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.”

Tree-Sit Launched in Burrillville, RI to Prevent Spectra’s Fracked-Gas Pipeline Construction

fangTree-Sit Launched in Burrillville, RI to Prevent Spectra’s Fracked-Gas Pipeline Construction

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 19, 2015

Contact: Sherrie Anne Andre, 401-474-7666

Nick Katkevich, 401-572-8148, nick@fangtogether.org

Social Service Advocate Launches Tree-Sit to Prevent Pipeline Construction

BURRILLVILLE, RI – A local woman launched a tree sit at the edge of a gas compressor station in Burrillville this morning to prevent its proposed expansion. The station, owned and operated by Spectra Energy, pressurizes and moves gas along the “Algonquin” Pipeline. Spectra is planning to nearly double the capacity of the compressor station as part of the highly protested “AIM” pipeline expansion project.

Sherrie Anne Andre, a member of FANG (Fighting Against Naturals Gas), and a Rhode Island native is holding the tree-sit “indefinitely”. The sit is aimed at preventing the tree clearing necessary for constructing the addition to the compressor station.

Andre is occupying a platform that is suspended 60 feet high on a tree located just yards away from the existing gas compressor station. A banner hanging from the platform reads “Spectra’s Toxins are Trespassing on Our Bodies, #StopSpectra”, highlighting the health impacts that residents face during the extraction, transportation and burning of fracked-gas.

Citing her eight years of professional work as an advocate for survivors of sexual and domestic assault Andre relayed that, “Spectra’s proposed project would hurt families  along the pipeline route and in the areas where the gas is extracted. If I truly believe I am an advocate, then I am exactly where I need to be – participating in a nonviolent direct action to stop this harm.”

In her work with FANG, Andre researches the social impacts connected with the development of fossil fuel infrastructure. “From places of extraction like the Bakken oil fields that saw a 300% increase in sexual assault after industry moved in, to Pennsylvania’s shalefields where hard drug use rates have risen – the fossil fuel industry devastates communities.”

In March the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, charged with reviewing interstate gas pipeline projects, gave initial approval to the AIM pipeline project. Spectra has still has not received final approval from the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management and the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council.

Last month, protestors delivered a “final notice” to Spectra, giving the company forty days to either cancel the AIM project or face increased community resistance. A national “week of action” targeting Spectra Energy is scheduled to start on June 6th, marking the end of the forty day window.

Sherrie called for people to participate saying “if you also believe that what Spectra is doing is wrong, I ask you to join me in taking action to stop them.”

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