Text of an e-mail from Sarah Hofmann (Special Counsel, VT Department of Public Service) to Gene O'Brien with information permits for construction of the pipeline/power plant project. Reprinted with permission.

E-mail: Pipeline Permits

From: Sarah Hofmann <>
To: <>
Cc: <>
Date: Wednesday, September 08, 1999 12:04 PM
Subject: Pipeline permits

Dear Mr. O'Brien,

In my response to you of August 27, 1999, I declined to list the permits necessary for the proposed pipeline project for fear of leaving one out but that I would have the various agencies give me lists which I would then compile for you. What follows is a comprehensive look at the various permits that will be required if the pipeline projects were ever to become a reality. I do still want to add however, that with a project this complex I stil may have missed something but on the whole this certainly hits the lions share of the permits.

Please bear in mind that there really are four projects when we talk about the "pipeline project" - the interstate pipeline, the intrastate pipeline, the local distribution system, and the energy plants. I will break the permitting up into each of the project components.

The interstate portion of the pipeline would be needed for the connection from the New York pipe to the Vermont intrastate pipeline. This interstate portion would require a license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) pursuant to the the Natural Gas Act . That licensing process would involve among other things an environmental review in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. Iroquois (the New York pipe company) would need to apply to the Vermont Public Service Board (PSB) to obtain Vermont's position on the interstate portion of the pipeline. The PSB comes to an "opinion" on the interstate portion by using the criteria set forth in section 248 of Title 30. I believe I have sent you a summary of section 248 of Title 30 in a previous correspondence. The Department then represents the state at FERC.

If the construction of the interstate portion of the pipeline would likely result in discharge of sediment or other materials into state waters, Iroquois would also have to seek a water quality certification through the state. This state certification is required by the Federal Water Pollution Control Act , 33 U.S.C §1341 (Clean Water Act §401) The Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) would conduct that review.

The Intrastate portion of the pipeline needs a Certificate of Public Good under 30 V.S.A. §248. The Department of Public Service will coordinate with the various state agencies to investigate and present evidence on the criteria listed in section 248. Additionally the 60 mile proposed pipeline undoubtedly would cross rivers, streams, wetlands etc. The Federal Water Quality certification under §401 would once again be needed for this portion of the project.The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would also be asked for a "Dredge and Fill" permit under section 404 of the Clean Water Act. Specific Stream Alteration Permits (10 V.S.A. §1022) would be required for each stream crossed and Conditional Use Determinations (10 V.S.A. §905) for each state protected wetland that is crossed. If the intrastate pipeline is approved for construction an ROW for Route 7 would be required from the Agency of Transportation. If herbicides were ever considered for vegatative maintenance then the Right of Way Permit Program would be implicated through the Department of Agriculture. There also would have to be various approvals from the Division of Historic Preservation depending upon the pipeline route.

The local distribution system if it were to cross streams or wetland would need the same permits outlined above. Also, once again the Division of Historic Preservation might have a role depending upon the circumstances. Most importantly however the local distribution system would require Act 250 permits.

The energy plants would require a certificate of public good under section 248 of Title 30. Each plant would need a Major Source "Prevention of Significant Deterioration"(PSD) air pollution control permit. The Vermont ANR has been delegated the authority to review and approve/deny this federal permit. In addition the plants would require a Federal Title V Operating Permit. Vermont has been granted "full interim approval" to administer this permit program as well. The plants would also require wastewater/water supply permits under Title 10, chapter 61. If the siting of the plants included other environmental resources (e.g., wetlands) then the appropriate permits would also be needed.

I hope this is helpful. Please feel free to call me if you have any questions.

Sarah Hofmann, Special Counsel

Copyright © 1999 Vermonters for a Clean Environment
Updated: Friday, October 1, 1999