It was a packed hearing before the Public Service Board in Montpelier. At issue is the proposal by Vermont Gas and it's Canadian parent company, Gaz Metro, to build a natural gas pipeline. Phase one of the three phase project would bring natural gas from Colchester to Middlebury -- through 11 communities. A key issue is the availability of natural gas in the future.
"Is natural gas going to be affordable into the foreseeable future. All of our data shows all the forecasts that we look at shows 140 years supply as a result in change in technologies," said Steve Wark with Vermont Gas. "It's a cleaner source of energy and so a lot of the questions will continue to focus on that."
Wark says that change in technologies includes the ability now for directional drilling into shale and a technique called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. It involves injecting water under controlled pressure to create fractures in a targeted rock formation permitting -- in this case -- natural gas to flow to the well bore.
The technique has come under fire from environmentalists and the Vermont Fuel Dealers Association, who say the process creates polluted water tables. "Our role here is to point out that some of the claims made by Gaz Metro and its subsidiary, Vermont Gas, are not quite accurate when it is comparing the cost of the fuels, when it is comparing environmental impact of the fuels -- that is why we have been granted party status by the Public Service Board. That is why we are here," said the Fuel Dealer Association's Matt Cota.
A study published Monday by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences concludes fracking doesn't seem to spew immense amounts of the greenhouse gas, methane, into the air. The study doesn't address other fracking pollution concerns.
Cota says The Vermont Fuel Dealers Association, Vermont Gas and the Conservation Law Foundation have all hired nationally known environmental experts who are expected to testify about the dangers later this week. Vermont Gas hopes to have approval for the $91 million dollar project soon.
"We hope to have some sort of approval or indication from the board sometime in November and after that we would start. We already started connecting with vendors and we would like to start building sometime in February," Wark said.
The long term goal is to ultimately extend the pipeline to Rutland.
The PSB hearings for the proposed pipeline will continue throughout the week.
Thursday, April 17 2014 7:08 AM EDT2014-04-17 11:08:22 GMT
The Stowe Police Department is currently investigating the untimely death of two adults. Stowe Police responded to 262 Cady Hill Road at 4:38 p.m. and discovered deceased individuals. The Stowe PoliceMore >>
The Stowe Police Department is currently investigating the untimely death of two adults.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 11:49 PM EDT2014-04-17 03:49:04 GMT
Major flaws were uncovered in the Burlington School Budget that failed at the polls. An audit has discovered that the district was making huge errors when budgeting for next year. What this means, is thatMore >>
Major flaws were uncovered in the Burlington School Budget that failed at the polls. An audit has discovered that the district was making huge errors when budgeting for next year.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 6:53 PM EDT2014-04-16 22:53:47 GMT
Teamwork between a Montgomery farmer and a corporal with the Franklin Country sheriff's department may have saved a life when they pulled off a daring rescue. A woman became trapped in her truck tryingMore >>
It was a lifesaving rescue in the nick of time. A Franklin County sheriff's deputy put his life on the line to save a woman trapped in a truck with floodwaters raging around her. More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 7:00 PM EDT2014-04-16 23:00:55 GMT
After this week's whirlwind weather events and major flooding Tuesday, Governor Shumlin (D-Vermont), VTrans and state transportation officials held a news conference Wednesday to discuss the aftermath. ShumlinMore >>
After this week's whirlwind weather events and major flooding Tuesday, Governor Shumlin, VTrans and state transportation officials held a news conference Wednesday to discuss the aftermath.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 12:02 PM EDT2014-04-16 16:02:05 GMT
The floods forced Gov. Andrew Cuomo to declare a state of emergency in New York. The governor made the declaration Tuesday night. It covers six counties in northeastern of New York, including two inMore >>
The floods forced Gov. Andrew Cuomo to declare a state of emergency in New York.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 6:21 PM EDT2014-04-16 22:21:46 GMT
A body found near the North Hartland Dam appears to be that of a missing man from New Hampshire. Michael Hayward, 42, of Sunapee, disappeared two months ago. His car was found near the Quechee Gorge. PoliceMore >>
A body found near the North Hartland Dam appears to be that of a missing man from New Hampshire.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 7:14 PM EDT2014-04-16 23:14:24 GMT
Authorities say six people managed to escape a house fire in Plattsburgh Tuesday morning. First responders say when they arrived at 42 Smith Street, the house was completely engulfed in flames. CityMore >>
Authorities say six people managed to escape a house fire in Plattsburgh Tuesday morning. Police say the blaze was sparked by a child playing with a lighter.More >>