90+ Local Businesses: Stop Fracked Gas Pipeline

February 25, 2014

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For Immediate Release: February 25, 2014

90+ Local Businesses: Stop Fracked Gas Pipeline
Clean alternatives render project unnecessary, immoral, businesses say

Middlebury, VT–Amidst growing statewide controversy about the proposed Vermont Gas Systems’ pipeline extension, today 90 small Vermont businesses went public with their opposition to the massive new fracked gas infrastructure project.

For many, the availability of clean technologies that end up cutting fuel costs in the long term renders proposed fracked gas pipeline unnecessary. Vermont Soap CEO Larry Plesent says running his business on clean power will save money, and is simply the right thing to do.

“When we looked at fuel costs for the next 8 years, we realized we needed to be investing in local clean power because that’s going to save money in the long term,” Plesent said. “And that’s the power we want to use, anyway.”

While the Public Service Board granted a Certificate of Public Good (CPG) for Phase I of the project in December, vocal opposition within the business community raises questions about the proposal’s uncertain future. Vermont Gas wants to extend service all the way to International Paper in Ticonderoga, NY—by drilling a pipeline underneath Lake Champlain.

“When a Vermont family or farm gets its energy from local solar, wind, biomass, hydro, and geothermal systems, they are securing their economic and energy independence by reducing reliance on foreign fossil fuels and protecting themselves from wild price swings due to world events,” said Sunward Systems CEO Tom Hughes. “They’re promoting in-state job innovation and job creation. Unfortunately, a natural gas pipeline through Addison County would take us off-track.”

Don’t get too excited about the fracked gas bubble—it’s a risky bet, warns Chuck Reiss, CEO of Reiss Building & Renovation. “If you ask Vermont Gas what the cost of gas is going to be in a decade, they won’t answer. Well, I know that in a decade, the energy from the sun will still be cheap.”

Vermont’s brand rests on our respect for the environment, the businesses say, and that is a valuable asset the entire business community. The open letter states they are committed to maintain that image in action, not just words.

“I’m not some hippy liberal,” said Randy Martin, owner of Dewitt Blake Insurance. “But everyone has a reason to be against the fracked gas pipeline. There is absolutely no benefit for the Vermont public—it’s not about businesses, it’s about Vermont Gas and International Paper, and that’s wrong on so many levels.”

The full list of the 90+ Addison and Chittenden businesses that have signed a letter of opposition is available here: http://bit.ly/bizagainstpipeline

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