Report: Gas Pipeline Builder Changed Plans Without Approval

(AP) — A state investigation found that the builder of a natural gas pipeline in Vermont deviated from approved construction plans without informing the state.

The Public Utility Commission report found that Vermont Gas made several changes to the approved construction plan for the 41-mile (66-kilometer) pipeline without informing the commission, Vermont Public Radio reported

“Vermont Gas gave no advance notice of its plans nor did it seek approval of these changes before they occurred. This prevented any analysis of those changes by the Commission and denied the public an opportunity to comment on the changes,” hearing officer Michael Tousley wrote in the Jan. 29 order

Construction on the pipeline that runs from Colchester to Middlebury was completed in 2017, but faced legal challenges even after gas started to flow to customers. 

The state Public Service Department, which represents the public in utility issues, asked for the investigation back in 2018, the broadcaster reported. 

“The pipeline is safe and was completed responsibly,” Beth Parent, a spokesperson for the company, told the broadcaster.

In its report, the commission said it will now consider whether to assess a penalty on the company for the unauthorized changes it made during the pipeline’s construction.

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