- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 4, 2014

CORNWALL, Vt. (AP) - Voters in the towns of Cornwall, Shoreham and Monkton are saying “no” to a plan by Vermont Gas to extend a natural gas pipeline through their communities.

In non-binding Town Meeting Day votes on Monday and Tuesday, voters from the three towns passed resolutions to oppose expansion of the pipeline.

The vote was 126 to 16 in Cornwall; 63 to 38 in Shoreham; and by affirmative voice vote in Monkton.

The company plans call for a $70 million project to pipe natural gas from Middlebury to the International Paper Mill in Ticonderoga, N.Y., passing through the Addison County towns.

Monkton’s Interim Town and School Treasurer Bill Joos wrote in an email that the article denouncing expansion into the town apparently passed by a wide majority with the voice vote.

“This project does not meet Vermonters’ needs. This vote shows that the residents of Cornwall and Shoreham both know a bad deal when they see one,” Cornwall Select Board Chair Bruce Hiland said in a statement.

Vermont Gas has won permission to extend its line from South Burlington to Middlebury. The company is hoping to get permission for a second phase of the work to extend the line to Rutland and beneath Lake Champlain to Ticonderoga.

Vermont Gas spokesman Steve Wark said the energy proposals would help business owners and residents cut their energy bills in half while reducing carbon emissions.

“A vote against phase two is really a vote against cleaner regional air quality, and it’s also a vote against helping Rutland improve their economy,” Wark said.

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