Letter to the editor: Pipeline easement petition wording was changed

Addison Independent’s Editor and Publisher Angelo Lynn’s recent editorial takes the upcoming Article vote on Vermont Gas easements to task for not including wording that the easements be renegotiated by the selectboard in order to include compensation for the town.
“The article reads in such a way that it could prevent Vermont Gas from serving that area of the downtown. That is, the article does not suggest renegotiating the rate of the easements, but just whether to approve the prior agreement.”
Middlebury voters should know that the original wording of the article did indeed suggest that the Middlebury selectboard renegotiate the easements to get compensation for the town. However, before circulating the petition, I ran the wording past the folks at the Vermont Secretary of State’s office and they told me that such wording would not be legal and binding on the selectboard because, when it comes to the conveyance of town land to another entity, the voters of Middlebury are not allowed by state law to dictate the terms of such an agreement to the selectboard. Voters are only permitted to petition and vote on whether to approve or not approve the agreements the selectboard reaches. 
If you think that the Middlebury selectboard should have the opportunity to renegotiate the easements to include compensation for the town in return for the public land that Vermont Gas wants to use and profit from for the next 50 years, the only option you have is to vote “NO” on Article 1 this coming Tuesday, Nov. 7.
Ross Conrad

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