Quantcast

YCQM: Aug 4, 2013 - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

YCQM: Aug 4, 2013

Posted: Updated:
BURLINGTON, Vt. -

>> Announcer: FROM VERMONT'S MOST TRUSTED NEWS SOURCE, WCAX BRINGS YOU YOUR NEWSMAKERS, YOUR NEIGHBORS. THIS IS "YOU CAN QUOTE ME."

>>> GOOD MORNING, EVERYONE. THANKS FOR JOINING US. I'M KRISTEN CARLSON. ON THIS EDITION OF "YOU CAN QUOTE ME," WE'RE FOCUSING ON NATURAL GAS. DON GILBERT IS THE PRESIDENT OF VERMONT GAS. JOINING THE QUESTIONING IS DEANNA LeBLANC WHO COVERS A LOT OF THESE MEETINGS.

>> I'VE COVERED PLENTY. THANK YOU FOR JOINING US. ARE YOU SURPRISED IN THIS ADDISON NATURAL PIPELINE PROJECT, AT THE PUSHBACK YOU'VE BEEN RECEIVING FROM THE RESIDENTS IN ADDISON COUNTY?

>> I HAVE TO SAY WE'VE HAD SUCH SUPPORT IN FRANKLIN AND CHITTENDEN COUNTY THAT I AM A LITTLE SURPRISED. WE'VE BEEN SERVING CUSTOMERS UP THERE FOR 50 YEARS AND THE CUSTOMERS APPRECIATE THE FACT THAT IT'S A CLEANER FUEL, SO AS WE'VE GONE IN THE NEW COMMUNITIES IN ADDISON COUNTY, AS WE WORK OUR WAY TOWARDS RUTLAND, WE HAVE FOUND A NEED TO SPEND MORE TIME HELPING PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THE BENEFITS THAT THE CUSTOMERS IN CHITTENDEN AND FRANKLIN COUNTY HAVE ENJOYED FOR ALMOST 50 YEARS.

>> WHAT ARE THOSE BENEFITS?

>> THERE ARE A NUMBER OF THEM. CERTAINLY PRICE IS ONE. NATURAL GAS IS ROUGHLY 50% LESS THAN THE COST OF OIL OR PROPANE. SO TYPICALLY, WE SEE, AS WE GO INTO A NEW COMMUNITY, THE HOMES THERE WILL SAVE, WE'VE SEEN SAVINGS AS MUCH AS $2,000 A YEAR. SOME EVEN MORE. IT ALL DEPENDS ON HOW MUCH ENERGY THEY USE. SO THE PRICE SAVINGS IS A HUGE FACTOR THERE. ALSO, THE ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFIT. NATURAL GAS IS A CLEANER FUEL, 23% CLEANER THAN OIL AND SO BY CUSTOMERS CONVERTING OVER TO NATURAL GAS, THEY CAN REDUCE THE GREENHOUSE GASES THEY EMIT. BUT THERE ARE OTHER THINGS TOO. THEY REALLY APPRECIATE THE SAFETY, THE RELIABILITY OF NATURAL GAS. ONCE YOU HAVE A NATURAL GAS PIPELINE CONNECTED TO YOUR HOME, YOU NO LONGER HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT THE DELIVERIES OF FUEL, RUNNING OUT OF FUEL. YOU ELIMINATE THE NEED FOR TRUCK DELIVERIES AND THEN OUR EFFICIENCY PROGRAM, SO THEY REALLY APPRECIATE THE FACT WE OFFER EFFICIENCY PROGRAMS WHICH THE OIL AND PROPANE DEALERS DON'T PROVIDE.

>> I WANT TO PICK UP ON SOMETHING YOU SAID YOU NOUN STIRRED QUITE A BIT OF CONTROVERSY. YOU USED THE TERM CLEANER FUEL. YOU RECENTLY PENNED AN ARTICLE THAT YOU SAID CUSTOMERS CAN REDUCE GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS 26%. THAT DREW A LOT OF IRE FROM THE OPPOSITE SIDE THAT SAID IT DOES NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT ALL THE GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS FROM THE GROUND IN A PROCESS SOME CALL FRACKING. WHAT DO YOU SAY TO THOSE OPPONENTS WHO VICE VOICED A -- VOICED A LOT OF CONCERN OVER WHAT YOU WROTE.

>> I HAVE SEEN THE CONCERN. THE LINTILHAC FOUNDATION HAVE DONE AN ANALYSIS, WENT THROUGH A VERY THOROUGH REGULATORY PROCESS AND IT'S CLEAR THAT ANALYSIS DIDN'T DO THE ENTIRE ANALYSIS BACK TO THE WELLHEAD THAT THEY REFER TO THE LOIF CYCLE ANALYSIS. WE'VE DONE THAT, HAD AN INDEPENDENT CONSULTANT EVALUATE NATURAL GAS AND CONFIRMED WHAT WE CALL EXPECTED, WHICH WAS THAT NATURAL GAS IS TRULY A CLEANER FUEL, ABOUT 23% CLEANER THAN OIL, AND THAT'S TAKING INTO CONSIDERATION ALL THE EMISSIONS. YOU HAVE TO TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION THAT THERE'S CERTAIN EMISSIONS FROM PRODUCTION TO THE USAGE OF THE FUEL, BUT ON THE OIL SIDE, YOU HAVE PRODUCTION, REFINEMENT, THE TRUCKING AND TRANSPORTATION, SO THERE ARE ADDITIONAL EMISSIONS AND WHEN YOU PUT THOSE ALL TOGETHER AND COMPARE THEM, NATURAL GAS CLEARLY COMES OUT AT THE CLEANER FUEL.

