Vermont Gas Systems moves ahead on Phase II
by Bruce Edwards
SOUTH BURLINGTON - Shoreham and Vermont Gas Systems have signed a memorandum of understanding regarding Phase II of a proposed natural gas pipeline that will serve the International paper mill in Ticonderoga, N.Y., the company announced Thursday.
The agreement with the Select Board includes distribution of natural gas to homes and businesses; conditions on how and where the 10-inch underground transmission pipeline is built; the creation of a community fund, and enhanced emergency training and safety management measures. Shoreham is also considering converting its municipal buildings to natural gas.
Based on Shoreham's status hosting the transmission line to the IP paper mill, Vermont Gas will create a $100,000 community fund to be administered by Shoreham's Select board.
The fund may be used for consumer education, feasibility studies related to commercial expansion in town, retrofitting municipal facilities, and a financing program for residents to make energy-efficiency improvements.
"Our agreement with Vermont Gas is a positive step forward that will ensure our community and landowner's interests," Paul Saenger, chairman of the select board, said in a statement. "The community fund, to be managed by the town, will help town officials with planning and emergency services. While natural gas will be available to some parts of Shoreham, it is our hope Vermont Gas will continue to work to expand their service so all of our citizens can benefit from the lower prices and emissions of natural gas."
Phase I of the Addison Rutland Natural Gas Project, which received approval last year, will transport natural gas from Colchester to Middlebury, Vergennes, St. George, Monkton, and New Haven.
If approved by the Public Service Board, Phase II will deliver natural gas to parts of Cornwall and Shoreham, and then to the International Paper Mill in Ticonderoga.
By extending natural gas service to the mill, Vermont Gas said it will save Vermonters the $45 million cost to bring natural gas to Rutland by 2020 - 15 years sooner than anticipated.