By: John Dillon for VPR, Apr. 5, 2018

The Vermont Public Utility Commission wants an independent investigation into allegations of shoddy construction of the Addison natural gas pipeline.

In an order released on Wednesday, the commission noted that Vermont Gas Systems — which built the 41 mile project — has already agreed to an outside review of its construction practices.

Rachel Smolker, a project opponent from Hinesburg, pored over state records and the company’s own documents to raise many of the concerns, including improper construction techniques and a failure to document safe construction practices. She was pleased by the commission’s order.

“We’re very grateful and that’s exactly what we asked for. And that is what makes sense,” she said. “The concerns about construction that we brought to the PUC’s attention are multiple and they represent compounded risks that the public shouldn’t have to bear the burden of.”