I was in Middlebury, Thursday, June 12, at Middlebury Union High School, attending what was billed as the last public hearing addressing Phase 2 of Vermont Gas System’s plans to construct a fracked-gas pipeline to run through Shoreham and Cornwall and under Lake Champlain. The Public Service Board was inviting comments from 7 to 10 p.m. The auditorium was packed. They were limiting each speaker to two minutes. It was amazing what these angry, well-informed and poetic Vermonters were able to work into their two minutes.
Once again (and it seems to happen a lot these days), I was struck by the profundity of what we face, that was so eloquently dramatized by the testimony from an elementary school girl to a retired professor in his 90s. We are truly living at a historic tipping point that will never repeat for the human race. We have a rare opportunity to change our destiny. In three hours there were only four who were in favor of the pipeline. For the rest, it was a chance to open their hearts and give voice to their fears of losing this epic battle.
Make no mistake, this is World War III, and we are in the middle of it. If Vermont can’t stanch the greed and wrong thinking that can dream up the need for a fracked-gas pipeline in a state that has not only banned fracking but has begun to embrace sustainable alternatives to gas and oil, then we will simply be left with a choice of nightmares. Gov. Shumlin, are you listening? We do not want this nightmare.
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