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Final Hearing on VT Gas Pipeline Tuesday

The public has one last chance to sway the opinion of the Vermont Public Service Board Tuesday in Middlebury.

Tomorrow may be the last chance for people to weigh on a controversial gas pipeline.

 

Vermont Gas Systems has proposed a line from Colchester to Middlebury. A final public hearing is set for tomorrow in Middlebury.

 

There are many issues at the center of this debate whether it's the environment, property rights or affordability.

 

Monkton resident Nate Palmer has concerns about several of those.

 

“The pipe will actually probably be somewhere right along here,” Palmer said pointing toward an area a little more than one hundred yards from his home.

 

Palmer has lived in his Monkton farm home for 17 years, undisturbed until he got a call from Vermont Gas Systems about putting their pipeline project through his property.

 

“I said no it's not feasible. It's nothing I want. It's nothing I want to deal with,” Palmer said.

 

Now Palmer says he's been fighting to get the project moved because he's concerned how the pipeline would affect his organic farm. He says he also finds the natural gas, which comes from fracking, environmentally unfriendly.

 

But he says he hasn't seen Vermont Gas budge.

 

“Oh we'll put the pipeline through and when we're done you'll forget it's there,” Palmer says Vermont Gas told him.

 

“They're damaging your soil.”

 

Vermont Gas says the impact of their plan is minimal, that its environmental cost is less than oil and it's affordability is undeniable.

 

“It’s significant. Natural gas prices are running 44 percent less than fuel oil,” spokesperson Steve Wark said.

 

Wark says the 43-mile long pipeline would carry natural gas to Addison county customers for the first time.

 

Opinions both against and for the pipeline have been widely discussed. But Tuesday will be the last chance to share those opinions with the people who will make the final decision.

 

“It'll be an interesting balance of discussion,” Wark said.

 

“I don't think there are any new issues out there that anybody will see pop up.”

 

Palmer says he just wants to make sure the issue stays in the public conscious.

 

“Hey folks think about what's going on this is a lot bigger than you're realizing.”

 

The public service board hearing will be 7 PM Tuesday at the Middlebury Union Middle School.

 

The public service board's technical hearings on deciding to grant a permit to Vermont Gas begin next Monday.

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