UPDATE: Fighting the Vermont Gas Pipeline – at the State Supreme Court

Sandy Levine | @CLFLevine

UPDATE: CLF argued our case this morning, taking Vermont gas to task for trying to charge hardworking vermonters for a polluting pipeline. The Vermont Supreme Court was engaged in our argument – we’re asking that the Vermont Public Utilities Commission follow its own rules and re-examine this project based on ballooning costs. We’ll let you know when the Court reaches a final decision. In the meantime, you can hear me talk about the case here on Facebook.

CLF will be arguing our case against the Vermont Gas Pipeline in the state Supreme Court on Wednesday, October 11, at 10AM. You can watch CLF in action by joining us in court (the courthouse is located at 111 State Street, Montpelier – please be sure to arrive early so you can be seated before the hearing begins).

At first ill-conceived, and then bungled, the Vermont Gas pipeline calls out for a serious re-evaluation.

And thankfully, that is what the law says should happen, and what CLF will be asking the Vermont Supreme Court to require.

Regulators Ignored CLF’s Call to Re-evaluate the Vermont Gas Project, So We Took Them to Court

In 2014, when the cost of the pipeline increased, and cleaner supplies, like cold-climate heat pumps, became more widely available, CLF asked Vermont regulators to re-evaluate the project. It was a simple request. The project’s costs had ballooned so drastically from when it was first proposed that regulators should have required Vermont Gas to seek a new or amended permit. It was a matter of following their own rules.

Yet regulators delayed a decision for more than two years. When they ultimately refused our request, CLF appealed.

Why Have Rules if Regulators Won’t Follow Them?

At the Vermont Supreme Court, CLF is presenting a straightforward legal issue, and asking the Court to ensure the laws and rules we have are followed and enforced – so that Vermonters can have faith that the energy projects approved actually meet our needs.

At a time when confidence in government is sadly at a low point, it is more important than ever that our courts make sure rules are followed.

Vermonters Shouldn’t Be Forced to Overpay for a Polluting Pipeline

When any of us undertake a project for our home or business and the price jumps, it is wise to step back and re-evaluate. Without that evaluation, we can get stuck paying too much for too little. Without a careful review of the Vermont Gas pipeline project, Vermonters will be stuck subsidizing dirty fossil fuels and be saddled with paying too much for a polluting pipeline that we don’t want and don’t need.

The re-evaluation could deny the pipeline the ability to operate or it could impose new conditions to protect Vermonters and the environment (like supporting more renewable energy or energy efficiency projects to offset the pipeline’s climate-damaging emissions). But first, the Vermont Supreme Court must require that regulators follow the law.

Read CLF’s brief here and reply brief here.

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