It was a full house at the Monkton Fire Department Thursday night. Many residents were fired up over a pipeline project that may run adjacent to many of their front yards.
"I have a new fence, in front of my house. It cost a couple grand. That will go away. There is my well. It's directly in the path of the pipeline, that will be impacted," said Mike Bayer, a Monkton resident whose home is on one of the streets which could see construction.
Vermont Gas is planning to construct a 43 mile pipeline to bring natural gas from Chittenden County to the International Paper mill in Ticonderoga, New York. Nearly eight miles will go through Monkton, five and a half miles of which is a residential area.
The company has already put in for a certificate of public good -- but many residents Thursday night say communication regarding construction has been bad.
"I happen to be a fairly sizeable property owner along that and no one every approached me about it," stated one resident.
Representatives from the company called the meeting both intimidating and humbling.
"I want to start off on the right note. I want to apologize," said Steve Wark of Vermont Gas. "We're here sincerely to try to find a way to solve the problem so we can keep this project on track."
"I think your willingness to receive input from landowners seems a bit late in the process, stated resident Renee McGuinness. She and other residents served Vermont Gas with notices of no trespass on their streets. "These notices against trespass are our statement that we're not willing to cooperate until you move the route," McGuinness added.
They don't want the pipeline near homes, schools or drinking wells.
"I mean, there's not that many people in Monkton. I have to believe that you can find a reasonable path thru the town," explained another resident.
Others, like Mike Bayer, feel the project shouldn't go through their town at all.
"You're going to do a lot of damage to a lot of homes for the purpose of making money somewhere else. And I just don't think that should be allowed, Bayer added."
Vermont Gas officials say they will bring all of Monkton's concerns to state regulators in three weeks.
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