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.
Monday, December 9 2013 11:25 PM EST2013-12-10 04:25:30 GMT
A child playing with a lighter was responsible for a Champlain, New York apartment fire. That's according to the Champlain Fire Department. Firefighters arrived at this apartment complex at 25 SpruceMore >>
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Monday, December 9 2013 11:12 PM EST2013-12-10 04:12:04 GMT
An equipment fire kept crews busy in Middlebury Monday. About 30 firefighters responded to a blaze at the Champlain Valley Equipment facility on Exchange Street. The Middlebury fire chief says there'sMore >>
An equipment fire kept crews busy in Middlebury Monday. More >>
Monday, December 9 2013 10:29 PM EST2013-12-10 03:29:07 GMT
Police say a woman walked out of the WalMart in Williston with two stolen computers Monday.The suspect was caught on surveillance cameras. The HP Pavilion computers are worth more than $1,000. If youMore >>
Police say a woman walked out of the Wal Mart in Williston with two stolen computers Monday.More >>
Monday, December 9 2013 10:26 PM EST2013-12-10 03:26:26 GMT
South Burlington is using a grant to tackle the slew of vacant properties near the airport.The city will use $17,000 for community outreach and research to make a plan for the homes. They were purchasedMore >>
South Burlington is using a grant to tackle the slew of vacant properties near the airport.More >>
Monday, December 9 2013 8:51 PM EST2013-12-10 01:51:48 GMT
When it comes to education, teachers say they know what it takes to motivate students, and also what doesn't work -- including standardized testing, cookie cutter curriculums and what NEA President MarthaMore >>
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Monday, December 9 2013 8:43 PM EST2013-12-10 01:43:09 GMT
"We are trying to create a few new affordable housing units so that people have a chance to move beyond shelter and regain their independence," said Rita Markley, Executive Director of the Committee onMore >>
COTS reaching out to Old North End neighbors in the development of new affordable housing and a daystation.More >>
Monday, December 9 2013 8:32 PM EST2013-12-10 01:32:17 GMT
"It's nothing you ever expect to ever happen to you," said Linda Zeno.Zeno and her husband, Steve, have lived in their South Burlington home for three decades and always felt safe. Until an early morningMore >>
A South Burlington couple came face to face with an intruder lurking in their bedroom, and now they're demanding stiffer sentences for repeat offenders.More >>
Monday, December 9 2013 8:24 PM EST2013-12-10 01:24:58 GMT
An Enfield, New Hampshire man is dead. And a Killington driver has been charged in connection with the death. It happened Saturday night on the Killington Road. Police say 26-year-old Kyle Wilson wentMore >>
A Vermont man admits being behind the wheel during a fatal accident in Killington but denies wrong-doing.More >>