Opinion: Ticonderoga official backs natural gas pipeline plan

Editor’s note: The Ticonderoga, N.Y., official wrote this letter to Adam Lougee of the Addison County Regional Planning Commission and copied the Independent. Also, the Ticonderoga Town Council on Monday approved a resolution with similar wording as this letter that supports the natural gas pipeline to International Paper and encourages the regional planning commission to do the same.
My name is Bill Grinnell and I serve as the elected supervisor for the town of Ticonderoga. Like Vermonters, we in New York have a high level of interest in the Addison-Rutland Natural Gas Project. As part of the Champlain Valley region that we share, we are keenly interested in the regional economy and the environment. As you review the Addison-Rutland Natural Gas Project, I would ask that you please give due consideration to our mutual interests.
The economic impact of International Paper’s Ticonderoga mill in our region is significant and directly supports 600 jobs at the mill and some 600 individual landowners and loggers who earn their living by providing fiber to the mill, including more than 100 Vermonters. The mill spends more than $3 million on goods and services provided by Vermont businesses, in addition to $2.5 million spent for wood and fiber and over $1 million in wages and benefits paid to Vermonters working at the mill.
The additional economic impact of the Ticonderoga mill in Vermont is more difficult to calculate, but one needs only to see the traffic crossing the Crown Point Bridge from New York to Vermont, to appreciate the commerce from the many International Paper mill employees that flows into Vermont. From shopping to professional service, the impact of the money these employees spend in Vermont is significant. In short, the Ticonderoga mill is a significant economic driver for our entire region.
It is my understanding that Vermont, New York and International Paper share common greenhouse gas reduction goals. Achieve results will be good for all of us in the Champlain Valley and for future generations. The estimated greenhouse gas reduction that will be realized by converting the power boiler and lime kiln at the mill from No. 6 fuel oil to cleaner-burning natural gas is estimated to be between 25-30 percent. Certainly, this is something we need to give important consideration as we look at the benefits of this project.
Lastly, I would urge you to extend the opportunity for me, the Ticonderoga town board and other interested parties in the Champlain Valley region to have a voice in your ongoing discussions about the merits of the Addison-Rutland Natural Gas Project, as cited in the Addison County Regional Planning Commission’s obligation to neighboring communities under Vermont law: http://files.acrpc.org/bylaws/flipbook/#/1. The role of the commission to include the greater region is further articulated in 24 V.S.A. Section 4335a(4).
I will be speaking on behalf of the Addison-Rutland Natural Gas Project with my colleagues on the Essex County (N.Y.) Board of Supervisors at our next meeting and engaging them in advocating for the project based on its significant regional economic and environmental benefits. We will also be engaging in discussions with the Essex County Industrial Development Agency and the North Country Regional Economic Development Council since both of these entities have a vested interest in the economy and future of our region. Please afford us the courtesy to be involved in your ongoing discussions and to have a voice before you decide on your recommendations. In the interest of being inclusive in your proceedings, I respectfully request that the timeline for your commission to vote be extended.
I look forward to working with you on this important regional project.
William Grinnell, Supervisor
Town of Ticonderoga, N.Y.

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