Vermont Gas Pipeline: A Closer Look at Ballooning Costs

Sandy Levine | @CLFLevine

When costs double, taking a closer look at a project makes sense. That will happen in Vermont with the Vermont Gas Pipeline.

Vermont regulators recently denied a request by Vermont Gas to sweep under the rug a closer look at the pipeline’s exorbitant cost increases. You can read the Board’s Order here.

Vermont rules require a re-evaluation when a “substantial change” to a project occurs. Back in 2014, Conservation Law Foundation requested this review. The skyrocketing project costs and the availability of other options demonstrate a “substantial change.”

As any consumer knows, when the cost of something doubles, and you have other options that meet your needs, it just makes sense to re-evaluate  your purchase.

This case allows Vermont regulators to take a much-needed fresh look at this beleaguered gas project. The disappointing failure to re-open the review previously still stings. As spring blossoms, what regulators have now, is a new chance for a more comprehensive review. Unlike the earlier, more limited re-consideration, this review would require Vermont Gas to demonstrate that the project advances the public good. That will be a tough hurdle as a lot has changed since this project was first proposed back in 2012.

Continuing to build massive, polluting fossil fuel pipelines locks us into a senseless future of higher energy  costs and more pollution. The ballooning costs of the Vermont Gas pipeline are a substantial change that requires more careful review.

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