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Public Hearing on East Aurora Compressor Station Draws a Crowd | Business

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Public Hearing on East Aurora Compressor Station Draws a Crowd
Public Hearing on East Aurora Compressor Station Draws a Crowd


From a Statement Released by the Concerned Neighbors Network

On Monday night the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) held a public hearing in response to requests by residents about National Fuel Gas's proposal to build a compressor station on Reiter Rd on the Wales/Aurora border.  Over 125 people came to the meeting at Parkdale Elementary School in East Aurora, including several elected officials, to ask questions and to voice their concerns about the proposed compressor station.

In the first part of the hearing, the FERC representatives explained their environmental review process. Many residents questioned whether it was possible to stop a project like this compressor station.  Mike Simon, a Wales Town Board member, asked where FERC would get the environmental data for their Environmental Assessment. Residents expressed concern that FERC was relying solely on data provided by National Fuel Gas. Other residents asked whether the representatives from FERC had ever seen an application for a compressor station rejected; the FERC staff had seen it a couple times, but no official figures were given.

In the second part of the hearing, representatives of National Fuel Gas gave a presentation about the project about many of the issues residents had already expressed.  During this presentation, Michael Kasprzak, of National Fuel, stated that, because of the increase in Marcellus shale gas development and along with current pipeline positions, western NY could turn into a hub for natural gas transportation and infrastructure.

The final part of the public hearing and according to FERC, the meeting’s purpose, was a public comment period. There were no comments in favor of the compressor station. A variety of arguments against the planned construction were expressed. 

Some, including the Genesee Valley Conservancy and the Western New York Land Conservancy, were concerned about the impact on nearby protected greenspace. Many others were concerned about the effect on residential property values. 

Air emissions were a concern for many residents.  Sarah Buckley of the Concerned Neighbors Network pointed out that the Ellisburg PA compressor station to be built as part of this project was projected to give off half the emissions of the proposed EA station even though it was double the size. Many residents were concerned about the noise implications of the station.

Jim  Dombrowski of Reiter Rd expressed concern about the expansion of natural gas activities in the area; “future infrastructure expansions at this station (more and higher hp engines, larger facilities, more emissions and noise) to accommodate Marcellus increased gas production, would further compromise the issues and concerns presented today.”

Many residents expressed the concern that the community did not truly have a voice in this issue and that corporate money and power would dictate the placement of this station.  Rick Vendetti, supervisor of the town of Wales was concerned about the lack of benefit to those neighbors who are not on a gas pipeline said he would do whatever it takes to protect the town from any harm posed by the compressor station. 

The meeting closed with FERC representatives pointing out that they welcome further comments submitted in writing to their office or electronically at their web site.

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