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Pipeline activists plan a demonstration in Addison County

ADDISON COUNTY — The activist group Rising Tide Vermont will hold direct action trainings in Starksboro this coming weekend and is planning a mass action in Addison County on Monday, June 6, to stop construction of Vermont Gas Systems’ natural gas pipeline.
The mass action, which Rising Tide characterizes on its website as “our biggest push yet to take collective action in defense of a livable planet,” comes in response to the Public Service Board’s Jan. 8 decision to reaffirm its support of the Addison Natural Gas Project. Vermont Gas workers can be seen at various locations throughout Addison County cutting brush and trees, digging trenches and running pipeline underground using a special horizontal drilling machine as Vermont Gas extends its pipeline from Colchester through Hinesburg to Middlebury and Vergennes.
Vermont Gas hopes to complete the 41-mile, $154 million pipeline by the end of the year.
Rising Tide opposes the natural gas pipeline because, according to the organization’s website, it “continues Vermont’s reliance on polluting fossil fuels and mythologizes natural gas as a ‘clean’ alternative to other fuels” at a time when more environmentally sensitive alternatives are becoming more cost effective and more widely available. Additionally, although Vermont banned a kind of drilling called hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” in 2012, Rising Tide points out that the Addison Natural Gas Project pipeline will carry fracked gas from Canada.
Vermont Gas characterizes the project as delivering “a new clean energy choice to thousands of Vermont families, businesses, and institutions” and praised the PSB’s decision as “a thorough regulatory proceeding.” In April, Vermont Gas announced that by fall 2016 it expects to begin also offering customers “renewable natural gas” generated from agriculture and landfills.
The Rising Tide direct action training will take place this weekend at the Common Ground Center in Starksboro.
The time and place of the planned action, the Independent was told, will not be released until just before the protest commences.
Reporter Gaen Murphree is at gaenm@addisonindependent.com.

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