VPIRG Statement on Fracked Gas Pipeline Cost Increases

MONTPELIER, VT – Vermont Gas Systems today announced the second massive cost overrun in just six months for Phase 1 of its proposed fracked gas pipeline project.  Project costs have risen almost 80 percent over original estimates for Phase 1 alone.

In July, the Phase 1 price tag rose from $86 million to $121 million – a remarkable 40% increase that sparked new waves of opposition to the fossil fuel project.  Today’s announcement – raising the budget by another $33 million – calls into question the viability of the overall pipeline expansion project.

“It’s time to pull the plug on this fracked gas pipeline before any more economic or environmental damage is done,” said Paul Burns, executive director of the Vermont Public Interest Research Group.  “The economics for this project were already questionable, given the availability of clean alternatives that can save Vermonters half on their heating bills.”

In light of the increased costs, Vermont Gas is asking the Public Service Board to postpone hearings related to Phase 2 of the pipeline that were scheduled for January.

“Any project that sees its costs balloon by nearly 80 percent in less than a year should be stopped in its tracks,” said Burns.  “VPIRG urges Gov. Shumlin to drop his administration’s support of this project and we ask Attorney General Sorrell to consider an immediate investigation on behalf of Vermont ratepayers.”

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