Letters to the Editor: Pipeline effort not up to snuff

This letter is in response to the Vermont Gas attorneys’ and the Vermont Public Safety Board’s comments regarding the 4-foot permitted versus the actual constructed Vermont Gas pipeline depth.
1.) The permitted 4-foot depth of cover is required to maintain the integrity of the pipeline from the impact of heavy vehicles and to insulate the pipeline from the high-voltage electric lines the pipeline parallels. To say that the permitted, required minimum depth of 4 feet of cover is merely a guideline and not a construction requirement is laughable and false;
2.) For the Vermont Gas attorneys and the Vermont Department of Public Service to state that the areas where the pipeline is buried at less than 4 feet are “a nonsubstantial change — is not material — doesn’t pose a safety problem” is absolutely wrong and actionable.
3.) Vermont Gas and Michaels Construction, at the end of construction, are required to provide surveyed, signed, stamped and sealed “as-built:” construction drawings showing the depth of cover for the entire pipeline at any station along the line;
4.) This begs the question: Where were the pipeline surveyors and inspectors for Vermont Gas during the construction process?
5.) The construction of the pipeline at less than the permitted depth and the final cost of the pipeline at over two times the Vermont Gas projected cost (those extra costs will be absorbed by the unwitting rate payers) can lead to only one conclusion: Whom ever managed this pipeline project for Vermont Gas certainly had little or no experience in pipeline construction. I am not opposed to the pipeline — just to the obvious lack of construction oversight by Vermont Gas. Shame on you.
Claire Cunningham
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