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State To Investigate Vermont Gas Blasting Protocols

A pipeline on a dirt path in a green field.
John Van Hoesen
VPR File
The Vermont Gas pipeline to Addison County has been completed, but state regulators are looking into whether the company violated safety protocols while blasting during construction.

Six months after the completion of the Vermont Gas pipeline to Addison County, regulators announced an investigation into whether the company used proper safety measures while blasting to clear an underground path for the pipeline.

Vermont Gas spokeswoman Beth Parent said Wednesday that the company did follow necessary safety protocols. She said the company plans to cooperate with the investigation.

The investigation by Vermont’s Public Utility Commission comes after a property owner along the pipeline route accused Vermont Gas of violating the terms of the commission’s Certificate of Public Good – effectively a state-level permit – for the project.

The commission is looking into allegations that Vermont Gas didn’t properly warn residents surrounding a blast area in Monkton. The company was required by the Certificate of Public Good to warn residents multiple times in advance of blasting and maintain a security perimeter around blasting areas, among other requirements.

Parent said the company did everything required by regulators.

“Vermont Gas also conducted town-hall-like meetings 30 days prior to any blasting. We worked with town officials. We notified school districts. So we certainly conducted extensive outreach and education for all of the impacted towns,” she said.

Parent said the commission has not yet set dates for filings or hearings in the investigation by the board.

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