Lancaster Voters Reject Resolution Against Tar Sands - The Caledonian-Record - St. Johnsbury, VT
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home : top news : top news February 6, 2016

3/13/2014 10:00:00 AM
Lancaster Voters Reject Resolution Against Tar Sands
PHOTO BY DANA GRAY
Lancaster voters raise their voting cards in the town hall Tuesday, supporting one of the articles on their Town Meeting Warrant.
+ click to enlarge

PHOTO BY DANA GRAY

Lancaster voters raise their voting cards in the town hall Tuesday, supporting one of the articles on their Town Meeting Warrant.

PHOTO BY DANA GRAY
Lancaster resident Mark Vincent walks down the center aisle in the town hall Tuesday, after voicing his support for White Mountain Mental Health’s appropriation of $5,921. The article was supported.
+ click to enlarge

PHOTO BY DANA GRAY

Lancaster resident Mark Vincent walks down the center aisle in the town hall Tuesday, after voicing his support for White Mountain Mental Health’s appropriation of $5,921. The article was supported.

DANA GRAY
Staff Writer

LANCASTER--An overwhelming number of fluorescent pink cards raised by townspeople Tuesday night in the town hall signaled a defeat of a tar sands resolution.

Among a moderate turnout of voters, Moderator Jay Riff conducted the town's annual meeting with efficiency. The 30-article warrant was handled in under two hours. Riff reminded those gathered for the meeting as they got started that no matter the differences of opinion they were all neighbors.

One topic that generated debate was the resolution asking Lancaster people to send a unified message of opposition to any plan for the Portland Montreal Pipeline to reverse the current flow and transport tar sands oil through the pipeline. The lengthy resolution warned of potential environmental dangers that could occur if a spill of the tar sands oil occurred along the pipeline, a portion of which crosses through Lancaster. The pipeline was installed in 1941.

Resident Shane Beattie, owner of Beattie Enterprises which does contract work for the pipeline, opened the discussion of the resolution by reading a statement on behalf of the pipeline company. The statement included the company's commitment to the town in terms of property tax payments and communication with property owners near the pipeline and the town's municipal leaders.

"The pipeline prides itself on being a good neighbor and good citizen and resolutions such as this are not only unnecessary, but they also send the wrong message and are counter to a positive working relationship," Beattie read from the statement.

Included in the statement was the company's assertion that there is no plan in place for the immediate future to change anything about the pipeline's current use.

Resident Arlene Allin, who owns property along a section of the pipeline, read her own statement that supported the pipeline's claim that they are a good neighbor. She contrasted the ongoing communication and working relationship with pipeline personnel with people who stand against tar sands flow who she said haven't been so neighborly. She described it as being "invaded by environmental alarmists."




Supporters of the resolution said it was not a statement against the company but a way to draw attention to a serious environmental risk that should not threaten the community without intense scrutiny.

Following the debate, Riff called the question. Lots of pink cards went up to defeat the tar sands resolution.

Another defeat was directed at Tri-County Community Action, a regional outreach agency, that sought a $4,600 appropriation.

After every appropriation request on the Lancaster warrant was read, Riff gave a chance to any representative of the requesting organization to stand and state their case for the money. No one was there from Tri-County, and voters rejected the article after a voter complained that no one was present to explain the need for the $4,600.

There were 12 outside organizations on the warrant seeking appropriations. Only the request from Tri-County failed.

Resident Henrietta Howard had asked fellow townspeople to join her in voting down all the special appropriations in the name of affordable living.

"There are a lot of requests for money in these articles, and we need to say 'no' on every one of these articles in order to save our homes," said Howard.

Voters gave support to their town's public safety departments by supporting a request for a new ambulance and a new fire truck. They also supported a request for $75,000 to build an extension onto the existing transfer station building. The money will come from a reserve fund.

Items on the town's Australian ballot included the election of municipal officers, the selection of executive councilor and an article seeking the creation of a fifth zoning district called the Central Business District. The new district was approved 499 to 243.

The only race on the ballot was for the budget committee. Three spots were available, and there were five candidates. Allan Carr, Joyce McGee and Christopher Parker were top vote-getters over Peter Riviere and Bruce Hutchings.

As in most area towns, the race for executive council was a close one in Lancaster. Joe Kenney edged Michael Cryans 386 to 358.







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