Fracking is unacceptable– we know the harm it causes– to us and our planet. Yet Vermont Gas advertises their mission as “cleaner choices today for a brighter future tomorrow” as claim that couldn’t be further from the truth.
We’re here to cut through that greenwashed nonsense– WILL YOU JOIN OUR BRAND-BUSTING EFFORTS?
Sign up to join our Front Porch Forum campaign– when you see an advertisement from Vermont Gas, we’ll help you post a response to debunk their claims that fracked gas is “clean.”
Here’s an example of their advertisements, and a few of our corrections:
FRACKING DOES NOT DESERVE A PLATFORM:
As part of our ongoing protests of Vermont Gas wherever they show up and wherever they peddle fracked gas, we’re pleased to announce that we’ve already had a major win: Vermont Gas Systems voluntarily removed their exhibit from Renewable Energy Vermont’s big annual conference– over fears of attracting protests from folks like us!
Interested in joining us in the streets? Stay tuned for more POP UP PROTESTS. We’re crashing whatever parties the fossil fuel industry attends! Getting involved in our nodes is a great way to stay informed on our calls-to-action.
THE LATEST GREENWASHING EFFORT: “Renewable Natural Gas”
The fracking industry’s latest attempt to greenwash their product is so-called “renewable natural gas” (RNG)– methane and CO2 captured from manure and landfills. Vermont Gas advertises this product as a way that customers can “contribute in an innovative way to addressing climate change” and “be part of the movement.” These advertisements leave out a critical fact:
99% of their product is still fracked. Just shy of 1% of their product they distribute is coming from so-called “renewable” sources– namely a landfill in Quebec.By FY2022, Vermont Gas’ goal is to have just 720 (1.4%) of their customers signed up for RNG. THIS IS NOT A CLIMATE SOLUTION– but they’re still advertising it as one!
A POORLY BUILT PIPELINE: The Safety and Construction Investigation
Phase I (a 2 year-old, 45 mile section) of Vermont Gas’ pipeline extension is currently under investigation for at least nine categories of alleged safety and construction violations– everything from missing documentation, to missing components of the infrastructure itself. Our allies at Protect Geprags Park are stalwartly defending our land and water from this fracked gas monster.
Photos of pipeline construction in 2017, which lead to the current investigation. None of the safety issues would have been discovered unless activists had brought their photos and research to the Public Utility Commission. (Map from SevenDays VT)
BRISTOL, VT: FRACKED GAS LINES CANCELLED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.
At the request of Vermont Gas, the Bristol Selectboard RESCINDED THEIR PERMIT to build natural gas distribution lines to the town!
Led by local group of stalwart climate activists in Bristol, our movement won a grassroots campaign against Vermont Gas’ fracked gas distribution lines– which would have linked their town to the larger ANGP pipeline that’s currently under investigation.
The reasons they cited:
-Pending litigation: 37 plaintiffs (all concerned residents of Bristol)filed a complaintagainst Vermont Gas and their town’s Selectboard,
-Bills we’re pushing for at the State House to ban the construction of any new large-scale fossil fuel infrastructure in the state! (Read more about those below.)
Bristol is an example of what communities can do to ensure we keep fossil fuels in the ground where they belong. Check out this video from Bristol activist Sally Burrell!
BUILDING ON PAST SUCCESS:
Bristol was just the most recent in a series of successful campaigns to prevent the pipeline from moving any further– Phase II (pink on the map below), which would have been constructed under Lake Champlain and connected to Ticonderoga, NY, was CANCELLED largely thanks to protest.
Phase III (yellow) was supposed to extend roughly 35 miles further south to Rutland, then potentially interconnect to some of the infrastructure that sprawls from the Marcellus Shale formation in surrounding states. Due to public outcry– including a mass protest at Geprags Park during Phase I construction, Phase III construction (which was expected to be gassed up by 2020) has never started!
