By Addison County Independent, June 23, 2014. Source:
Photo from www.risingtidevermont.org
In a June 19 meeting with legislators and the head of the Department of Public Service, dozens of Monkton residents said they’re still nowhere close to signing easements with Vermont Gas Systems that will allow the company to lay a new pipeline across the town.
In the three months since Monkton residents held a similar meeting with state regulators to address Vermont Gas’ negotiating tactics with regard to its Addison-Rutland Natural Gas Project, not a single landowner at this past Thursday evening’s meeting at the Monkton firehouse said that talks with company representatives had improved.
Instead, landowners said Vermont Gas fails to respond to their questions in a timely manner, does not address concerns they harbor, is not offering fair compensation for their land and is secretive about its business practices.
“Nothing has changed,” landowner Selina Peyser said.
The meeting was chaired by Sen. Chris Bray, D-New Haven, and Department of Public Service Commissioner Chris Recchia. In addition two dozen landowners, Rep. David Sharpe, D-Bristol, and Sen. Claire Ayer, D-Addison, also attended. Continue reading
By John Herrick, June 17, 2014. Source: VT Diggers
Photo by Rising Tide Vermont
Vermont Gas Systems has asked state regulators for permission to begin preparing for the construction of its Addison County pipeline extension before it secures a federal wetlands permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
This is the final permit needed by Vermont Gas Systems, which is a subsidiary of Gaz Metro with a Vermont headquarters in South Burlington, before it begins construction of the 41-mile pipeline extension from Chittenden County to Middlebury. The pipeline will temporarily impact about 23 acres of wetlands, the largest area of Vermont wetlands ever reviewed by the Corps.
The company is required to obtain all necessary permits before beginning construction or site preparation as a condition of its certificate of public good granted last December. Continue reading
Note: Tom Goldtooth is a good friend of Global Justice Ecology Project. Indigenous Environmental Network is on the Steering Committee for the Campaign to STOP Genetically Engineered (GE) Trees.
April 28, 2014. Source: CCTV
Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) speaks at St. Michael’s College on the vast destruction of the air, water and land (including many indigenous lands), taking place all over the world and what his organization and other native communities and organizations are doing to stop it. He shares stories and his perspective as a Native American and sings a traditional song.
Watch the video here
By Ronnie Cummins, April 24, 2014. Source: Huffington Post
Photo: Kevin Van den Panhuyzen
After 20 years of battling Monsanto and corporate agribusiness, food and farm activists in Vermont, backed by a growing movement across the country, are on the verge of a monumental victory — mandatory labels on genetically engineered foods and a ban on the routine industry practice of labeling GMO-tainted foods as “natural.”
On April 16, 2014, the Vermont Senate passed H.112 by a vote of 28-2, following up on the passage of a similar bill in the Vermont House last year. The legislation, which requires all GMO foods sold in Vermont to be labeled by July 1, 2016, will now pass through a House/Senate conference committee before landing on Governor Peter Shumlin’s desk, for final approval.
Strictly speaking, Vermont’s H.112 applies only to Vermont. But it will have the same impact on the marketplace as a federal law. Because national food and beverage companies and supermarkets will not likely risk the ire of their customers by admitting that many of the foods and brands they are selling in Vermont are genetically engineered, and deceptively labeled as “natural” or “all natural” while simultaneously trying to conceal this fact in the other 49 states and North American markets. As a seed executive for Monsanto admitted 20 years ago, “If you put a label on genetically engineered food you might as well put a skull and crossbones on it.” Continue reading
By Hilary Niles, April 3, 2014. Source: VT Digger
Senate Judiciary Chairman Sen. Dick Sears (right), D-Bennington, and Sen. Tim Ashe, D/P-Chittenden, discuss a bill on GMO labeling Thursday at the Statehouse. Photo: Hilary Niles/VTDigger
Vermont lawmakers are poised to “boldly go where no other state has gone before,” Sen. Joe Benning, R-Caledonia, said Thursday before casting his vote for an unprecedented food-labeling law.
The Senate Judiciary Committee gave H.112 unanimous approval Thursday. The bill would require the labeling of food made with genetically modified ingredients sold in Vermont.