>> SO YOU'RE ADMITTING THERE'S A LOT OF GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS WITH NATURAL GAS AT THE BEGINNING OF IT, THAT EQUALSIZES OUT -- EQUALIZES OUT TOWARD THE LIFE OF THE PRODUCT, YOU'RE SAYING.

>> WELL, IN ALL FUEL PRODUCTION, THERE'S SOME EMISSIONSES THAT ARE A RESULT -- THAT RESULT THROUGH THE PROCESS, SO YES, THERE ARE SOME. HOWEVER, WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE OVERALL BENEFIT, IT'S A CLEANER FUME AT THE BURNER TIP AND WE TAKE -- CLEANER FUEL AT THE BURNER TIP AND WE TAKE THAT INTO CONSIDERATION AND TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION THAT IT ACTUALLY HAS FAIRLY LOW LEVELS OF EMISSIONS ALONG THE PRODUCTION PROCESS. IT IS CLEARLY A CLEANER FUEL.

>> PEOPLE WHO FAVOR THE FUEL SAY THIS IS A GREEN PRODUCT AND ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS HAVE A LOT OF CONCERNS ABOUT HOW THAT'S BEING CHARACTERIZED. VERMONT YANKEE CALLS ITSELF A GREEN FUEL AND ENVIRONMENTALISTS SAY THIS IS NOT A CLEAN FUEL. IS THERE SOMETHING THAT YOU THINK WILL EVER BE AGREEMENT ON THIS, OR HOW THE NATURAL GAS IS EXTRACTED IS SO CONTROVERSIAL THAT THERE WON'T BE AGREEMENT?

>> I THINK WE'RE SEEING SOME OF THE CONTROVERSY REDUCED AS THERE ARE CLAIMS AND CONCERNS ABOUT EMISSIONS IN THE PRODUCTION PROCESS, THE EPA HAS EVALUATED THOSE AND RECENTLY THERE HAVE BEEN A COUPLE OF REPORTS THAT HAVE CONFIRMED THAT THERE ARE NOT THE TYPES OF ISSUES THAT HAVE BEEN CLAIMED. SO I EXPECT WE'LL MOVE MORE TOWARDS AGREEMENT. HOWEVER, THERE ARE ALWAYS GROUPS THAT ARE VERY PASSIONATE ABOUT ONE FORM OF ENERGY OVER ANOTHER, SO I DON'T KNOW THAT WE'LL ALL COME INTO AGREEMENT. WHAT I BELIEVE IS THERE'S A REAL OPPORTUNITY HERE WITH NATURAL GAS TO COMPLEMENT THE DEVELOPMENT OF OTHER TYPES OF FUELS. WE'RE SEEING REAL INTEREST IN VERMONT IN DEVELOPING RENEWABLE ENERGY. NATURAL GAS CAN DO THAT. ONE OF THE THINGS WE'RE DOING IS WORKING ON DEVELOPING BIOMETH TANE IN SUPPORTING MIDDLEBURY COLLEGE AND A DEVELOPER DOWN THERE AND UTILIZING METHANE FROM A FARM ABOUT SEVEN MILES SOUTH OF THE COLLEGE, BRINGING THAT TO THE COLLEGE, SO THERE'S AN EXAMPLE OF WHERE OUR INTERESTS ALIGN AND WE'RE WORKING TOGETHER.

>> NOW, YOU MENTIONED A FEW MINUTES AGO A SAFER OPTION AND A NEW STUDY CAME OUT IN MASSACHUSETTS CALLED AMERICA PAYS FOR GAS LEAKS, AND IT WAS PRESENTED BY SENATOR ED MARKEY IN MASSACHUSETTS AND MORE THAN 65 PEOPLE INJURED, 116 PEOPLE KILLED, $800 MILLION NATIONALLY IN PROPERTY DAMAGE AND BEING IN CORNWALL AND HEINZ BURY AS A REPORTER COVERING THE RESIDENTS, THAT'S A BIG CONCERN, IS HOW SAFE IS THIS?

>> VERY SAFE. YOU CAN LOOK AT THE RECORD UP IN FRANKLIN AND CHITTENDEN COUNTY FOR ABOUT 50 YEARS NOW. LET ME TELL YOU HOW VERMONT IS DIFFERENT. THIS IS A SIGNIFICANT FACTOR HERE. IN THOSE CASES YOU'RE REFERRING TO IN MASSACHUSETTS IN PARTICULAR, THEY HAVE OLD SYSTEMS. THE GAS INDUSTRY HAS BEEN IN OPERATION OVER 100 YEARS. THERE WERE MANUFACTURED GAS SITES AT SOME OF THE CITIES AROUND NEW ENGLAND AND THERE WAS ONE IN BURLINGTON AND WHEN VERMONT GAS WAS CREATED BACK IN 1965, WE BOUGHT AN OLD SYSTEM FROM A MANUFACTURED GAS SITE DOWN IN BURLINGTON. AND IT'S THE SAME TYPE OF THING THAT WE SEE IN MASSACHUSETTS. OLD SYSTEMS THAT, IN THAT CASE, THEY'RE CONTINUING TO USE OLD PIPES AND THEY HAVEN'T REPLACED THEM. IN VERMONT, WE'RE AHEAD OF THE CURVE, WAY AHEAD. WE HAVE REPLACED ALL THE OLD PIPING, THE STEEL AND CAST IRON. WE HAVE A STATE-OF-THE-ART RR MODERN SYSTEM THAT WE TAKE GREAT PRIDE IN THAT. I WISH I COULD TAKE CREDIT FOR IT, BUT A FORMER CEO INITIATED THAT BACK IN THE '80s, BUT AS A RESULT, WE HAVE A MORE MODERN, SAFER SYSTEM BECAUSE OF THE NEW PIPING THAT WE HAVE PUT IN, AND AS A RESULT, YOU SEE LESS EMISSIONS FROM OUR SYSTEM. THE MAINTENANCE COST IS LOWER. EVERYONE BENEFITS FROM THAT, SO IT'S A GREAT EXAMPLE OF WHAT CAN BE DONE.

