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Planners voice pipeline concern

Published March 17. 2016 04:00PM

The Carbon County Planning Office is again voicing its reservations about PennEast pipeline's plan approval application to the Department of Environmental Protection for a compressor station in Kidder Township.

This week county planner Ivan O. Meixell reviewed a letter from David Bodnar, director of Carbon County Planning and Development, about the application.

The application calls for installation of three new Solar Mars 100 natural gas-fired compressor turbine-compressors, a natural gas-fired emergency generator and ancillary heating equipment on 70-plus acres between Route 940 and Interstate 80 in the township.

This compressor station is part of the proposed pipeline that will traverse through Penn Forest, Kidder, Towamensing and Lower Towamensing townships in Carbon County as it connects the Marcellus Shale natural gas processes in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Bodnar said that based on Meixell's review of the application, it has been determined that there are inconsistencies in the plan.

"The letter we are sending to DEP says the project is not consistent with the adopted county or multicounty comprehensive plan and is not in compliance with the various Kidder Township, DEP and/or U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ordinances or regulatory requirements."

Meixell said he has made attempts to call the company but has not had many phone calls returned. He spoke to one man who said he didn't know anything with regard to the project.

"They seem to be running wild," he said.

He also said the Carbon County Planning Commission and Kidder Township Supervisors never received plans for the pipeline project for review with regard to this project.

Based on Meixell's review, the letter outlines additional concerns about the proposed compressor station.

"The proposed site is land recommended for natural resource protection," the comments state.

"The proposed pipeline will enter the northern boundary of Kidder Township through a designated natural area (Francis E. Walter Dam) and pass through or near other designated natural areas (Leonardsville Swamps, Mosey Wood Wetlands, Lake Harmony, Big Boulder Lake and the Mud Run Natural Areas). These areas are also designated in the Carbon County Comprehensive Plan and Greenway Plan."

Several items in the application are marked as "serious concerns that in our opinion should be addressed by the developer before plan approval of the proposed compressor station."

Items include having 34.7 acres of earth disturbance on the 70-plus acre site; discharges and operations with regard to water, sewer and air; and the 1,100 gallons of gas pipeline fluids that will be stored temporarily in an aboveground tank before disposal.

The letter will be sent to DEP for inclusion in its final determination.

Last month, Meixell reviewed a letter from Bodnar about PennEast's DEP general water permit application for the project.

He took exception with the company's narrative, which states that the project is designed to provide the lowest cost of natural gas produced in the Marcellus Shale region in Pennsylvania and adjacent states.

"There is not one home in Carbon that will receive any of this natural gas," Meixell said last month. "In fact, when I was on the 'Stop the pipeline' site online, every township in Carbon from Kidder, all the way down to New Jersey, is protesting this. They don't want this to happen."

He took specific exception to one question in the first application.

The question asked if the proposed project meets the provisions of the zoning ordinances or does the proposed project have zoning approval.

"They checked yes," Meixell said. If "yes" is checked, attached documentation showing the zoning approval should be attached. No documentation was received for review.

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