*UPDATE* Anti-Fracking Vermont Governor Supports Natural Gas
UPDATE (9/10/2013; 11:11am ET): Governor Shumlin is not the only elected official in Vermont who appreciates the many benefits of natural gas. The mayor of Rutland, Christopher Louras, wrote today in the Burlington Free Press why he feels Rutland and Addison Counties should have the same access to this “more affordable, cleaner and safe option” that 90 percent of those in neighboring counties have had for nearly 50 years. In addition to the new jobs that the proposed Addison Natural Gas Project will bring, Louras also describes the tremendous savings residents and business owners will experience–$720 million over 20 years–and the added bonus of reducing greenhouse emissions by 25 percent for each customer. As Louras put it: “There is no other heating fuel that offers the dual economic and environmental advantages of natural gas.” It just goes to show that everyone can benefit from the development of natural gas – assuming the rest of the country doesn’t take Vermont’s lead in imposing a hypocritical ban on hydraulic fracturing.
–Original Post 9/10/13–
It’s been almost a year since the state of Vermont became the first state to officially ban the practice of hydraulic fracturing. This was an interesting move on the part of Governor Peter Shumlin (D), considering Vermont is located far to the north of the Marcellus and has no known recoverable gas reserves at this time, and by default has no natural gas development occurring. But the irony didn’t stop there.
Mere weeks after banning the practice that allows natural gas to be recovered, the very governor who was so worried about humanity and the need for clean water—and who, by his actions, suggested the state could win economically without natural gas—then was seen celebrating the economic benefits at the groundbreaking of a new compressor station in Milton, Vermont. Care to guess what fuel source the compressor station is running on?
EID covered the ban, as well as the groundbreaking on the natural gas compressor station in a previous post.
Apparently a year was not enough time for the Governor to realize his faux pas, though, as he’s made the news yet again for touting the many benefits of Vermont using natural gas. This time the irony falls in the form of a pipeline.
The Burlington Free Press covered Shumlin’s decision to invest $90 million in expanding the Vermont Gas Systems’ pipeline:
“Shumlin called the project critical to Vermonters who are struggling to pay their energy bills, and that it will create jobs on the western side of the state all the way to Rutland. He said the expanded pipeline will move Vermont from dirty oil to a ‘clean energy supply.’”
Now that we agree natural gas is clean energy and is delivering real economic benefits, perhaps it’s time Gov. Shumlin came to visit the Marcellus and see for himself exactly how those benefits are accruing. Hint: it involves the use of hydraulic fracturing.
Or maybe Gov. Shumlin would prefer to continue to “let the other states be the guinea pigs,” as he described in his 2012 statement on the ban, while Vermont benefits from the activity he ironically opposes.
At the very least Gov. Shumlin should thank those other states for not jumping on the ban wagon Vermont tried to create and putting a halt to the many benefits the state is receiving thanks to natural gas. After all, it’s the work being done by Pennsylvanians, Ohioans, West Virginians and even New Yorkers – despite the state’s own de facto moratorium – that’s creating jobs for Vermonters.