by Krista Lee
Monkton and Cornwall homeowners are currently staging a “knit-in” at Vermont Gas Systems’ headquarters, occupying the main lobby and demanding the company stop tying to scare peaceful protestors and landowners with false allegations and eminent domain. Jane Palmer, Maren Vasatka and Claire Broughton, all of Monkton, and Mary Martin of Cornwall live in the path of the proposed fracked gas pipeline. They are joined by Charlotte resident Rebecca Foster.They said they won’t leave until Vermont Gas publicly admits to illegally trespassing on land in Addison County, agrees to not use eminent domain to build the pipeline and stops trying to use scare tactics against peaceful protestors engaged in nonviolent civil disobedience at the Vermont Gas offices.
Jane Palmer, who said Vermont Gas agents have already trespassed on her land when they violated a right-of-entry agreement, plans to stay until Vermont Gas meets her demands or has her removed from the premises.
“The protestors are not a threat and they have committed no crime,” Palmer said. “Vermont Gas is wasting taxpayer money in this ploy to press charges against peaceful protestors. This pipeline is an affront to our property rights and our rights to a safe and livable planet.”
Palmer is currently embroiled in a battle with Vermont Gas to move the pipeline off her farm, and has been active in the statewide movement to stop the pipeline altogether. She said, ““Apparently, Vermont Gas doesn’t want a banner hung on their roof. But they want to build a bomb in my backyard.”
Palmer and her husband became active fighting the pipeline when they learned from a neighbor it was slated to come through their property, and that the gas was derived from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which contaminates water and air in Alberta, Ca., where it is extracted.
Palmer, Vasatka, Broughton, Foster, and Martin plan to stay at Vermont Gas until their demands are met or they are removed from the premises. They have issued the following demands:
1) We want a representative of Vermont Gas/Gaz Metro to publicly acknowledge unauthorized entries upon lands by VGS and its agents and to agree that VGS/Gaz Metro and its agents will never again illegally trespass on land in its quest to site and build this pipeline.
2) We want VGS/Gaz Metro to stop wasting taxpayer’s money by over prosecuting peaceful protestors and trumping up charges in an attempt to intimidate those that oppose this pipeline.
3) We want VGS/Gaz Metro to stop using eminent domain as a threat instead of a last legal resort and respect and negotiate fairly with homeowners.
This is important and relevant (in my opinion) to Green Mountain College as an environmental liberal arts college in the state of Vermont & students who are interested in getting involved in pipeline resistance in the Fall should get involved with the student club: Activism @ GMC!