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As Pipeline Decision Nears, Residents Set to Vote

As a decision nears on the Addison County pipeline extension, one city will vote on the issue.
VERGENNES, Vt. - Even though the Vergennes City Council officially endorsed the proposed natural gas pipeline extension into Addison County, resident Jeff Margolis wasn't pleased.

"The letter of support they sent the Public Service Board was sent without public comment and I felt this issue was big enough that we should have public comment on this," he said.

Thanks to Margolis, city residents will have the opportunity to vote December 10th on whether to accept, or rescind, the council's support. The vote may be more formality than anything else. The Public Service Board is expected to decide on the project by year's end.

“It’s probably too little too late in terms of the PSB," Margolis concedes.

He’s still motivated. “It’s important to support our neighbors in Monkton and Cornwall," Margolis says.

One group of Monkton residents will take all the support they can get. Right now they feel like they're being misrepresented by Vermont Gas.

Twenty property owners sent a letter to the PSB last month, rejecting Vermont Gas' claims that agreements with landowners were going well.

"We wanted to make sure that the board knew that wasn't the case in Monkton," resident Renee McGuinness says. "Landowners feel a little bit worn out trying to protect their property."

The exact impact to their property remains unclear according to many landowners. Residents also say Vermont Gas is proceeding as though the pipeline is a "done deal,” adding that the company is extremely slow in responding to questions and concerns.

"They just responded last week to a May counter offer I made them," Maren Vasatka of Monkton said. “They make a lot of us feel like everybody is in agreement with the pipeline in Monkton, that everybody is willing to host it, that everyone is negotiating."

Those 20 residents have not yet received a response to their letter to the PSB. We also reached out PSB today and did not hear back. Meantime, a Vermont Gas spokesperson tells us the company is doing everything it can to have timely and respectful conversations with concerned landowners.
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