BURLINGTON – Representatives from dozens of fossil fuel companies began arriving in Vermont’s largest city this weekend, including lobbyists from ExxonMobil, BP, and Peabody Energy. They have not applied for a permit with the city of Burlington, but are planning a large counter-protest for Monday afternoon according to internal memos that were leaked to the press on Sunday evening.
The leaked memos that went out to nearly two hundred fossil fuel companies emphasized the need for public action against “Big Solar’s publicity stunt,” which sources say refers to the eclipse happening between 1:24 and 3:53 on Monday afternoon. Employees are urged in the memo to converge on “one of those clean energy states” and to “punch a scientist.”
“Look, I can’t comment on that memo,” says a representative from Arch Coal, an American coal company that, like Peabody, filed for bankruptcy in 2016 but has emerged from chapter 11 and has resumed public trading. “Officially, there was no memo. But unofficially, if big solar is going to act like a baby and blot out the sun for a bit just because they will never be as clean as coal and they need the attention, well, we’re going to make an even bigger statement. And if you’ve seen the news lately, what the American people love is a good counter-protest. So we’re going to shut down that eclipse thing with an even bigger eclipse. You think big solar can blacken the sky? Wait until you see what we can do with a few billion tons of coal.”
As of early Monday morning, counter-protesters had already begun arriving outside the offices of the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation on Lakeside Avenue with signs reading “So-Lame Eclipse,” and “The Moon Can’t Stop Oil.” When asked by police about a permit, one counter-protester shouted “Show me the sun’s permit!” We have reached out to the mayor’s office and are awaiting a response. Until the situation is properly under control, the Burlington Police Department is advising all scientists to steer clear of the area between Pine Street and Lake Champlain.