Seven Vermont Gas Systems witnesses defended Phase 1 of the Addison Rutland Natural Gas Project during an all-day hearing in front of the Public Service Board in Montpelier on Monday.The board will use the testimony, plus another full slate of witnesses Tuesday, to determine whether the pipeline, which has been approved to run from Colchester to Middlebury, remains in the best interest of Vermont.
Attorneys representing project opponents asked Vermont Gas to detail how the company failed to anticipate a series of cost hikes for the 41-mile pipeline. Vermont Gas executives testified that despite these stumbles, the project is on schedule, on budget and should be permitted by the board to continue.
Meanwhile, more than 100 protestors demonstrated outside Public Service Board offices Monday afternoon to urge regulators to cancel the pipeline.
In more than six hours of testimony, board members and project opponents asked Vermont Gas witnesses about the company's methodologies for calculating the project's cost, environmental impacts and economic benefit.
Many of the questions posed by the Public Service Board to Vermont Gas Systems officials Monday centered on one theme: Why did the company use unreliable cost estimation to create early projections for Phase 1?
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