June 18th, 2015
Next week the Public Service Board will hear testimony on the natural gas pipeline traveling through Addison County. Approved some time ago, the application has been reopened due to revised cost estimates. I have been approached by interested parties on both sides of the pipeline approval question to support their stance. As the pipeline is traveling through, and will be utilized in a portion of my district, Addison-4, I felt it would be right to let people know how I felt about the issue.
I must add an important footnote to the Independent’s amusing account of our re-enactment of efforts 50 years later to help Middlebury Beef Supply’s rooftop bull enter Middlebury College’s Forest Hall, which was in 1965 the senior women’s dorm.
This is my perspective:
One of the reasons I enjoy living in Vermont is that our legislators held a sense that in our state, we would not be led around by outside influences.
Act 250 is a law that empowers people, it is a safety net for the well being of both people and environment in which we live.
In the past two years two bills have passed through our legislators which take all rights away from local governing communities. It takes away any say about where energy projects are placed.
Nate and Jane Palmer are not the only people fighting Vermont Gas pipeline expansion but they are the faces of the fight. Once again they will be before the Vermont Public Service Board on June 22-23 to present our case.
A grassroots group of Vermonters, Just Power, have come together to stop this fossil fuel pipeline. We helped push back part of the plan (Phase II) and now we are ready to end the entire project.
There’s no doubt that having the choice of natural gas can save people money and help businesses be more competitive in a challenging economy. There are also compelling environmental reasons to support expanding natural gas to more communities in Vermont. Natural gas is much cleaner than oil and propane and using it instead of these other fuels will make our air cleaner.
These economic and environmental advantages are real and they apply to agriculture as much as any business.
It sounds as if there are a lot of creative ideas for easing the parking crunch during the upcoming construction in the heart of Middlebury. I especially like the idea of making Main Street one-way — if trucks were prohibited (except for local deliveries), portions of Main Street might even accommodate parking on both sides. And if this works on a temporary basis it might turn out to be a good permanent arrangement.
Disregard for the concerns of citizens and taxpayers of Middlebury was very evident by the majority of the Middlebury Board of Selectmen at the June 9 meeting. MANA (Middlebury Airport Neighbors Association) provided a petition including over 200 signatures of Middlebury residents to the board which was completely ignored in favor of a vote to approve the VTrans proposal to expand the airport.
I learned to fly at the Middlebury Airport in the mid-50s when it was a grass field and Alphonse Quesnel ran Dustaire, a crop-dusting operation.
Reflecting the growth of Addison County these past 60 years, the airport has evolved, and in keeping pace with the needs of the community is planning further upgrades.