VPR, Vermont’s NPR News Source, recently did a report titled, “Hinesburg Citizens Group Alleges Officials Violated Open Meeting Law” featuring quotes from Global Justice Ecology Project New Voices Speaker Dr. Rachel Smolker. Dr. Smolker has been working to stop a deal between the Hinesburg Select Board and Vermont Gas allowing the company to build its pipeline through the Geprags Park wetland.
Here is an excerpt from the report:
A Hinesburg citizens group opposing the Vermont Gas Systems pipeline filed a complaint Monday alleging that some town officials and company representatives violated Vermont’s open meeting law.
It further alleges that the alleged off-book discussion resulted in an agreement between the town and the Vermont Gas, which was voted through last Thursday.
The Hinesburg Select Board subcommittee meeting held last Wednesday was open to the public, says Rachel Smolker of the Hinesburg citizens group Protect Geprags Park.
“The subcommittee met and then adjourned. And then somebody who happened to be in the room realized that there was ongoing discussion between VGS [Vermont Gas Systems] lawyers, town lawyer and others—after the public had been essentially dismissed and some of the subcommittee members had been essentially dismissed,” says Smolker.
Smolker says that important conversations relevant to the pipeline occurred after the meeting.
“Then the next day, indeed an amendment — that no one from subcommittee who had left at that point was aware of, so this emerged during those after-conversations — came to the table with an amended version of the agreement,” says Smolker.