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Opinion: Pipeline part of larger problem

The headline on your guest editorial in Monday’sIndependent criticizing the AARP for failing to “consider all angles” in the controversy over the Vermont Gas pipeline expansion into Addison County was richly ironic. Mr. Lynn’s piece has the same failing he attempts to pin on the AARP.
I don’t speak for Rising Tide, or even for my congregation, which contains people with diverse views on the pipeline, but I and many opponents of this proposal are not against it strictly because it uses fossil fuels, as the editorial claims. Our concern is that this particular proposal hooks us into using this particular fossil fuel for at least a half century into the future, perhaps more. Moreover, it generates profits that will be used to market investment in natural gas use and extend the pipeline even further, thus making even more of Vermont dependent on fracked natural gas far into the future.
I would feel different if this deal was structured to provide natural gas only until a more complete transition to renewables was feasible. I would feel different if the profits were directed toward speeding that transition — in other words, toward taking climate change seriously. But this pipeline as proposed serves private investors first, and the public good for a short while, at best.
Let those who want natural gas truck it in like the oil dealers do — that’s probably more expensive for consumers and less safe in the short term than a pipeline, but that is the true price of gas as a bridge fuel. Of course, if you believe there is no end to the amount of coal, gas and oil we can safely extract and burn and that global warming is a myth, then the pipeline as currently structured makes all the sense in the world. As will all the other pipelines the oil and gas companies are proposing. All we will lack is an answer to our children and grandchildren when they ask, “Couldn’t you see that this was madness?”
Rev. Barnaby Feder
Middlebury

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