News Release Rising Tide
20 November 2014
Henry Harris, Rising Tide Vermont, 917.922.5430
Will Bennington, Rising Tide Vermont, 802.734.9642
The trial of Henry Harris, charged with trespassing at Vermont Gas Systems’ (VGS) headquarters in South Burlington on May 27th, ended today with a not guilty verdict. Harris and other members of Rising Tide Vermont blockaded the main entrance of VGS and dropped a massive banner from the roof, demanding the company immediately cancel its plans to build the fracked gas pipeline.
Harris, a volunteer organizer with Rising Tide Vermont, said, “Today, the court ruled in my favor because the jury recognized Vermont Gas and the state of Vermont had no basis in their charges against me. The state’s prosecutor, with pressure from VGS and the Shumlin administration, was attempting to stifle future protests against the fracked gas pipeline and Shumlin’s hypocritical climate and energy policies.”
Since the May 27th protest, hundreds of Vermonters have taken part in rallies, blockades, and an occupation of the Governor’s office to demand an end to the pipeline project. The 64 activists who were arrested at the occupation on October 27th are also facing charges of trespass. “We asked the Governor to revoke his support of the fracked gas pipeline”, said Stuart Blood, 63, an organizer with Keystone Xl Resistance from Thetford Center, “and to recognize the need to ban all new fossil fuel infrastructure, because new fossil fuels move us in the wrong direction.”
Resistance to proposed fossil fuel infrastructure is erupting throughout the country. This week, protesters occupied the US Capitol when the Senate attempted to pass a bill that would have approved the Keystone XL pipeline. In Fitchburg, MA, several hundred people rallied against a proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline that would carry fracked gas across Northern Massachusetts. This month, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in Washington DC was blockaded for a week because of their lack of oversight on fracking projects. “More and more people are recognizing that the risks of climate change are too great to continue to be on the sidelines of this struggle, and they’re rising up to demand a livable future,” said Maeve McBride, 39, coordinator of 350Vermont.
Activists have pledged to continue to obstruct the construction of the pipeline and pursue every avenue to stop the project from being implemented. Organizers also say they’ll continue to mount pressure against the Shumlin administration.