Town to Vote on Pipeline

Published 02/28 2014 06:18PM

Updated 03/04 2014 09:21PM

SHOREHAM, Vt. - There's been much talk about phase one of the Addison County natural gas pipeline expansion into places like Monkton. Now in Shoreham, four town meeting day articles focus on phase two of that expansion.

John Reynolds, who has stunning views from his Shoreham farm, is following the issue closely.

"This is pristine land, and there's a lot of pride and love in Vermont’s landscape," he said.

Phase two of the Vermont Gas pipeline expansion into Addison County would cut right through his 200 year old farmland.

"It's like a big wound, I mean they're going five foot deep," Reynolds says.

Reynolds and other residents have started meeting to discuss the pipeline, which would carry natural gas from the end of phase one in Middlebury, to International Paper in Ticonderoga.

"We feel that it's really wise and prudent to get together, talk it over, share ideas, hear other people's opinions," he said.

Thanks to that group, four town meeting articles will go before voters Tuesday.

"I think the most significant is 'does the voters favor the pipeline,’" selectboard Chair Paul Saenger said.

The other articles ask voters when public hearings over the expansion should be held, and how the selectboard should act.

Like other communities set to be impacted by the pipeline, Shoreham says it does not have too much say in the overall project. Instead, most of that power resides with the Public Service Board. That’s because the PSB decides whether the expansion serves the public good.

Proponents say it does.

Off camera, some neighbors said they were happy the paper mill would be burning cleaner natural gas instead of oil.

Reynolds disagrees.

"I question that, I really sincerely question that. It’s a quick fix," he said.

He says investing in natural gas, over solar or wind, is a setback for the state's green energy goals.

Regardless, difference in opinion is why Reynolds says the articles deserve attention.

"Whatever it is, you have to support it because again, it’s the will of the people. Majority rules."

People both for and against the pipeline do agree on something. They expressed frustration that more Addison County homes wouldn't have access to natural gas, even if the pipeline is built.

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