Vermont Gas on Tuesday received the final permit needed to begin the construction of phase one of the company's natural gas pipeline extension through Addison County.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued the company a wetlands permit for its proposed 41-mile pipeline extension from Chittenden County to Middlebury. The company said in a statement it plans to begin construction "immediately."

As a condition placed on the company's certificate of public good received last year, it is required to receive all state and federal permits before beginning construction. The Vermont Public Service Board on Tuesday denied Vermont Gas' request for a waiver to begin staging for construction without the federal wetlands permit.

The construction of the pipeline will temporarily impact about 23 acres of wetlands, according to the Corps.

Vermont Gas, a subsidiary of Gaz Metro with a Vermont headquarters in South Burlington, is also asking state regulators for permission to build a pipeline connecting Middlebury to the International Paper mill in Ticonderoga, New York. The company eventually plans to bring gas service to Rutland.

Opponents of the project say the company will import natural gas through the controversial process of fracking, which they say causes environmental damage and extends the country's dependence on fossil fuel energy.



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