Natural gas pipeline depth investigation continues

VERMONT — The Public Utility Commission continues its investigation of whether Vermont Gas violated its 2013 Certificate of Public Good (CPG) by burying sections of the Addison Natural Gas Project pipeline at depths shallower than four feet at 18 locations in New Haven. The 18 locations are in a wetland along the VELCO right of way.
The PUC began its investigation July 14, and in that same order gave Vermont Gas until Aug. 11 to provide evidence that the pipeline was buried at the required depths along the entirety of its 41-mile route through Addison and Chittenden counties.
On Aug. 4, the Department of Public Service requested that the PUC conduct a public hearing on the matter. Vermont Gas filed evidence seeking to satisfy both inquiries on Aug. 11, and again asked that the PUC make a determination that its shallower-than-agreed-upon burial in the VELCO right of way in New Haven be deemed “non-substantial.” If the PUC finds the shallower depths to be “a material or substantial”  change from the depths certified in the CPG, Vermont Gas could face penalties or be ordered to take remedial action.
Last Monday, the PUC issued a new order that continues the investigation.
In that Aug. 28 order, the regulator allowed Hinesburg residents Lawrence Shelton and Rachel Smolker to join the case along with pipeline opponents Kristin Lyons, and Jane and Nathan Palmer, all of Monkton. All are represented by Bristol attorney James Dumont. Vermont Gas had opposed Shelton’s and Smolker’s joining the proceedings.
The PUC appointed a hearing officer, and gave Shelton, Smolker, Lyons and the Palmers a Sept. 8 deadline to respond to Vermont Gas’s Aug. 11 evidence. Vermont Gas has until Sept. 22 to rebut any comments.

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