North Country News
Thu September 12, 2013
Pipeline Hearing Contentious
The Vermont Public Service Board held a hearing on a proposed new natural gas pipeline Tuesday, leading to an at times raucous, tense exchange between opponents and board members.
The Addison Natural Gas Project proposed by Vermont Gas consists of about 43 miles of new pipeline to carry natural gas through Chittenden and Addison counties. There are also about five miles of new distribution lines and new gate stations in Addison County. The Public Service Board held a second public hearing on the plan in Middlebury Tuesday evening. Among the first to speak was Joe Fusco of Casella Waste Systems, who spoke in favor of the pipeline, noting that his company’s trucks have been converted to natural gas.
A series of speakers followed in opposition.
The Public Service Board became angry that opponents lied on their comment cards. Member John Burke said people violated the rules laid out at the beginning of the meeting, which held that speakers were to shift back and forth between proponents and opponents.
Vermont Digger is an online newspaper. Reporter Andrew Stein was at the hearing and describes it as truly rowdy.
Vermonters for a Clean Environment Executive Director Annette Smith says Vermont Gas Systems has in part created an atmosphere of distrust that led to the tension at the meeting.
Addison County Chamber of Commerce President Andy Mayer did comment to the Public Service Board in favor of the pipeline. He says there were organized groups in opposition.
Audio from the public hearing is courtesy of Middlebury Community Television.