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Addison-Rutland natural gas project opposed in Vt. - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Addison-Rutland natural gas project opposed in Vt.

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

A natural gas pipeline proposed by Vermont Gas Systems would be good for New Yorkers. While northern New Yorkers say yes to the project, the plan faces controversy in Vermont

Workers at the International Paper Mill in Ticonderoga hope a proposed gas pipeline happens. Essex County, N.Y., officials say the mill's energy costs are too high. Natural gas would be cheaper for the mill reducing the threat of its closure.

"How critical International Paper is to our well-being and the economy in the North Country and without this approval of this natural gas pipeline we're worried what could happen in the future," said Randy Douglas from the Essex County Board of Supervisors.

Phase one of the planned pipeline would bring natural gas to Addison County in Vermont, with the goal of eventually landing in Rutland. Phase two would travel from Vermont under Lake Champlain to Essex County, N.Y. Towns throughout Essex County agree the pipeline would keep International Paper Mill in business and passed a resolution supporting the proposal.

"It was full support, unanimous support from all the supervisors saying this is desperately needed, we have to do what we can to support it," said Douglas.

The board of supervisors also sent a letter to the Addison County Regional Planning Commission asking to participate in its proceedings.

Supporters of the gas project say the pipeline will mean saving hundreds of jobs, but in Vermont there are many who are opposed to the pipeline, fearing for the environment.

"Extracted in extreme ways with hydro-fracking, so it does a lot of damage bringing it out of the ground," said Jane Palmer from Monkton. 

Palmer and her husband own a farm in Monkton, Vt. They say the pipeline would run right beneath their property. They worry about an accidental leak or explosion happening so close to them. 

"The odds are it won't happen, but the odds are better it won't happen if there's no gas pipeline there," said Palmer. 

Officials from New York and Vermont plan to meet to further discuss the pros and cons of the pipeline. 

According to Vermont Gas, the proposed pipeline would be complete by 2015 and have zero additional costs to Vermont Gas customers. 

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