Meth Scandal in Franklin County: Vermont Gas Does Nobody Favors

(An important topic that deserves our attention, so I moved it “upstairs.” – promoted by Sue Prent)

 Police discovered a Meth lab in the basement of two of the welders working on Vermont Gas’s new natural gas pipeline in Franklin County, VT. Investigations are unearthing evidence that Charles Davis and Dustin Hollis have been cooking and distributing the drugs to other workers as well as supervisors who were allegedly taking the methamphetamine while on the job.

 In a remark clearly indicative of the priorities of Vermont Gas, vice president of operations Marc Teixeira released a statement saying, “We’re obviously disappointed that this would happen. The project is too important.” The project is of utmost importance to Teixeira, that much is abundantly clear.

       The media coverage of this pipeline incited others to express their concerned about the importance of the safety of the people and habitats along the five miles of pipeline from St. Albans to Georgia where this potentially compromised pipe has already been built by C&G before the drug use was uncovered. Vermonters are justifiably angry at this corporation for putting profits before people and endangering communities and ecosystems when the next segment of pipeline is being granted political immunity in many regards under the guise of providing for the “public good.”

       One more group to add to the list of those who’s “public good” would be a whole lot better off without the meddlesome greedy interventions of VGS is the construction workers they employ. These crews are being forced to work 12 hour days, 6 days a week, because of pressure by VGS to make up time and push through as quickly as possible before anyone has time to muster a counter-attack to the obscenities that companies who engage in the extraction and transport of fracked gas commit (in the name of job creation and environmental efficiency, of all things).

            One of the many fundamental problems with Vermont Gas is that they bully everyone else into corners where they have no choice. In an economy where jobs are hard to find, people can’t afford to be choosy about how they earn a living, even if that necessitates finding extreme, dangerous, and illegal methods of getting through the workweek. These men were not dabbling in high-risk substance abuse for fun, they were not doing it because they don’t care about their job; they are not inherently incompetent employees. They were doing it because they needed a job and Vermont Gas set unreasonable demands that no one short of a superhuman could keep up with. Though fear due to potentially faulty welds is entirely justified, reasoning should not be that the crew was negligent. Safety hazards, leaks, and environmental sloppiness and destruction that will surely ensue from this project are byproducts of corporate policy deliberately leaving workers no choice but to rush at the expense of their health and their craftmanship.

      Vermont Gas must rush their processes so carelessly fast in order to keep just ahead of common sense because any amount of logic employed leads to the conclusion that fossil fuels and especially more dangerous and dirty forms such as fracked gas are never a good idea.

If they can’t allow enough time for their workers to keep up without resorting to desperate measures,

If they can’t allow enough time for reasonable negotiations with landowners battling for their rights to choose not to have a demonic river of toxicity leeching from out of their backyard into their family’s drinking water,

If they can’t allow enough time for the very serious and legitimate concerns of the public to be heard and adequately addressed,

 How can they even begin to claim that anything they do is in the name of the “public good?”

For the details of the arrest and bust, here’s the news story on wcax…

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