Vermont Pipeline Opponents Scale Tree, Halt Land Clearing for Pipeline?

treevia Rising Tide Vermont

[UPDATE: Day 2 Press Release]

Monkton, Vt. – For the second time in less than a month, opponents of Vermont Gas Systems’ fracked gas pipeline have taken to the trees to prevent pipeline construction in Addison County. An individual is sitting in a platform thirty feet high, effectively stopping crews from clearing the pipeline route.

“As we’ve said before, this pipeline ends with us. We don’t see the state’s decision to support this polluting, expensive pipeline as a legitimate decision, and will continue to get in the way of construction as much as possible,” Addie Herbert of Rising Tide Vermont.

Vermonters from across the state have attempted to stop the pipeline for years, through testifying at public hearings, writing letters, appealing to elected officials and intervening in the controversial Public Service Board process. Many feel they are left with no recourse but to directly intervene in construction.

“The Public Service Board showed their true colors recently, when they proposed barring the public from pipeline hearings,” said Jane Palmer, who’s farm is less than half a mile from the tree sit. “It’s no surprise that people are putting their bodies on the line when the state is putting corporations above democracy.”

Vermont Gas Systems sources its gas from the Western Canada Shale Basin, one of the largest deposits of oil and gas in the world. If built, this pipeline will become a major emitter of greenhouse gas emissions over the coming decades. Opponents see the project as a direct link to the carbon and methane time bomb that scientists have warned

“We’re calling on all who are fighting to increase local control over energy projects in the state to join us in our effort to stop this undesirable pipeline,” Herbert said, in reference to recent legislation aimed at increasing town oversight in regards to renewable energy siting. “If we are to meet our energy needs in this state without wrecking the climate or landscapes of other communities, we need to end this system of unaccountable, corporate-owned energy and build a truly democratic energy system.”

Rising Tide Toronto Delivers Letters of Trespass to PTP Investors

This morning members of Rising Tide Toronto delivered letters of trespass to the top institutional investors of Chevron, while hosting impromptu “educational sessions” outside their offices. This was done in solidarity with actions taking place on Saturday March 30th as cities across the country answer the Unist’ot’en’s call for actions against Chevron and those that finance their fracking projects. The grassroots Wet’suwet’en, especially the Unist’ot’en and Likhts’amisyu clans have repeatedly told PTP officials in meetings and face-to-face encounters that they will not tolerate any pipelines through their territories. The Unist’ot’en drafted trespass letters to inform investors that they are “equally responsible and accountable for any trespasses and violations carried out on Wet’suwet’en yintah (territory).” Protesters walked the “financial walk of shame” targeting Vanguard Group, Capital Group, and State Street Corporation hoping to alert these investors that the Pacific Trails Pipeline is fraught with risk and illegality.

Chevron is the new corporate face of the Pacific Trail Pipeline project, having recently become 50/50 partners with Apache to build a fracked gas pipeline across 500 kilometres of largely unceded land, from Summit Lake to LNG plants planned for Kitimat.

Everywhere they operate, Chevron exploits land and people for money, often through the use of force and without taking responsibility for the consequences.

“If Chevron tries to install unsanctioned pipelines through unceded lands they will meet complete and utter defeat”, said Freda Huson of the Unist’ot’en Clan. “We will resist all of their plans. We act to protect our lands, and the climate stability of the whole planet.”

The last call for action in support of the Unist’ot’en resulted in rallies in 20 cities across North America on November 27th 2012. Shortly after, former PTP co-owners EOG and Encana divested from the project. Interestingly, RBC acted as the exclusive financial advisor to EOG and Encana during a deal which saw Chevron assume 50% ownership of the Pacific
Trail Pipeline and Kitimat LNG.

“Today we visited Chevron’s investors to let them know that the Pacific Trail Pipeline isn’t going to happen,” said Taylor Flook, a member of Rising Tide Toronto. “The Unist’ot’en are mounting a determined resistance against incursions onto their territory, and a space is being carved out where we can change the course of Canada’s energy future.”

Read Chevron fact sheet.

Read the letter to Chevron from the Unist’ot’en clan.