Vermont Gas requests permit waiver to speed construction

ADDISON COUNTY — Vermont Gas Systems has asked the Vermont Public Service Board to waive one of the conditions of the Certificate of Public Good for Phase I of the Addison-Rutland Natural Gas project.
The waiver would permit Vermont Gas to begin construction on Phase I of the pipeline without securing all the necessary state and federal permits, which the December 2013 Certificate of Public Good mandates.
In a motion sent to the Public Service Board June 10, the utility said it had still not received permits from the Army Corps of Engineers, and did not expect to until “later this month.”
Vermont Gas said that waiver will allow the company to move materials and equipment to staging areas in New Haven and Williston, and prevent delays to the project.
“VGS is in the process of mobilizing to commence construction, and as part of that activity is preparing for deliveries of equipment and materials at the New Haven and Williston materials staging areas/pipe yards,” the company wrote in its motion.
The company argued that the staging areas are not subject to Army Corps of Engineers jurisdiction.
“Project mobilization for these staging areas has already been delayed from the original anticipated May 1, 2014, start date due to the delay in issuance of the permits,” the company wrote.
Reached for comment Wednesday, Vermont Gas spokesman Steve Wark said the company is seeking the waiver only to be able to move equipment to the staging areas. He said Vermont Gas will not do any work in areas that are under the jurisdiction of the Army Corps of Engineers permits that have yet to be issued.
The company stated in its motion that the Agency of Natural Resources, the Vermont Agency of Transportation, the Army Corps of Engineers and Pubic Service Department have no objection to the waiver.
Vermont Gas asked the Public Service Board to grant the waiver as soon as possible, and said that delaying the project further would “further impact the overall construction schedule and cost.”
Wark said he remains optimistic that contractors will break ground on the project this month.

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