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Vermont utility regulator won’t reconsider gas line project

MONTPELIER, Vt. — Vermont’s utility regulating Public Service Board is sticking with its approval of a plan to build a 41-mile natural gas pipeline from Chittenden County to Middlebury despite a 78 percent increase in cost from what was approved in 2013.

In a ruling issued Friday, the board said the Vermont Gas Systems has agreed to limit the potential increase in costs to ratepayers to 12.2 percent.

When the board first approved the project in 2013 its cost was estimated at $86.6 million. The price has since ballooned to $153.6 million.

Vermont Gas says the decision means the project will be able to deliver clean energy to thousands of customers.

Opponent Sandy Levine of the Conservation Law Foundation says it’s disappointing Vermonters will be saddled with high costs and pollution for decades.

In related news, State regulators again approve Keystone XL oil pipeline.

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