The US Army Corps of Engineers has granted Vermont Gas the final permit necessary to begin construction of Phase 1 of the Addison Rutland Natural Gas Project. “This final permit from the Army Corps of Engineers makes it possible for Vermont Gas to begin the work to bring the economic and environmental benefits of natural gas to more Vermont homeowners and businesses,” said Eileen Simollardes, vice president at Vermont Gas and director of the Addison Rutland Natural Gas Project. Vermont Gas plans to move forward with delivery of materials to its staging areas and the South Burlington-based natural gas utility plans to hold a groundbreaking ceremony in the near future.
The delay in receiving the permit had put of the start of the project from June 1. The Public Service Board had rejected a request from Vermont Gas to move ahead with the initial phase of the pipeline project before it had received the Army Corps permit.
The Vermont Gas Systems staging area at the former driving range in Williston. VBM photo.
The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources had previously issued the required state environmental permits. Vermont Gas stated that complying with the terms of the various environmental permits will ensure that the project is constructed in a manner that will best protect natural resources, including wetlands.
Vermont Gas has contracted with Vermont-based ECI to perform 17 horizontal directional drills (HDD) to avoid areas of environmental and archeological sensitivity.
Vermont Gas has stated that the development of the Addison Rutland Natural Gas Project will help residents and local businesses cut their energy bills about 50 percent, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and keep and create more good jobs. VGS stated that natural gas is safer, cleaner and is about half the cost of the propane or fuel oil used by most Vermonters, and it supports many of the community and economic development goals shared by organizations across the region. Vermont Gas ultimately wants to extend the pipeline to the Ticonderoga (NY) paper plant.
Phase 1 of the Addison Natural Gas Project, which received its Certificate of Public Good from the Vermont Public Service Board in December, will transport natural gas from Colchester to Middlebury. If approved by the Public Service Board, Phase 2 will deliver natural gas to parts of Middlebury, Cornwall and Shoreham, and then to the International Paper Mill in Ticonderoga, N.Y. By extending natural gas service to the mill, Vermonters will save about $45 million of the cost to bring natural gas to Rutland by 2020 – 15 years sooner than otherwise would be possible – and help keep good-paying jobs in the region, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve regional air quality throughout the Champlain Valley.
Vermont Gas serves almost 50,000 customers in Franklin and Chittenden counties and is currently working to expand service into Addison and Rutland counties through the Addison Rutland Natural Gas Project. www.addisonrutlandnaturalgas.com.