Vermont Gas Alters Pipeline Route, Again
03/05/13 7:04AM By Kirk Carapezza
Vermont Gas has changed the route of the proposed extension of its natural gas pipeline through Addison County.
The company filed a petition last year for a state permit to build a 42-mile pipeline from Colchester to Middlebury.
But officials in Monkton and Hinesburg asked the company to move the route of the pipeline away from town roads to make it safer.
Some people still objected to the route, so Vermont Gas spokesman Steve Wark said the company has changed its proposal, again.
"We've worked very hard with the communities and they provided a lot of communication about moving from the road shoulder into the VELCO corridor," Wark said. "We've worked very hard - to the extent possible - to move back into that corridor."
Wark explained the new route would primarily follow an existing utility line in Monkton, Hinesburg and New Haven.
Opponents have said there will still be houses that are too close to the pipeline. Voters in Monkton will decide on Tuesday whether to spend up to $50,000 to form a legal defense fund to represent the town's interests in the project.
They'll also be asked whether the town select board should issue any road permits for pipelines that cross town roads until residents' concerns about safety are addressed.
Some environmentalists have said cleaner, more efficient natural gas is a bridge fuel to renewable energy. Vermont Gas estimates its expansion project would save people in Addison County more than $200 million over 20 years while reducing carbon emissions.