by Sara Sullivan, Rising Tide Vermont, Nov. 20
The trial of Henry Harris, charged with trespassing at Vermont Gas Systems’ (VGS) headquarters in South Burlington on May 27, 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 27 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 Oct. 27 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.”