Opinion: Shumlin’s pipeline logic is flawed

Editor’s note: This was submitted as an open letter to Gov. Peter Shumlin.
It has become clear that the gas that will flow through the newly proposed Gaz Métro-Vermont Gas pipeline into Addison County will have an amount of fracked gas in it that is unknowable. In fact, Vermont Gas has no control and will have no way of even knowing how much of this gas is from fracked wells.
It has been said enough that this is extremely hypocritical for a state that has banned fracking. More than this, it is evident how dangerous the fracking process is, not only because of the water and air contamination from the chemicals used, but also because of the methane released from the wells. In fact, methane is now known to be far more dangerous than CO2 as far as climate change is concerned.
With these facts in mind, it is not a forward-looking plan to create this large infrastructure which may help some businesses, notably IP, save some money for a short period of time. All credible sources project a significant rise in the price of natural gas. There is a large anti-fracking movement gathering across this country and the world. That will increase the price of fracked gas and eventually eliminate it and the state of Vermont will be left with this very expensive infrastructure.
Gov. Shumlin, I would like to know why you feel you can selectively call Vermont Yankee, Entergy Vermont Yankee, while still calling Vermont Gas, Vermont Gas instead of Gaz Métro-Vermont Gas. Clearly Vermont Gas is not the homegrown company we would all like it to be, but instead is owned by a Canadian company, which is owned by other companies.
Phase 2 is a project that 99 percent benefits an out-of-state industry. It does not deserve a Vermont Certificate of Public Good. The only benefit you are able to claim for Vermonters is cleaner air. CPGs consider foremost the economic benefits and improved service, both of which go to IP. Phase 2 does not deserve a Vermont CPG; it is that simple. IP should apply for a lateral pipeline off one of New York’s pipelines or come down from the Canadian border on the New York side, thereby applying for a CPG from their own state.
Finally, the huge overrun in Vermont Gas’ estimate of Phase 1 is unacceptable.
For you, Gov. Shumlin, to threaten all Vermont Gas ratepayers by saying they will have to pay $28 million more if Phase 2 does not go through, is unconscionable.
Brennan Michaels

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