>> WHAT ABOUT THE -- AND AGAIN GOING BACK TO MASSACHUSETTS, $1.5 BILLION IN THE PAST TEN YEARS HAS BEEN SORT OF LOST, GAS GOING THROUGH THIS PIPE, JUST NOT GETTING TO THE HOME. THEY'RE PAYING FOR IT TO BE PUSHED THROUGH AND BECAUSE OF, YOU SAY OLD SYSTEMS, THE GAS THE SORT OF EXITING THE POP BEFORE IT GETS TO THE -- EXITING THE PIPE BEFORE IT GETS TO THE HOME AND THE HOMEOWNER IS STILL PAYING FOR IT. WILL THIS SYSTEM IN VERMONT PREVENT THESE EXTRA COSTS?

>> IT ALREADY HAS. THE FACT THAT WE HAVE PUT IN NEW PIPING AND WE HAVE A MOD DRN, SAFE SYSTEM, HAS PAID DIVIDENDS FOR EVERYONE. THE CONSUMER SEES LOWER COSTS AND ENVIRONMENTALLY IT'S BETTER. WHEN WE GO TO NEW ENGLAND REGULATORY CONFERENCES AND WE LISTEN TO IT, VERMONT IS USED AS AN EXAMPLE OF WHAT CAN BE DONE AND THE FACT THAT WE'RE WAY AHEAD IN DEVELOPING A VERY SAFE, MODERN SYSTEM. I BELIEVE WE'LL SEE THAT DEVELOPMENT AS WELL IN OTHER STATES LIKE NAH.

>> WERE YOU SURPRISED -- LIKE MASSACHUSETTS.

>> WERE YOU SURPRISED BY THIS REPORT THEN? I THINK FOR A LOT OF PEOPLE, IT DID COME UP AS A SURPRISE THAT TENS OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF FUEL NEVER REACHES THE CUSTOMER.

>> I GUESS I WOULDN'T CHARACTERIZE IT AS SURPRISE. I WAS AWARE THAT SOME OTHER STATES HAVEN'T MADE THE KIND OF INVESTMENTS THAT VERMONT HAS TO ASSURE THAT WE HAVE A VERY TIGHT, MODERN SYSTEM.

>> SO HOW OLD ARE THE LINES IN MASSACHUSETTS AND HOW OLD ARE THE LINES IN VERMONT?

>> WELL, I DON'T KNOW SPECIFICALLY DATES, BUT I KNOW THAT THERE ARE SYSTEMS THAT HAVE BEEN OVER 100 YEARS OLD THAT HAVE BEEN UP AND OPERATING. OUR SYSTEM, AGAIN, WE STARTED TO REPLACE ALL OF OUR PIPING BACK IN THE MID '80s, AND BY THE MID '90s, HAD REPLACED ALL OF THAT PIPING. THE TRANSMISSION PIPE -- YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND --

>> HOW OLD IS THE TRANSMISSION PIPE.

>> WE PUT THAT BACK IN THE MID '60s. WE MAINTAIN THE PIPELINES, WE MAKE SURE THE PIPING IS MAINTAINED IN A MANNER THAT WE DON'T HAVE ANY CORROSION AND WE EXAMINE OUR PIPE REGULARLY. WE HAVE A NUMBER OF PROGRAMS TO EXAMINE AND MAINTAIN IT AND WE HAVE SEEN, WHEN YOU TAKE A PIECE OF OUR PIPE OUT THAT WAS PUT IN IN THE '60s, IT ALMOST LOOKS LIKE A NEW PIECE OF PIPE, SO THERE'S MAINTENANCE PROGRAMS THAT ASSURE THAT THESE OPERATE AND ARE AS GOOD AS FLEW.

>> SO WHEN LOOKING AT THE MAINTENANCE OF THESE PIPES, MOST OF THEM HAVE BEEN HERE SINCE THE MID '90s, THE TRANSMISSION PIPE AROUND 1965 OR SO, WHEN DO YOU THINK THOSE WOULD NEED TO BE REPLACED OR BECAUSE OF THE UPKEEP, YOU'RE SAYING YOU JUST KEEP IT IN PLACE AND UPKEEP IT AND THERE'S NOTHING TO REPLACE 1997.

>> WITH PROPER MAINTENANCE AS WE'RE DOING, YOU DON'T NEED TO REPLACE THEM. YOU JUST CONTINUE TO MAINTAIN THEM.

>> HOW CAN YOU BE SO CONFIDENT?

>> I CAN SHOW YOU A PIECE OF OUR PIPE AND SHOW YOU WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE. IT'S BECAUSE OF THAT CONSTANT MONITORING AND INSPECTION AND MAINTENANCE PROGRAM THAT WE HAVE THAT GIVES ME THE CONFIDENCE THAT THESE PIPES ARE SAFES A SOUND.

