phase 1 by 40 percent, with those costs passed on to the ratepayers, they should also reconsider that Certificate of Public Good for Phase 1. Let’s not give this foreign-born utility company a blank check.
Beth Thompson

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