Letter to the editor: Importing methane gas from Canada is a bad idea

A garbage heap in Canada is the source of the renewable natural gas I’ve been hearing about in Addison County that is sold by Vermont Gas. Collecting and using that methane from decomposing biomass makes sense when burned locally in Canada for heat or electric generation. However, when pressurized and transported to customers hundreds of miles away, benefits are lost. Potent methane escapes from the inherent leaky infrastructure and contributes to atmospheric warming.
A business or homeowner might be willing to pay extra for “renewable” natural gas if they think it’s better for the environment. It feels good when we are true stewards of the earth and uphold a vision for a healthy world for our children. However, the phrase “renewable natural gas” is confusing and misleading and I wonder where it originated?
Trees are renewable because they produce more trees. Water is renewed by the natural cycle of evaporation, condensation and rainfall. And sun and wind are in a naturally balanced rhythm. Fortunately, natural gas, which is primarily methane, is not able to regenerate itself.
It’s very difficult, actually impossible, to properly contain methane. And it is steadily destroying our atmosphere’s ability to maintain a temperature that supports life on earth. I am disappointed at the careless use of the word renewable when there is so much at stake. How can we make sure we are making choices that don’t backfire?
Sally Burrell

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