Opinion: Big natural gas clients only care about the bottom line

I am writing in response to Zane Anthony’s letter in your July 27 paper, which takes aim at Middlebury College’s pro-pipeline support.
I am not a stranger to this fight and over the last several years have had discussions with the college on this issue. I was first told that that they did not take controversial stands in matters that didn’t relate to education. With the spin through the years of how “green” they are, this was an obvious sidestep. Of course these things need to be addressed.
I had intended to illuminate the bigger users’ intentions through what would have become a “shame campaign,” but eventually backed off. In addition to Middlebury College, I had contacted Cabot and Porter Hospital, as the three of them would be the major beneficiaries of this natural gas project. Their support of the pipeline is ongoing and for an old, never-ending reason — greed.
In my opinion, all three of these big users care only about their own bottom lines. The college (even though they smugly responded, “We don’t care about the money”) continues to support a pipeline, even though it is using compressed natural gas now. They want a pipeline built because gas will be cheaper for them if it comes through a pipeline; there will be no delivery charges as there are now with compressed natural gas from NG Advantage.
But who will foot this over $150 million pipeline construction price tag? The ratepayers of Chittenden and Franklin counties will, as AARP has suggested. Middlebury businesses could do perfectly well with CNG and should accept their responsibility for obtaining it.
I commend Zane Anthony for speaking out as I may have been afraid to do. We can only hope that Middlebury College will change its mind and take the high road on this.
Norton Latourelle

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