Will Vermont Gas Finish Its Pipeline This Year? It Depends, CEO Says

Jul 18, 2016

Vermont Gas Systems has been saying that the company's pipeline to Addison County will be finished and in service by the end of this year, but now its top executive is expressing doubts about that.

On Monday's Vermont Edition, Vermont Gas CEO Don Rendall said the pipeline will be completed "when we can resolve Geprags Park and have that piece of the puzzle available for us to connect the pipeline from the north and the south."

Geprags Park in Hinesburg is a problem for the company's plans because the property was given to the town on the condition that it only be used for recreational and educational purposes.

A group of citizens is fighting the pipeline there based on a legal precedent that says that lands already dedicated to a certain public use can't be repurposed for a different public use through eminent domain.

In addition to the eminent domain issues, the permit Vermont Gas has to build in wetlands in Geprags Park is incomplete. It was approved by state regulators who didn't double-check the company's representation of the wetlands involved. Now, Vermont Gas will need a new or amended permit to build in the park even if the eminent domain case is resolved in the company's favor.

The eminent domain case is ongoing, and according to Rendall, that case will dictate whether the pipeline is finished this year or not.