Vermont will not wait for more states to adopt similar laws before it moves ahead with GMO labeling.
Connecticut and Maine have passed laws that included a trigger based on other states’ adoption of labeling provisions. Vermont lawmakers emulated Connecticut’s and Maine’s legislation, but did not include a trigger in H.112.
Note: Keith Brunner is Media and Communications Associate for Global Justice Ecology Project, and a volunteer organizer with Rising Tide Vermont.
-The GJEP Team
By Keith Brunner, March 17, 2014. Source: Toward Freedom
Nate and Jane Palmer’s farm sits in a clay plain basin adjacent to one of the many wetlands in Monkton, a rural Vermont community known for, among other things, its annual salamander migrations and amphibian road crossings. In addition to raising animals and growing crops for small-scale biofuel experiments, the couple runs Palmer’s Garage, a repair shop and community fixture in nearby North Ferrisburgh.
Jane Palmer recalls the controversy when Vermont Gas first announced its intention to construct a gas pipeline down the western side of the state, a route which would require a right-of-way through the center of Monkton. “We thought it was a dumb idea that would undermine alternative energy efforts,” she says.
But it wasn’t until a neighbor stopped by in late January 2013 with maps showing the pipeline running through their fields and 150 feet from their house that the Palmers began to really pay attention. Shortly thereafter, an agent from the gas company called the house, seeking permission to survey their land for the pipeline. The Palmers refused, stating they had no intention of allowing a gas pipeline to be built across their land. Nate notes that, “we essentially flipped them the bird from the beginning.” Continue reading
Note: Rachel Smolker a good friend and former colleague of GJEP, and is currently co-director of Biofuelwatch.
-The GJEP Team
By Rachel Smolker, February 26, 2014. Source: Huffington Post
I am fortunate to live in the tiny state of Vermont, a state that has boldly led the way on so many issues it’s hard to list them all. We were the first to pass same-sex marriage and to take serious steps to make health care accessible to all. We outlawed billboards altogether and passed Act 250, a sophisticated mechanism for protecting the landscape against wanton development. That, in fact, led Vermont to be the last state in the nation to be colonized by Walmart. We were also the first state to ban fracking. We fought Entergy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission long and hard demanding they shut down the dangerously rickety Yankee Nuclear power plant. Recently, at long last and against all odds, we “won” a semi-victory on that front.
Now Vermont has taken another bold step: denying permission for development of a dirty biomass burning facility, deceptively referred to as the North Springfield Sustainable Energy Project.
That facility would have burned 450,000 tons of wood annually, harvested from the “Green Mountain” state’s just barely recovering forests. The state’s Public Service Board is required to review big development proposals and issue (or deny) a “certificate of public good” (CPG) in order to proceed with the project. In this case, the decision was that the facility was not a public good. Many biomass facilities around the country and the world have not won permits, or have been abandoned en route to development due to economic concerns. But Vermont may be the first to deny a permit on the basis of sound reasoning.
February 11, 2014. Source: Partnership for Policy Integrity
McNeil biomass plant in Burlington, Vermont. Photo: Josh Schlossberg
In a final decision reached today on the fate of the 35 MW North Springfield Sustainable Energy biomass plant proposed in Vermont, the Vermont Public Service Board (PSB) denied the plant a certificate of public good, stating that the project would interfere with the State’s ability to meet statutory goals for reducing greenhouse gases “as a result of the large annual releases of greenhouse gases that would result from combustion of the wood fuel.”
“This is an important decision for the state of Vermont, and nationally”, said Mary Booth, Director of the Partnership for Policy Integrity, an organization that helped the citizen opponents, the North Springfield Action Group, contest the facility in front of the PSB. “When policymakers see that bioenergy involves harvesting forests and burning the wood in low-efficiency power plants, they conclude that large-scale bioenergy isn’t compatible with greenhouse gas reduction goals.”
The 35 MW plant would have burned 450,000 tons of wood a year, most of which would have been sourced from whole-tree harvesting. Carbon dioxide emissions would have been over 445,000 tons per year. While the developer claimed there would be a greenhouse gas benefit, they testified they had not actually done any analysis to demonstrate a reduction in emissions. Continue reading