>> 100% SAFE? IS THERE NO ZERO CHANCE THAT THERE COULD BE AN EXPLOSION, ZERO CHANCE THAT PEOPLE ARE GOING TO PAY FOR NATURAL GAS THAT NEVER REACHES THEIR HOME OR JUST LESS OF A CHANCE?

>> ALL ENERGY SOURCES HAVE SOME ISSUES AND NATURAL GAS, THE IMPORTANT THING IS TO MAINTAIN A SAFE AND TIGHT SYSTEM, AND THAT'S WHAT WE DO. SO I CAN'T SAY THAT THERE'S ZERO CHANCE. WHAT I CAN TELL YOU IS NATURAL GAS, THE TRANSMISSION OF FUEL USING PIPELINE SYSTEMS LIKE NATURAL GAS IS THE SAFEST FORM OF TRANSMISSION THAT WE HAVE. BUT THR NO GUARANTEES AND I TAKE GREAT PRIDE IN WHAT OUR COMPANY HAS DONE TO MAINTAIN A VERY SAFE, RELIABLE SYSTEM, AND THE ONGOING PROGRAMS THAT WE HAVE IN PLACE.

>> VERMONT GAS HAS OPERATED PRETTY QUIETLY UP UNTIL A FEW YEARS AGO BEFORE THE EXPANSION. WHY THIS PUSH FOR SO MUCH EXPANSION RIGHT NOW?

>> IT'S REALLY BECAUSE VERMONTERS ARE ASKING FOR IT. WE HAVE, FOR ALMOST 50 YEARS, BEEN SERVING CUSTOMERS UP IN CHITTENDEN AND FRANKLIN COUNTY AND THEY HAVE ENJOYED SIGNIFICANT BENEFITS AS WE TALKED ABOUT EARLIER. MORE VERMONTERS WANT THAT. WE'RE FINDING THAT THEY'RE SEEING THE FACT THAT NATURAL GAS IS 50% LESS -- THEY CAN SAVE $2,000. THEY LIKE THE EFFICIENCY PROGRAMS. THEY WANT THAT IN OTHER COMMUNITIES. YOU KNOW, WE WENT INTO THE TOWN OF JERRICO BACK IN 2008 AND IT WAS ONE OF THE FIRST COMMUNITIES WE WENT INTO THAT HADN'T HAD NATURAL GAS SERVICE AND WE WERE KIND OF RELUCTANT. WE WEREN'T SURE HOW THAT WAS GOING TO GO. WE THOUGHT WE MIGHT GOOD 200, 250 CUSTOMERS, WE HAD 450 CUSTOMERS SIGN UP THE FIRST YEAR AND WE'RE NOW SERVING 600 CUSTOMERS IN THAT COMMUNITY. THOSE CUSTOMERS ARE SAVING $1.2 MILLION A YEAR AND THE GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS OF 1200 TONS LESS WE ARE YEAR AND THOSE ARE THE KIND OF BENEFITS THAT OTHERS HAVE SEEN IN OTHER COMMUNITIES AND ASKED US TO EXPAND TO OTHER COMMUNITIES.

>> YOU'RE SAYING THIS IS PURELY BASED ON THE RESPONSE, CUSTOMERS SAYING, HEY, WE WANT IT, SO WHEN YOU GO INTO A COMMUNITY LIKE CORNWALL THAT IS GOING TO BE ON THE LINE, YOU DON'T WANT TO CONVERSELY --

>> THERE ARE SOME PEOPLE THAT SAY THEY DON'T WANT IT. I CAN TELL YOU FROM THE OPEN HOUSES WE HAVE DOWN THERE, THERE ARE MANY THAT DO. WE'RE LOOKING AT PROVIDING SERVICE IN THAT COMMUNITY TO 60 OR 70 HOMES. IT'S A FAIRLY SMALL COMMUNITY. WE CAN SAVE THEM $120,000 A YEAR. THEY'RE LOOKING AT $240,000 OF TAX BENEFIT TO THAT TOWN AND THE PIPELINE IN THAT COMMUNITY, WE'RE ONLY LOOKING AT CROSSING EIGHT LANDOWNERS' PROPERTY.

>> IN CORNWALL.

>> IN CORNWALL.

>> WHAT ABOUT IN HINDS BURG AND MONKTON.

>> THERE ARE MORE LAND OWNERS AS WE GO THROUGH THOSE COMMUNITIES, BUT WHAT WE'RE FINDING IS THESE COMMUNITIES, THEY REALLY WANT NATURAL GAS SERVICE. PROBABLY ONE OF THE BIGGEST CONCERNS AND ISSUES I HAVE TO DEAL WITH THE THOSE PEOPLE THAT WANT NATURAL GAS SERVICE THAT I CAN'T JUSTIFY PROVIDING SERVICE TORQUE BUT THESE COMMUNITIES REALLY WANT IT AND IN MOST CASES, THE CONCERNS THAT ARE EXPRESSED UP FRONT, WE'RE ABLE TO WORK THROUGH AND HELP TO SHOW THEM WHAT WE'RE DOING IN CHITTENDEN AND FRANKLIN COUNTY AND WHY THIS HAS BEEN SO BENEFICIAL. FOR EXAMPLE, IN MONKTON, WE RECENTLY REACHED AGREEMENT WITH THEM. THEY REALLY WANTED SERVICE, THEY HAD CONCERNS EARLY ON AS WE WORKED WITH THEM, WE REACHED AGREEMENT.

