Vermont Gas Eminent Domain Cases On Hold Until Pipeline's Fate Decided

May 13, 2015

Regulators have decided not to go forward with eminent domain proceedings related to two properties in Monkton because of continuing uncertainty about the future of the Vermont Gas Systems pipeline to Addison County.

In dual orders with nearly identical language, the Public Service Board opened a new docket for each eminent domain case filed in early April, then immediately delayed all proceedings.

“At this time, it is not known what the result of the proceedings on remand in Docket 7970 [the Addison pipeline docket] will be; the possible outcomes include that the Board could affirm, modify, or revoke the CPG that was issued in Docket 7970,” both board rulings said. “Thus, we have taken the step of opening this docket today in response to the condemnation petition filed by VGS [Vermont Gas Systems], but we are simultaneously staying this docket until such time as a final order has been issued  in the remand proceedings that are now underway in Docket 7970.”

The board is in the process of deciding whether to reopen regulatory proceedings related to the pipeline over two major cost increases announced last year.

When the PSB approved the pipeline project, the company estimated its cost at $87 million. At that time, the board decided the pipeline would result in economic gains for the state. Cost increases have changed the math around the project, and now estimates differ on whether or not it is in the state’s best interest.

The board is expected to rule this summer on whether to reopen the case. Vermont Gas officials have said they plan to press on with construction even though the project’s regulatory approval is no longer a sure thing.