Sunday, December 18, 2016

Staycation (Part One of a Collection of Entry Orders in Three Acts)

In re Petition of Vermont Gas Systems, 2016 VT 132 (mem.)

By Elizabeth Kruska

Vermont Gas wanted to condemn a horizontal easement through Geprags Park and construct an underground pipeline. Park users asked the Public Service Board for a stay, halting the project pending litigation. Vermont Gas appealed.

SCOV looked at the factors needed for such a stay. First, there has to be a likelihood that the party asking for the stay will prevail on the merits. Second, the court must consider irreparable injury to the moving party, then also the threat of irreparable injury to the nonmoving party. Last, the court considers the public good.

The Public Service board had granted the easement condemnation and allowed the project to go forward. It took evidence and learned that the impact on Geprags Park would be fairly limited, and would not disrupt above-ground recreation.

SCOV says that the merits of the case don’t seem terribly strong (not that they are tainting their opinion for the future if there’s an appeal, but at this point it doesn’t seem strong), and that there would be significant injury to Vermont Gas if they couldn’t go forward with the project due to having gotten a significant bond to fund it. Last, there would be a positive impact on the economy to allow the project to go forward.

So, the stay is vacated.

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