>> WE'RE GOING TO TAKE A BRIEF BREAK. WE'RE CONTINUING TO TALK ABOUT NATURAL GAS, ITS IMPACT AND [ Male Announcer ] WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOUR LOCAL Subway TURNS A TASTY ENCHILADA INTO A MUY BUENO SANDWICH? THE NEW Crunchy Chicken Enchilada Melt! SHREDDED CHICKEN IN ENCHILADA SAUCE, A BUNCHA CRUNCHY Fritos AND MELTY CHEESE. COME AND GET IT WHILE YOU CAN! Subway. EAT FRESH.

>>> WELCOME BACK, EVERYONE. WE'RE TALKING WITH DON GILBERT, THE PRESIDENT OF VERMONT GAS, TALKING ABOUT THE PROPOSED PIPELINE AND THE MIXED REACTIONS THEY ARE GETTING. THIS IS FROM THE PUBLIC SERVICE BOARDS AND THE COMMUNITIES. DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHEN THERE WILL BE A DECISION?

>> WE'RE LOOKING FORIZATION THIS FALL AND IT'S IMPORTANT -- FOR A DECISION THIS FALL AND IT'S IMPORTANT TO RECOGNIZE, THERE'S SEVERAL PHASES TO THIS EXPANSION. WE'RE LOOKING AT BRINGING GAS ALL THE WAY DOWN TO RUTLAND AND THE FIRST STEP IS BRINGING GAS, OUR FIRST PHASE, DOWN TO MIDDLEBURY AND THE NEXT STEP IS OVER TO INTERNATIONAL PAPER'S TIE -- TICONDEROGA MILL AND, SO THE FIRST PHASE, WE FILED IN DECEMBER WITH THE PUBLIC SERVICE BOARD AND WE'RE ANTICIPATING, WE'RE WORKING THROUGH THAT REGULATORY PROCESS NOW. WE HAVE HEARINGS IN SEPTEMBER AND WE ANTICIPATE AN ORDER SOMETIME THIS FALL, WE HOPE.

>> SOME PEOPLE HAVE RAISED THE CONCERN, WHY IS VERMONT GAS VERMONT GAS COMPANY LOCATED IN VERMONT TRYING TO PROVIDE GAS TO NOK?

>> VERMONT IS A VERY RURAL STATE AND IT'S A CHALLENGE TO DEVELOP INFRASTRUCTURE IN THE STATE BECAUSE THERE ARE SMALL MARKETS AND THE INFRASTRUCTURE IS EXPENSIVE. WE'VE SEEN THAT IN THE ELECTRIC INDUSTRY. IN NOT FOR THE RURAL ELECTRIFICATION ACT, WE WOULDN'T HAVE ELECTRICITY IN SOME OF THE RURAL AREAS OF THE STATE. WE HAVE THE SAME CHALLENGE WITH GAS, BUT THERE'S NO GASIFICATION ACT, SO WE'VE HAD TO FIND WAYS OF TAPPING INTO OTHER RESOURCES AND WHAT THE INTERNATIONAL PAPER AT TICONDEROGA MILL DOES, IS THEY'RE GOING TO HELP PAY FOR A LARGER, LONGER PIPE, NO INCREMENTAL COST TO VERMONTERS THAT HELPS US BRING GAS TO RUTLAND, SO THAT'S THE HUGE BENEFIT. IT ALSO BENEFITS THE MILL, OUBLG, THEY HAVE LOWER COSTS, REDUCE EMISSIONS AND DISPLACE OIL USED THERE, BUT THE PRIMARY BENEFIT TO VERMONT IS THEY'RE FUNDING A LARGER, LONGER PIPE THAT WILL HELP US SERVE RUTLAND.

>> THE INTERNATIONAL PAPER MILL OBVIOUSLY WANTS THIS PIPELINE AND YOU MENTIONED RUTLAND AND WE HAVE HEARD FROM THE MAYOR AND THE LARGE BUSINESS OWNERS IN RUTLAND THAT THEY WANT TO PLUG INTO THE PIPELINE BECAUSE THEIR COSTS WILL BE LOWER. WE HAVEN'T HEARD IN RESIDENTS IN RUT LAND. WE'VE HEARD FROM HOMEOWNERS IN ADDISON COUNTY WHO DON'T WANT THIS PIPELINE GOING THROUGH THEIR YARD, BUT IT'S GOING TO HAPPEN ANYWAY IF THE PUBLIC SERVICE BOARD SAYS YES TO THAT, SO HOW DO YOU JUSTIFY THAT, HOW DO YOU MAKE THESE SOME OWNERS FEEL BETTER ABOUT HAVING A PIPELINE GO THROUGH THEIR FARM WHEN THEY DON'T WANT IT THERE?

>> IN MANY CASES WHAT WE'VE DONE IS WE'VE JUST SPENT TIME. THE INITIAL REACTION, PEOPLE WERE CONCERNED AND HAD QUESTIONS, AND WE HAVE SPENT TIME WITH THEM, HELPING TO ANSWER THOSE QUESTIONS, AND WE FOUND THAT AS WE DO THAT, MANY OF THEM ARE MORE RECEPTIVE IN HAVING THAT PIPELINE LOCATED IN THEIR PROPERTY. YOU MENTIONED FARMS. THE FACT THE WE'RE NOT TALKING ABOUT A HUGE PIPELINE. WE'RE TALKING ABOUT A 10 TO 12-INCH PIPELINE BURIED THREE TO FIVE FEED DEEP. ONCE THAT'S BURIED IN THE GROUND, YOU CAN FARM OVER IT, USE THE PROPERTY OVER IT. YOU ASK YOU NOT BUILD A STRUCTURE OVER IT, BUT YOU CAN STILL USE THE PROPERTY AND WE FIND IN MANY CASES WHEN PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THAT, THEY'RE NOR RECEPTIVE TO IT AND WE CAN TAKE THEM UP AND SHOW THEM WHERE WE HAVE PIPELINES LOCATED ALREADY IN FRANKLIN COUNTY.

