ST. GEORGE, VT. >> Vermont Gas Systems Inc. is working to securing the land rights necessary to complete the first phase of its natural gas pipeline.

The Burlington Free Press reports ( ) CEO Don Rendall says the company secured land rights from all but a few of about 160 landowners along the route.

The company opened eminent domain proceedings on Oct. 21 against nine landowners to secure the remaining parcels. Eminent domain is the process through which the government seizes private land for a public use.

Its October budget filing shows the company has spent $9.8 million on land acquisition.

The first phase began in June 2014 and crews have completed 11 miles of the route in Chittenden County.

Rendall says crews plan to complete the remaining 30 miles through Addison County next year.