Inside the auditorium, the crowd heard arguments on a 2-year-old petition by the Conservation Law Foundation. It argues the Certificate of Public Good allowing the Vermont Gas Pipeline needs to be changed because of changes since the project was first approved, like shifts in the energy market and project overruns that have nearly doubled the price tag to about $165 million.
“What is Vermont Gas Systems afraid of? If its project is as good as it keeps claiming it is, Vermont Gas has nothing to fear from, and, in fact, should welcome a careful reassessment of the pipeline project,” said Sandra Levine of the Conservation Law Foundation.
With all but a small section of the pipeline’s right of way secured and the company hoping to finish by the end of the year, some would argue that time has run out. Not so, says CLF.
“The board should not condone utilities low-balling cost estimates, ignoring changes in the energy markets. The board should require sound project management, including sound cost estimates– certainly something that has been sorely lacking with this project,” Levine said.
Levine suggests the board impose new conditions on the company’s permit, like mitigating for climate change…