Protest At Vermont Gas Heats Up

By Megan Carpenter |

Published 05/27 2014 08:18PM

Updated 05/27 2014 08:44PM

SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt.- On Tuesday, 20 protestors from Rising Tide Vermont and stood up against a proposed fracked gas pipeline.  Their rally outside of Vermont Gas in South Burlington began peacefully.

"The construction of new fossil fuel infrastructure like the proposed fracked gas pipeline is the exact opposite direction of where we need to be going," says Rising Tide Vermont Volunteer Sara Mehalick, 31.

Mehalick chained herself to the Vermont Gas front doors, blocking the entrance.  While other protestors were helping her, an employee was heading in to work.

South Burlington police say that worker, whose name is not being released, was pushed and hit on the arm with the chain.

No charges have been filed in connection with that assault, but police arrested Mehalick after she refused to take off her chains.  She's been charged with unlawful trespassing and will appear in court.  

Vermont Gas says it did not know this protest was going to take place.

"We're disappointed that it evolved to this, but we still respect the voices that are out there," says Spokesman Steve Wark.

South Burlington police say they responded to the scene shortly after 8 a.m. and left just before one.  Though they say this incident required police attention, it took 12 of their officers off the streets.

"We all suited up today and were out on this, so it encompassed the entire day shift for a good four or five hours," says Detective Ron Bliss.

Protestors also tried to hang a banner from the roof of Vermont Gas.  The company confiscated it.  Phase One of the pipeline project has been approved, which would run from Colchester to Middlebury.

Phase Two from Middlebury to Ticonderoga is under consideration.  Phase Three is undergoing  planning.  It would run from Middlebury to Rutland.

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