>> YOU MENTIONED CONVERSATIONS. IS THERE ALSO COMPENSATION?

>> THERE IS COMPENSATION. WE PAY FOR THE EASEMENTS ACROSS THE PROPERTY, SO THE LANDOWNER GETS PAID FOR THAT AND THERE'S TAX REVENUE THAT FLOWS INTO THE COMMUNITY, SO -- BUT YOU MENTIONED BUSINESSES ARE ASKING FOR IT AND WE'RE SEEING THAT. CABOT AS AN EXAMPLE, CABOT CHEESE IN MIDDLEBURY IS LOOKING AT THE POTENTIAL TO SAVE $3 MILLION A YEAR FROM THE USE OF -- CONVERTING OVER FROM OIL TO NATURAL GAS, SO THAT'S A HUGE SAVINGS. THAT FLOWS BACK TO THE FAMILY FARMS THAT SUPPORT THE COMMUNITIES. THE RESIDENTS, WE HAVEN'T HEARD AS MUCH FROM, BUT THAT'S NOT UNUSUAL. WHEN WE GO INTO A COMMUNITY, WHAT WE SEE IS THEY MAY NOT BE OUT THERE IN FRONT LEADING THE CHARGE, BUT AS WE BRING GAS IN, WE SEE A HUGE INTEREST IN IT. WE WENT INTO RICHMOND AND 60% OF THE HOMES THAT WERE NEAR OUR PIPELINE SIGNED UP IN THE FIRST YEAR AND IT'S GROWN SINCE THEN IN IN AN AREA LIKE BURLINGTON, WE'RE UP THERE WHERE 90% OF THE RESIDENTS ARE ACTUALLY UTILIZING NATURAL GAS, SO WHILE THEY MAY NOT BE OUT THERE WHEN THE PIPELINE COMES IN AND THEY HAVE A CHOICE, BUT WE FIND THEY CHOOSE NATURAL GAS.

>> YOU MENTIONED THAT THERE ARE SOME AREAS YOU CAN'T JUSTIFY GOING, IT DOESN'T MAKE ANY SENSE. WHAT ARE THE COMMUNITIES THAT YOU'RE NOT GOING TO CURRENTLY THAT YOU THINK WOULD MAKE SENSE TO GO TO?

>> WE'RE WORKING TRYING TO SERVE ALL THE COMMUNITIES ALONG THE ROUTE. IN FACT, WE'VE TAKEN THE APPROACH THAT WE SAID IF THE TRANSMISSION PIPELINE IS COMING THROUGH A COMMUNITY, WE'LL DEVELOP SERVICE TO THEM.

>> THIS IS THE ROUTE 74.

>> WE'RE NOT FOLLOWING 74. WE'RE GOING THROUGH -- NOW YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT CORNWALL SPECIFICALLY AND IN THAT CASE WE'RE TRYING TO STAY WITHIN FARM AREAS AND OPEN AREAS, BUT WE WOULD DEVELOP A DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM NEAR 74 THAT WOULD SERVE 60 TO 70 HOMES. BUT IN THE OTHER COMMUNITIES, WE'RE SERVING, PROPOSING SERVICE IN ST. GEORGE, ON DOWN HINDS BURG ALREADY HAS SERVICE, MONKTON, NEW HAVEN, MIDDLEBURY. EACH OF THE TOWNS, BRISTOL, WE'RE WORKING TO SERVE THE COMMUNITIES ALONG THAT PIPELINE.

>> SO WHO ARE THE -- IT LOOKS LIKE MAYBE THE CENTER SORT OF SOUTH PART OF THE STATE IS WHERE THERE IS NO REACH CURRENTLY?

>> WELL, WE'RE ONLY SERVING UP IN CHITTENDEN AND FRANKLIN COUNTY TODAY. LONG-TERM, WE SEE COMING DOWN TO THE RUTLAND AREA AND WE'RE ALSO LOOKING AT THE POTENTIAL TO BRING GAS UP FROM THE SOUTH TO BRATTLEBORO AND NEWPORT AND WE WANT TO SERVE AS MUCH OF THE STATE AS WE CAN. THERE ARE ALWAYS BE AREAS THAT WE CAN'T JUSTIFY BUILDING, MUCH MORE RURAL AREAS. WORCESTER, WE WON'T EVER GET NATURAL GAS OVER TO A SMALL COMMUNITY LIKE THAT, BUT THERE ARE OPPORTUNITIES. WE ACTUALLY HAVE, A COMPANY TRUCKING NATURAL GAS, THEY'RE ACTUALLY DELIVERING GAS TO SOME OF THE LARGER BUSINESSES IN THOSE MORE REMOTE LOCATIONS THAT WE DON'T HAVE NATURAL GAS.

