Madison County residents are fighting a proposed natural gas compressor station to be located in Georgetown, saying they are worried it will be dangerous to their health.
The facility, along with one proposed in Horseheads, would be built along Dominion Transmission Inc.’s existing transmission pipeline. A compressor station helps push natural gas through underground pipelines, boosting efficiency.
The new station. proposed for a 31-acre site on Wilcox Road in Georgetown, would have 10,880 horsepower of new compression. The proposal calls for four buildings to be part of the compressor station project.
Dominion filed an application for the station with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in June 2014. It’s part of what Dominion is calling its New Market Project, which the company says would help improve access to natural gas for upstate New York customers.
The overall project would cost $159 million and increase gas transportation capacity along 200 miles of the existing pipeline, which runs through upstate New York. The gas comes from the Marcellus and Utica shale formations in the Appalachian region.
Dominion has indicated it wants to start construction in fall 2015.
Residents who live near the proposed compressor station – some of them in DeRutyer- say they are worried about toxic gases that would be released from the compressor station. They also are worried about noise and occasional explosions reported, they say, by others who live near existing compressor stations.
Dominion representatives dispute this, saying the environmental emissions and noise are all within allowable limits. They say the compressor station is necessary to help meet customers’ growing demand for natural gas.
More than 150 concerned residents have testified at recent hearings on the proposal – one held in November and another earlier in the year. The public comment period ended Dec. 5.
The Madison County Preservation group is among those calling for Dominion to complete a full Environmental Impact Statement, rather than a “fast track” review known as an Environmental Assessment.
Ruthanne Stone, a group member, said she would be able to see the compressor station from her front window.
“We are worried about the emissions,” she said. “My grandchildren, who live next door to me, play outside. We are worried about the neurological symptoms, nosebleeds and rashes from these emissions.
“We also are concerned that our home values will go down, and our homeowner’s insurance will either be canceled or cost us more,” she said. “Our group has done a lot of research, and we have gone to six other compressor station sites and talked to neighbors,” she said. “They tell us when the compressor station releases the gas, there is a huge boom, and it happens frequently.”
Cheryl Cary, who lives in Canastota, said she is opposed as well. “Fracked gas is poisonous and radioactive,” she said. “The compressor is toxic and noisy. We have hydro and solar power – we don’t need this.”
The Madison County Health Department has conducted a health study, which has been forwarded to FERC. Many other comments have been submitted to FERC.
FERC will review the comments submitted, and then other federal agencies can weigh in. FERC will make the final decision on the application.