Vermont Gas Systems

A Visual History Of The Vermont Gas Pipeline

The plan for the Vermont Gas Systems pipeline project has transformed dramatically over the two years since the company got its first approval from Vermont regulators more than two years ago.

It started as a three-stage development that would bring natural gas from Chittenden County under Lake Champlain to New York, and also south to Rutland; the company's latest plan is a much smaller 41-mile pipeline that ends in Middlebury.

Find an interactive timeline of the project here.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR File Photo

The Vermont Gas Systems pipeline is embroiled in a public controversy as well as a complex and slow-moving regulatory battle. Environmentalists are engaged in a public campaign to defeat the project, claiming that the state should be advancing renewable energy infrastructure, not fossil fuel infrastructure.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR File

Vermont’s utility regulators have announced a new round of hearings in the case of the Vermont Gas Systems pipeline to Addison County. But the timeline of the hearings has the potential to void an agreement between the state and the gas company that's designed to limit the pipeline's impact to ratepayers.

John Dillon / VPR File

Hundreds joined a Saturday demonstration against the Vermont Gas Systems Addison County pipeline outside the state office building that houses Vermont’s utility regulators. A leader in the group says about 20 protestors camped out Saturday and Sunday nights before three were arrested Monday morning.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR

In July of 2014, Maren Vasatka sat with a few other women in the lobby of Vermont Gas Systems’ South Burlington headquarters and started to knit. Vasatka and others in her "knit-in" group promised to stay in the company's lobby until company officials would meet them.

The women were frustrated with how the company was dealing with landowners like themselves along the route of its Addison County pipeline project.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR File

The Vermont Public Service Board held a hearing Thursday morning about a new agreement between Vermont Gas Systems and the Shumlin administration.

Critics of the Vermont Gas pipeline say the agreement to limit the pipeline's cost to ratepayers is being thrown into the process at the last minute to influence the board. 

Taylor Dobbs / VPR File

Vermont Gas Systems and the state’s Department of Public Service announced an agreement today that puts a limit on how much of the cost of its Addison County pipeline Vermont Gas is allowed to pass to ratepayers.

Under the agreement, Vermont Gas is allowed to recover $134 million of the project’s estimated $154 million cost from ratepayers.

Vermont Gas Systems has proposed a 3 percent rate decrease for customers which, if approved, will go into effect Nov. 1.

CEO Don Rendall said Monday that the decrease is the 12th the company has filed for since 2012, and it comes even as the company continues to build a major pipeline into Addison County.

The Public Service Board has hit Vermont Gas Systems with a $100,000 fine for failing to report cost overruns in a timely fashion.

The board concluded that Vermont Gas Systems waited at least six months to report a 41 percent cost overrun in its controversial Addison County pipeline project.

Angela Evancie / VPR File

A new survey from the AARP shows major gaps in public knowledge about the Vermont Gas Systems pipeline to Addison County. It also raises questions about whether the public feels the state department tasked with representing ratepayers has met those obligations.

The Addison County Regional Planning Commission has voted to reaffirm its support of the Vermont Gas Systems pipeline being built into the county.

The 23 to nine vote shows a majority of commissioners are not concerned enough with last year’s cost increases to petition the Vermont Public Service Board to reopen regulatory proceedings.

Click here to read the Addison County Regional Planning Commission's July 1, 2015 minutes.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR File

Vermont utility regulators are taking another look at the Vermont Gas Systems project designed to bring a gas pipeline into Addison County. 

Taylor Dobbs / VPR File

When Vermont Gas canceled the second phase of its pipeline project in February, opponents of the proposed project called it a victory: no pipeline would be going under Lake Champlain to New York.

Some of the same people were disappointed when the Vermont Public Service Board last week dismissed the case without prejudice, meaning Vermont Gas can reapply for the permit.

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.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR File

Vermont Gas Systems has a powerful new opponent in its efforts to build a controversial natural gas pipeline into Addison County. The Vermont chapter of the AARP filed testimony from a Louisiana economist who said his calculations show the project will result in a net loss of almost $200 million over 20 years to the state’s economy.

NG Advantage / Courtesy Photo

Vermont Gas Systems canceled plans in February to run a pipeline under Lake Champlain to an International Paper mill in Ticonderoga, N.Y., but the company’s product is still going to power the plant when it switches to natural gas next month.

Vermont Gas Systems made some changes in its cost estimates related to the company's pipeline from Chittenden County to Addison County, according to the latest filings with regulators, but the total cost of the project seems to have stopped rising. The filing shows a major increase in project management costs, largely offset by savings elsewhere in the project.

The new filing also shows the major costs related to the recently canceled second phase of the pipeline.

Vermont’s Public Service Board is considering a $35,000 fine for Vermont Gas Systems because of the company’s handling of major cost overruns that have raised the estimated cost of the Addison County pipeline by about 80 percent over the past year.

In question is whether Vermont Gas Systems behaved responsibly in developing a new cost estimate last summer. The company knew about the increase as early as last March, but didn’t tell regulators about it until July.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR

Vermont Gas Systems is planning to go ahead with construction on its Addison County pipeline this summer even though the state permit for the project is no longer a sure thing.

On Wednesday, some environmentalists and other opponents of a proposed natural gas pipeline welcomed news that a portion of the project is now canceled due to rising costs.

But not everybody’s happy.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR

Opponents of the Vermont Gas Systems pipeline project are unabashedly celebrating the company’s announcement Tuesday that it will not pursue a pipeline it planned to run under Lake Champlain to a paper mill in New York.