>> HOW MANY REVISIONS DID THIS PLAN TAKE? I KNOW IT'S A TWO-THREE-PHASE PIPELINE PROJECT, BUT BACK IN THE WINTER, THE PUSHBACK WAS SO STRONG, THERE WAS PUBLIC OUTCRY OVER YOUR PROPOSED PIPELINE, AND YOU HAD THESE CONVERSATIONS AND YOU'VE WORKED THROUGH IT AND AS YOU SAY, WITH SOME OF THE PEOPLE. SOME ARE STILL ADAMANTLY PROPOSED, BUT HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU HAD TO REDRAW THE ROUTE?

>> WE'RE CONTINUAL REFINING THE ROUTE TO ADDRESS THE INTEREST AND CONCERNS OF COMMUNITIES AND LET'S TAKE THE SPECIFIC ONE YOU'RE REFERRING TO, WHICH WAS MONKTON. WHEN WE ORIGINALLY PROPOSED THE ROUTE, WE WERE TRYING TO FOLLOW EXISTING CORRIDORS AND RIGHT OF WAYS AND FOLLOW THE TRANSMISSION LINE THAT ALREADY EXISTED THERE AND AS WE DID THAT, ONE OF THE THINGS WE FOUND WERE THERE WERE CONCERNS WITH ARCHEOLOGICAL SITES IN THE AREA AND WE WERE ENCOURAGED TO PUT THE LINE ALONG THE ROADWAY. WHEN WE DID THAT, THERE WAS CONCERNS OF THE TOWN OF MONKTON. THEY HAVE HOUSES CLOSE TO THE ROADWAY. WE WORKED WITH THAT COMMUNITY, FILED IN DECEMBER, COMMITTED TO WORK WITH THEM. WE WORKED WITH THEM IN JANUARY LISTENING TO THEIR CONCERNS. WE GOT THEM TOGETHER WITH SOME OF THE STATE AGENCIES AND WORKING TOGETHER, WE WERE ABLE TO REFINE THAT ROUTE AND MODIFY IT. WE WENT BACK ON TO THE BELLCO CORRIDOR WITH SOME MODIFICATIONS TO ADDRESS THE CONCERNS WE'RE HEARING AND IN FEBRUARY FILED FOR A NEW ROUTE. SO IT'S A CONTINUAL PROCESS AS YOU DESIGN THESE THINGS TO LISTEN TO AND RESPOND AND MODIFY THE ROUTE TO ADDRESS THE CONCERNS OUT THERE.

>> I'M CURIOUS ABOUT THE LOGISTICS OF WHAT IT WOULD TAKE TO RUN NATURAL GAS TO THE INTERNATIONAL PAPER MILL IN TICONDEROGA? WHAT WOULD THAT TAKE?

>> IT'S A PRETTY STRAIGHTFORWARD PROCESS FOR US. WE'RE BUILDING A LINE DOWN TO MIDDLEBURY AND LATERAL OVER TO THE PLANT. THAT'S THE SIMPLE WAY TO DESCRIBE ITS ABOUT THAT LATERAL WOULD SEND OVER AND TULT GO UNDER LAKE CHAMPLAIN, SO THAT MAY BE ONE OF THE QUESTIONS.

>> I THINK THAT'S THE LOGISTIC THAT PEOPLE -- RUNNING A PIPE UNDERNEATH LAKE CHAMPLAIN.

>> THAT'S SOMETHING THAT MANY PEOPLE MAY NOT BE FAMILIAR WITH, BUT WE'D LOVE TO HAVE THEM COME OUT AND SEE WHAT WE'RE DOING. WE'RE PUTTING IN A PIPE RIGHT NOW UNDER THE MENUS SKI AS WE WENT INTO RICHMOND. WE HAVE A PIPE THAT WE PUT UNDER ANOTHER --

>> THERE MUST BE DIFFERENT LOGISTICS IN LAKE CHAMPLAIN. IT'S A LARGER BODY OF WATER.

>> DONE THINK OF IT LIKE -- DON'T THINK OF IT LIKE THE LAKE HERE IN BURLINGTON. IT'S A MUCH NARROWER BODY OF WATER. AS WE GO UNDER THE RIVERS AND DONE THIS IN THE OTHER BODIES OF WATER HERE AROUND VERMONT, WE GO WELL UNDER THE BODY OF WATER, WAY BELOW THE SURFACE, WE DON'T DISTURB ANY SEDIMENT DOWN THERE AND WE'RE ABLE TO DRILL UNDER AND COME UP THE OTHER SIDE OF THE LAKE, WELL AWAY FROM THE EDGE OF THE LAKE, AND YOU HAVE A PIPE FITTING ON EITHER SIDE THAT YOU CONNECT TO. IT'S A TECHNOLOGY THAT'S USED REGULARLY. WE'VE USED IT MANY TIMES HERE AND IT'S A GREAT WAY FOR US TO BE ABLE TO GET UNDER AND OVER TO ANOTHER SIDE OF A BODY OF WATER LIKE LAKE CHAMPLAIN.

>> IT JUST SOUNDS LIKE SUCH A GIGANTIC UNDERTAKING. IS THERE ANY ECONOMIC BENEFIT, WILL THIS CREATE JOBS FOR VERMONTERS?

