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Shumlin Meets With Landowners Along Pipeline Route

Taylor Dobbs
Some of the landowners who staged a knit-in at Vermont Gas in July met with Gov. Peter Shumlin on Thursday.

Landowners along the route of the Vermont Gas pipeline met with Gov. Peter Shumlin Thursday to voice their concerns about the way the company negotiates with landowners about the pipeline right-of-way.

Shumlin met with 10 of the landowners along the pipeline route who have repeatedly voiced opposition to the pipeline itself and criticized Vermont Gas for its negotiating tactics.

The landowners are calling for a hold on all negotiations over access to their property until “fair and transparent rules of the game are in place.”

Public Service Commissioner Chris Recchia says the Shumlin administration chose to meet with them now after months of relative silence because “the landowners were expressing a willingness to work toward a resolution on their easements in a constructive way independent of their, perhaps, continued opposition of the pipeline itself.”

Recchia said state officials plan to meet with the landowners again next week to discuss their concerns in detail, and landowners say they are optimistic about the administration’s efforts to facilitate agreements between them and the company.

Shumlin’s support of the pipeline cost him votes in this month’s election, in which he came within about 2,000 votes of being beat out by Republican Scott Milne. Critics who have voted for Shumlin in the past said they did not vote for him in this election because of his support for the pipeline, or for industrial wind projects.

Shumlin pledged to step back and reconsider his policies after his surprisingly small margin over Milne. His effort to meet with landowners along the pipeline route came the following week.

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