Vermont Group to Appeal Approval of a Natural Gas Pipeline Underneath Park



Nine Vermont residents are appealing the Public Service Board’s approval of a pipeline to be built through the Geprags Park via horizontal drilling.

The board had already approved Vermont Gas’s proposal to construct the natural gas pipeline through the Geprags Park using eminent domain. If the group’s appeal is upheld by the board, it could mean more delays for the construction of the pipeline, which is almost complete.

The protestors argue that if Vermont Gas uses all rights it has under eminent domain, it could potentially affect the park in such a way that would inhibit public use of the park.

Spokeswoman for Vermont Gas Beth Parent said the group should respect the board’s ruling.

The natural gas pipeline is a 41-mile pipeline that will run from Colchester to Addison County and pass through Geprags Park.

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Federal Judge Orders Vermont Service Board to Open Hearing on Vermont Gas Pipeline

A federal judge has ordered that Vermont Public Service Board open its hearing on a natural gas pipeline project to the public despite the board’s previous claim that protestors would disrupt the hearing.

Critics of Vermont Gas Systems went to court to defend their First Amendment rights after the state board forbid the public to be present at a scheduled hearing about a pipeline that would cross through a local community park.

The board wrote in an order last month reporting its intention to close the August 4 hearing about the Vermont Gas pipeline due to experiences of protestors interfering with hearings by raising their voices loudly to sing and not abiding by authorities who told them to lower their voices so as not to disrupt the hearing.

Those who oppose the line will now have the option to be at the hearing. Some have said they oppose the line as it could disrupt bird habitats, cause harm to sensitive wetlands, and violate terms of the park’s origin, such as its educational and recreational use.


Vermont Gas Gains Approval for Pipeline Construction in Town Park

Geprags Park in Hinesburg, Vermont. Photo source:

Geprags Park in Hinesburg, Vermont. Photo source:

Vermont Gas Systems and the city of Hinesburg, Vermont concluded its board meeting on Thursday that resulted in the approval of a natural gas pipeline to run through Geprags Park.

The local park in Hinesburg was Vermont Gas Systems’ last hurdle for approval in order to start construction on a 41-mile natural gas pipeline that will run from Colchester to Addison County.

The utility is still waiting for approval from the state Public Service Board regarding concerns about wetlands, but it says it has made large steps in receiving the town’s approval.

An important factor of the agreement is Vermont Gas Systems’ use of horizontal drilling, which has less impact on surface lands.

"This agreement brings important value to the town and allows the company to move forward with construction in Geprags," Vermont Gas said in a statement.

In the deal, Hinesburg will receive $250,000 and Vermont Gas will be required to get a performance bond, which guarantees the project will be completed.


Vermont Gas in its Last Battle for Natural Gas Pipeline

Geprags Community Park in Hinesburg, Vermont. Source:

Geprags Community Park in Hinesburg, Vermont. Source:

The Geprags Park in Hinesburg, Vermont is the last of 164 property deals for Vermont Gas to finalize a natural gas pipeline that, when completed, would run 41 miles and expand service to residential and business customers in the Middlebury area.

Advocates for the protection of Geprags Park are hesitant to see damage done to the town-owned land as it could disrupt bird habitat, cause harm to sensitive wetlands, and violate the terms of the park’s origins.

CEO of Vermont Gas Don Rendall stated that construction of the line is currently continuing on either side of the park until a settlement is made about the path through the park with the town of Hinesburg. The company has promised the town payments, property tax revenue, and safe construction methods that protect the environment.

Rendall also noted that the line would extend natural gas to residents in Hinesburg who are currently using kerosene to heat their homes. As a result, those residents would see significant cost-saving benefits by use of natural gas.

The Vermont Public Service Board will hold a closed hearing over land use on August 4. Although normally open to the public, the board made the decision to close the hearing and instead allow the public to listen via phone. This decision was made after the board ruled that protestors at past meetings made it difficult to do state business due to singing, chanting, and other demonstrations.

A citizen of Huntington said she is fighting in federal court for more access to the hearing.

Vermont Gas said it expects to finish the pipeline by the end of this year.

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