>> ABSOLUTELY. IT'S A -- IT IS A LARGE UNDERTAKING FOR US. BY SCALE, IT'S NOT THAT BIG COMPARED TO SOME THAT YOU SEE IN OTHER PARTS OF THE COUNTRY, BUT IT IS BIG FOR VERMONT. BUT IT ALSO HAS HUGE BENEFITS FOR VERMONT. WE'RE LOOKING AT IN ADDISON COUNTY ALONE, AND THIS IS JUST ADDISON COUNTY, WE'RE LOOKING AT SOMEWHERE AROUND $200 MILLION IN LOWER ENERGY COSTS OVER THE NEXT 20 YEARS AS WE BRING NATURAL GAS INTO THAT COMMUNITY. WE'RE LOOKING AT GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS REDUCTIONS OF OVER 300 TONS PER -- 300 TONS OVER THAT SAME 20-YEAR TIME FRAME. INGS GOING TO SUPPORT JOBS. WHEN YOU RETURN $3 MILLION TO A BUSINESS LIKE CABOT, IT HELPS TO SUPPORT THE BUSINESSES AND THE FARMERS THERE. THE INTERNATIONAL PAPER COMPANY HAS 1200 EMPLOYEES. 600 OF THEM AT THE PLANT, 600 OUT PROVIDING THE RAW MATERIALS FOR THAT PLANT. 20% OF THE WOOD SUPPLY COMES FROM VERMONT AND THIS WILL SUPPORT JOBS IN VERMONT AND HELP TO CREATE THEM. IN RUT LAND, WE CONTINUE TO HEAR REAL INTEREST BECAUSE OF WHAT IT CAN DO TO SUPPORT THE JOBS AND BUSINESSES DOWN THERE. WE HEARD FROM OUR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT GROUP AND THEY HAVE HAD COMPANIES THAT HAVE COME, INTERESTED IN LOCATED IN RUTLAND, BUT THE LACK OF NATURAL GAS HAS BEEN SOMETHING THAT HAS DETERRED THEM FROM DOING THAT, SO THIS IS REALLY GOING TO HELP WITH JOBS IN VERMONT.

>> YOU TALK ABOUT THE BENEFIT THAT YOU SEE AND YOU'RE HEARING FROM PEOPLE WHO SUPPORT THIS. DO YOU THINK THE LANDSCAPE WOULD BE DIFFERENT IF THE EXTRACTION PROCESS OF FRACKING HAD TO TAKE PLACE IN VERMONT?

>> THAT'S HARD TO SAY. THERE'S NO COMMERCIALLY VIABLE SOURCE OF NATURAL GAS IN VERMONT. I REALLY DON'T KNOW. I THINK THAT THERE ARE SOME THAT WOULD LIKE TO SEE US MOVE AWAY FROM FOSSIL FUELS AND THAT SEEMS TO BE A FOCUS OF THE PEOPLE THAT ARE OPPOSED. IT'S A NOBLE GOAL. THE REALITY IS WE'RE GOING TO BE DEPENDENT ON FOSSIL FUELS WELL OUT INTO THE FUTURE. WHILE WE CAN'T ELIMINATE AND STOP USING FOSSIL FUELS, WHAT WE CAN DO IS CONVERT OVER TO A CLEANER ONE. 64% OF OUR HOMES ARE HEATED WITH EITHER OIL OR PROPANE AND BY CONVERTING THEM TO NATURAL GAS, WE CAN REALLY HELP, SO I DON'T KNOW THAT I CAN ANSWER YOUR SPECIFIC QUESTION, BUT I DO BELIEVE THAT OVERALL, IT HAS MAJOR BENEFITS AS WE MOVE TO A CLEANER FUEL.

>> YOU TALK ABOUT, AGAIN, WHAT SOME PEOPLE CALL FRACKING, CONCERNS IN THE COMMUNITIES WHERE THIS IS HAPPENING. DO YOU THINK IT'S SAFE?

>> I DO, VERY MUCH SO. I'VE TAKEN THE TIME TO TALK TO PEOPLE IN THOSE AREAS WHERE IT'S BEING DONE, AND IN PARTICULAR, I TALKED TO AN INDIVIDUAL FROM THE PENNSYLVANIA EPA, ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY. I TALKED TO AN INDIVIDUAL -- ACTUALLY, THE HEAD OF THE REGULATORY COMMISSION, CHAIRMAN PAULSON, AND I WAS IMPRESSED WITH HOW THOUGHTFUL THEY ARE IN LOOKING AT THIS. THEY HAVE A LOT OF EXPERIENCE AND THEY POINTED OUT TO ME THEY HAVE BEEN PRODUCING ENERGY AND FUELS FOR OVER 100 YEARS. THEY HAVE ACTUALLY PRODUCED, WITH OIL AND COAL AND NOW NATURAL GAS, AND THEY HAVE LEARNED A LOT FROM THAT AND HE SHOWED ME THE 70 REGULATIONS THAT THEY PUT IN PLACE TO ASSURE IT'S DONE IN A SAFE AND ENVIRONMENTALLY CONSCIOUS MANNER, SO I'M CONFIDENT THAT IT WILL BE. I THINK OUR RECENT STUDIES FROM THE EPA SUPPORT THAT. I THINK THE FACT THAT THE REST OF THE COUNTRY AND EVEN PRESIDENT OBAMA ARE EMBRACING IT IS SOME INDICATION THAT THIS IS A VERY POSITIVE THING FOR THE COUNTRY.

>> SO THE DEBATE STILL GOES ON. DON GILBERT, PRESIDENT OF VERMONT GAS, THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR TIME. YOU CAN GIVE YOUR FEEDBACK OR COMMENTS AND I'M SURE THE FOLKS AT VERMONT GAS WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU. UNTIL NEXT TIME, EVERYONE, I'M KRISTEN CARLSON. HAVE A GREAT SUNDAY. CAPTIONING PROVIDED BY. CAPTION ASSOCIATES, LLC www.captionassociates.com

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WCAX. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.