Regulators Deny Vermont Gas Waiver Request

Jun 24, 2014

Update: The Army Corps of Engineers granted Vermont Gas Systems the permit in question, allowing the company to begin construction. Read the full story here.

The Vermont Public Service Board Tuesday denied a request by Vermont Gas Systems that would have allowed the company to proceed with project staging for its pipeline without the requisite permits.

The company filed a motion with the board on June 10 that requested permission to go ahead with deliveries to staging areas in Williston and New Haven, saying that “[d]elaying deliveries to the Williston and New Haven staging areas until later this month will further impact the overall construction schedule and cost” of the planned pipeline.

The June 10 motion also stated that Vermont’s Agency of Natural Resources, Agency of Transportation, Army Corps of Engineers and Department of Public Service offered no objections to the waiver request.

The request sought to move forward with staging without a permit in hand from the Army Corps of Engineers – a permit explicitly required by the Public Service Board’s initial approval of the pipeline project.

The Conservation Law Foundation, the Town of New Haven, the Vermont Fuel Dealers Association and two private citizens wrote the Public Service Board in opposition to the waiver.

Comments against the waiver request mostly hinged on the fact that, as CLF’s comment put it, “the board was aware of the fact that not all permits would be decided at the same time when it required that all permits be in place before the construction began.”

Others said that it was “bad business decisions” on the part of Vermont Gas that led to the delay, and said the waiver could lead to unintended environmental harm if the permitting process was skirted.