Letter to the Editor: ‘No’ vote urged on Vermont Gas issue

An important vote is coming up for the people of Middlebury on Nov. 7 after a special town meeting. I am asking my friends and neighbors in Middlebury to be sure to vote “No” on Article 1. Here’s why. Vermont Gas has asked the town of Middlebury for an easement to place a pipeline through town property without any payment to the town. There is no reason to give this wealthy utility company a free ride here.
Consider this: The state of Vermont has a goal of transitioning to renewable energy sources, reducing the use of fossil fuels, and the production of greenhouse gas emissions. Meanwhile, the U.S. EPA recently admitted that they have been grossly under-estimating the amount of the potent greenhouse gas methane that the gas industry releases through the production, processing, storage, transmission and use of natural gas. Additionally, several recent studies have all found that so much fugitive methane is released throughout the natural gas supply chain (from ground to customer) that natural gas ends up being just as harmful to the environment and damaging to the climate as coal. For Vermont Gas to expect the town of Middlebury to let them build infrastructure that will aggravate climate destabilization and contribute to increasing the damage and destruction being caused by extreme weather events to communities in Vermont and around the world without even having to pay for the land they are using is quite literally adding insult to injury.
Please join me in rescinding these free easements by voting “No” on Article 1 on Tuesday, Nov. 7, so that our selectboard will have the opportunity to renegotiate the easements with Vermont Gas to include fair market compensation for the use of our public lands.
George Klohck

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