Gas pipeline is Vermont's concern, too

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Editor of the Reformer:

On Thursday, June 11, we attended a hearing by the Department of Public Utilities at a jam-packed auditorium in Greenfield, Mass., concerning the proposed Northeast Energy Direct fracked gas pipeline. We went to lend solidarity to our fellows and were blown away by the intelligence, passion and thoroughly researched statements of the affected communities.

This hearing was specifically called to address the proposed 30-inch diameter pipeline plus two proposed 80,000 horsepower pumping stations. Pumping stations are huge industrial complexes, with 24/7 stadium-type lighting, averaging 53 decibels, which would be twice as loud 50 percent of the time, the equivalent of a jet engine.

It was clear beyond refutation, thanks to the community's fact-gathering, that this project is vastly excessive in size and breadth beyond any local needs and is obviously a pretext for exportation of gas. It was shown that the NED was adding 90 percent excess capacity, clearly exposing their ulterior primary intention. The laborers' union brought out some members to speak in favor of jobs that would be furnished, albeit short-term. It saddened us that union members were not capable of hearing the pain and erudition of their community.

It is worth noting that Berkshire Gas, claiming to need the pipeline, is owned by the Spanish transnational Iberdrola. The transnationals and their "free trade agreements," like the secretive TPP, truly have and continue to cost jobs to workers like these.

Perhaps the corporations think they can steamroll a rural community, but the community has armed itself with information and moving personal stories of how it would become a sacrifice zone.

In closing, this fight is not restricted to Western Massachusetts. The last thing that Vermont, New Hampshire or any other place in the world needs is massive new fossil fuel infrastructure.

We invite our fellow New Englanders to go to the website of the Pipeline Awareness Network (massplan.org). And we welcome all to attend Brattleboro's Climate Change Café, a monthly gathering held every fourth Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Brooks Memorial Library, where we bring in speakers, show films, have discussions. This upcoming June 22 we are hosting pipeline activists from the Granite State.

Gina Faro, Bert Picard and Shiva Shankaran, Brattleboro, June 17

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