FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contacts: Julie Macuga, Extreme Energy Organizer at 350Vermont, [email protected], 802-238-5777
Maeve McBride, Director of 350Vermont, [email protected], 802-999-2820
Is Vermont Gas Next in Rash of Explosions?
Burlington, VT. “Armageddon” is how local officials in Lawrence, MA described a series of natural gas line explosions that led to roughly 60 fires and 17 natural gas leaks. According to residents, there were so many fires “you could not see the sky.” Dozens have been injured, and a teenager is dead. On September 10, a week-old pipeline in Pennsylvania exploded destroying property, and in response, local lawmakers are calling for a halt in its ongoing construction.1
“The situation in Massachusetts is horrific,” said Maeve McBride, Director of 350Vermont, “and it’s extremely troubling in light of the fact that there are significant unresolved safety issues with the Addison County natural gas pipeline. The public is at risk because the Public Utility Commission has not completed their investigation. It’s past time to stop building fossil fuel infrastructure”
Vermont Gas is under investigation for allegedly failing to meet safety and construction requirements during the construction of the 41-mile Addison County Natural Gas Pipeline. The investigation includes inquiries into at least 8 different categories of safety violations from the depth of the pipe burial to possible missing infrastructure components.
It has been over 425 days since the Public Utility Commission called for an independent investigation into these possible safety violations, in response to citizen-led investigative work last summer. In April, the scope of the investigation was expanded to include additional safety concerns, but no further progress has been made to date. A status conference with the Public Utility Commission, Vermont Gas, and local landowners involved in the investigation is scheduled for Friday September 21.
Julie Macuga, Extreme Energy Organize for 350VT added, “It’s taken years for the public’s concerns to be considered, even with a mountain of evidence behind them. Now we’re stuck wondering what will happen when tragedy like this strikes Vermont-- who will be held accountable?”
350Vermont is a statewide organization in Vermont working to build a grassroots movement to reverse climate change. 350Vermont’s mission is to organize, educate, and support people in Vermont to work together for climate justice – resisting fossil fuels, building momentum for alternatives, and transforming our communities toward justice and resilience. Although we are an affiliated group of 350.org with a similar mission, 350VT is an independent organization, with local campaigns to bring about solutions to climate change, advocate for a carbon pollution tax, and stop any expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure.
For more information, visit: 350vermont.org