Another step for Vermont Gas and its push for a pipeline under Lake Champlain.
The Canadian-owned company filed papers with state regulators to approve Phase Two of its expansion. The project would build a line west from Middlebury through the Addison County towns of Cornwall and Shoreham, and then under Lake Champlain to Ticonderoga, N.Y., where the gas would fuel the International Paper plant.
Vermont Gas says International Paper is committing millions of dollars to the project-- money the company says will allow it to get service to Rutland sooner than expected.
"It's a little intuitive, but International Paper equals Rutland. If I could go to every Vermonter one at a time and explain how going west helps us go south, I think people intuitively get it, but it's a little counterintuitive," said Eileen Simollardes of Vermont Gas.
The move comes as the gas company awaits Public Service Board approval on phase one of the project-- a line from Colchester to Middlebury. Opposition groups are fighting both projects, arguing the state should not be increasing the reliance on fossil fuels.