Pipeline hearing set for June 12 at MUHS

MIDDLEBURY — The Vermont Public Service Board will hold its second and final hearing on the proposed Phase II of the Addison Rutland Natural Gas Project on Thursday, June 12, beginning at 7 p.m. at the Middlebury Union High School auditorium.
The June 12 hearing follows an initial public gathering held in Shoreham on May 7. A majority of the dozens of people who spoke at that hearing urged the PSB to deny a Certificate of Public Good to Vermont Gas Systems to put in a pipeline that would funnel natural gas from Middlebury, through Cornwall and Shoreham, under Lake Champlain to the International Paper mill in Ticonderoga, N.Y. The pipeline plan has generated much opposition from environmentalists and homeowners whose property would be affected by the project.
Opponents have raised concerns about the potential danger to neighborhoods should there be a pipeline leak or explosion. They have also objected to the notion that at least some of the Canadian natural gas that would flow through the conduit will have been procured using hydraulic fracturing, a technique through which high-pressure water and chemicals are used to extract pockets of gas from underground.
The Shoreham hearing also drew some supporters of the project, some of them representing International Paper workers, as well as economic development officials from the Moriah, N.Y., and Ticonderoga, N.Y., communities, who argued the pipeline would be key in preserving and growing jobs in the region. Rutland business owners and officials have made the same argument, as the Phase II project would generate revenues to enable Vermont Gas to extend the pipeline more quickly to Rutland County. International Paper would pay the estimated $70 million costs of the Phase II pipeline.
Along with IP, the Phase II pipeline would also offer natural gas service to a few of the more densely populated areas of Cornwall and Shoreham.
The PSB has already approved Vermont Gas’s Phase I pipeline that will extend from Colchester to Middlebury.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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