DANBY - Town officials have gone on record opposing the construction of a natural gas pipeline through Danby.
The local Select Board recently voted to oppose the project after residents rejected it 185-52 in a non-binding referendum in September.
Board members have sent written notification of their decision to state officials, project supporters and opponents.
"Due to the fact that the residents have significant environmental, safety and private property concerns, we believe it is in the best interest to oppose the construction of the pipeline through Danby," the Select Board letter read.
The 63-mile natural gas pipeline would run from Bennington to Rutland, and would be anchored by two gas-fired power plants as part of the overall $1 billion project.
A portion of the pipeline is expected to follow the OMYA powerline route over Colvin Hill in Danby.
Southern Vermont Natural Gas would head up construction of the pipeline, and the two power plants would be built by Vermont Energy Park Holdings Co.
"I'm pleased the board upheld the wishes of the people who voted," said Annette Smith, a local resident and founder of Vermonters for a Clean Environment.
The town's opposition comes at a time when the project appears to be on hold.
Plant officials have not secured the necessary financing to move forward, and pipeline representatives have said unless that happens, they will reconsider their participation early next year.
Smith said despite these recent reports, her group will press forward with its opposition to the project.
"I've been warned not to assume it's dead, and I've been cautioned by many people not to let my guard down," she said.
Smith added that VCE may be interested in taking its fight to the Legislature next year.
"We're considering asking the Legislature to look at what has happened in this case, and the lack of process," she said.
The group would like Montpelier to examine eminent domain issues, and whether project officials were justified in scheduling closed-door sessions with property owners before filing for permits, she said.
"There were hundreds of citizens called out of their homes and put into private meetings with closed doors, and no reporters, and this is unacceptable," Smith said.
"I'm not specifically trying to write laws the Legislature should pass. I'm asking the legislators to look at what's happened and see what they think can be done to avoid the kinds of mistakes that were made in this case."
27 Wales Street, P.O. Box 668
Rutland, Vermont 05702-0668
Tel (802) 747-6121 Fax (802) 775-2423
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