The new 30 pieces of silver

Remember this?
New York State town supervisors & boards – do you want to be had by the short hairs?

Mt Pleasant supervisors had voted against MarkWest’s plans to expand their compressor stations.  Hickory’s been taking it on the chin from gas extraction, and the supervisors knew that more compressor stations were not in the community’s interests.

So Range Resources threatened lessors with the possibility that their royalties might be affected if the compressor stations couldn’t be built.  And the lessors fell for it and pressured the supervisors.  And the supervisors caved.

Mt. Pleasant officials OK compressing station expansions

HICKORY _ Two gas compressing stations in Mt. Pleasant Township got the OK to expand after supervisors voted 3-0 tonight on an agreement with MarkWest Liberty Midstream.

Supervisors approved an agreement that will allow the company to expand its Stewart and Fulton stations up to five compressors each.

MarkWest had been turned down by the zoning hearing board in May when it applied to expand the stations. The company processes natural gas for Range Resources.

. . . . .

Suggestions from residents that the township monitor the air for toxic emissions at the stations were not acted upon because officials said air monitoring is a matter handled by the state Department of Environmental Protection, not the township.

– Full story at Mt Pleasant Okays Compressors


Another report:

Mt. Pleasant OKs expansion plan for gas processor

HICKORY – A gas-processing company got approval Wednesday to expand two of its compressing stations after an agreement was worked out with the Mt. Pleasant Township supervisors.

Supervisors voted 3-0 to allow MarkWest Liberty Midstream to expand its Stewart and Fulton stations. The agreement sets a number of conditions on the company, including requiring it to control dust, place placards on company trucks and make sure the 911 center has current addresses for emergency response.

In response to residents’ suggestions that the township also undertake air monitoring at the stations, officials said that is a matter handled by the state Department of Environmental Protection. In May, the township zoning hearing board turned down a request from the company to expand the stations. Betsy McKnight, solicitor for the zoning board, said the township was able to intervene in the matter as an interested party.

Following Wednesday’s supervisors meeting, the zoning hearing board met to approve the agreement. Its chairman, Barry Johnston, called it “the only reasonable path” the township could take under the circumstances..

Supervisor Larry Grimm said the agreement was best for the township because it enabled it to place conditions on the company’s operations. Had the matter gone to court, the township could have lost that ability, he said.

MarkWest plans to expand the stations on Washington and Caldwell avenues to five compressing engines each. The company processes natural gas for Range Resources.

Resident Joanne Wagner said the DEP is monitoring air at four points around the county, including at the Stewart station. She said a report on the air quality will be available in August and asked that any decision wait until then.

Brian Simmons, an attorney for MarkWest, said if the DEP should find something wrong at the station, it would require the company to fix it. Christopher Rimkus, associate counsel with MarkWest Energy Partners, agreed and noted the DEP makes random, unannounced visits to the stations.

But Stephanie Hallowich, who lives near the MarkWest Stewart station as well as one operated by Laurel Mountain Midstream, said with the expansion she soon will live near eight compressors. She said while DEP does not allow an eight-compressor station, she may soon have that with two separate companies operating nearby. Hallowich also wants to have some type of alarm sound at the stations to notify neighbors in the event of an accident or emission at night. “It’s a huge concern to me,” she said.

Solicitor William Johnson said supervisors would not attempt to change the agreement at the last minute. “There have been weeks and weeks of negotiations leading up to this proposed agreement,” he said.

After the meeting, Grimm said he believed the agreement was the best way to protect residents, even though some would argue it wasn’t stringent enough and others would say it was too strict.
-Story published by the Observer-Reporter

The new 30 pieces of silver: MarkWest will pay the township $50,000 within 20 days and another $25,000 within a year to put its compressors in what is still zoned as an agricultural industrial zone.

Yes, $75,000 to the town buys the residents’ loss of property values, health and quality of life. And we all thought some things were priceless.