Water protectors block construction at Geprags Park– October 2016 (Photo from Burlington Free Press)
FOSSIL FUEL RESISTANCE AT THE STATE HOUSE: Working to Ban New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure
This April, we showed up at the State House in a BIG way: over 300 people participated in our five-day Next Steps Climate Solutions Walk. It was a 65-mile trek along Vermont Gas’ pipeline, and then on to Montpelier. We dropped banners on the interstate leading to the capital before arriving at the State House to call for legislation to ban new fossil fuel infrastructure in Vermont. Our culminating action brought over 350 activists to the State House where we flooded the first floor with our sing-in, interrupting legislative business. A youth delegation brought our demands directly to legislative leaders.
We pushed for the passage of several bills, including H.51, a bill that would put a ban on any new large-scale fossil fuel infrastructure in Vermont! Senator Alison Clarkson also introduced a companion bill to the Senate, H.66. Two weeks later, we were granted a public hearing on the bills that would ban new infrastructure like pipelines; there was so much support for this legislation that we had to cram into an overflow room– there were more people that wanted to speak in favor of banning pipelines than there was time to hear them all!
TAKING ACTION AGAINST FOSSIL FUEL LOBBYISTS:
During the Week of Action that followed the Global Climate Strikes, we took on MMR, a lobbying firm here in Vermont. During a press event, we demanded that the firm drop many of their reprehensible clients, which include Vermont Gas, whose pipeline is currently under investigation, ExxonMobil, which has spent $33 million on promoting climate denial, CoreCivic, the private prison company operating border detainment centers, Johnson & Johnson, recently found guilty of “false, misleading, and dangerous marketing campaigns” contributing to the opioid crisis, Walmart, where many employees earn below the poverty line, and more.
None of these issues can be seen in isolation– MMR lobbying against fossil fuel divestment, against carbon pricing, and against a ban on fossil fuel infrastructure. MMR has a hand in worsening the climate crisis, and the climate crisis is forcing people to relocate. Migration is going to be necessary for survival, and yet MMR also lobbies for Core Civic, the private prison company making millions off of detention centers.
As the press event concluded, Bread and Puppet Theater presented a puppet show, featuring a gigantic puppet of the Vermont Gas pipeline depicted as a monsterous, many-legged pig.
The event was followed by a march to MMR’s office on Court St, where we left a banner. The banner read, “MMR stop lobbying for: Vermont Gas, ExxonMobil, CoreCivic, Johnson & Johnson”, and several more companies, and it was signed by the attendees of the event.
All eyes are on the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA): the idea behind the bill is that it would create a mechanism for Vermonters to hold the state accountable for our emissions goals by allowing the state to be sued for not reaching them.
The Climate Solutions Caucus, which comprises of 83 elected officials from the Vermont House and Senate, is are all-in on this bill, and are showcasing it during their statewide Road Show (For dates and locations, check HERE)
While we’re supportive of any legislation that pushes for action on climate, we have some questions that need to get answered first! Will you attend an event in your area, and push for bold policy on pipelines?
Here are the questions 350VT is asking:
–Will you still push for a ban on any new fossil fuel infrastructure?
-How, specifically, would the GWSA prevent new fossil fuel projects?
-How does the Climate Solutions Caucus intend to define renewable energy? (Does this include Hydro-Quebec and “renewable natural gas?”)
-How will the PUC be held accountable to these goals? Will they be able to deny projects like pipelines based on emissions?
-Can we set intermittent goals (2020, 2021, etc?) If our first goal is 2025, we’re just going to delay action.
-Will the bill include carbon offsets, and if so, isn’t that just paying to keep polluting?
You can find a map of all the pipeline projects here. We have supported and mobilized for national pipeline protests in the past and are gearing up to take action this spring against the passing of the Keystone XL pipeline.
Despite overwhelming public opposition, state authorities in Nebraska – backed by Trump and the fossil fuel industry – just gave TransCanada a permit to build the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline – but it’s not the route they wanted.
We’ve promised to protect and commit to traveling to the pipeline route to engage in peaceful, creative resistance to Keystone XL when the call is put out by frontline communities to help stop this Black Snake. You can learn more and sign up by clicking the button below!