Regulators say Vermont Gas violated permit during 2016 pipeline blasting

MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) A dynamite blast three years ago during construction of the Addison Natural Gas Pipeline violated Vermont Gas' state permit according to Vermont regulators.

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The Public Utility Commission order Thursday found that the company violated its Certificate of Public Good when it failed to give adequate notice to a Monkton landowner and that it also did not exercise "industry standards" when conducting the blast. Investigators found debris and flying rock escaped from underneath the blast mats and traveled across Old Stage Road and into the woods on the edge of the 20-acre property.

It's not clear yet what penalty the company will have to pay the state. They already settled privately with the landowner for $10,000.

Vermont Gas officials said in a statement, "...We always strive for 100% compliance, and are disappointed in the finding that our contractor fell short. This project was a major undertaking and we agree that assessing areas for future improvement is an important part of the post-construction process..."

The PUC last year began an inquiry into the 41-mile pipeline from Burlington to Middlebury after critics claimed the company's own documents show improper construction.

Company officials have said they are confident in the integrity of the $165 million pipeline completed two years ago.