On Monday April 11th, members of the National Fuel Accountability Coalition and roughly twenty East Aurora and Wales residents joined National Fuel and Federal Regulators (FERC) as they reviewed the site where National Fuel is proposing to build a compressor station.
Community members raised concerns regarding air quality, property values, and the proximity to Hunters Creek Park. National Fuel intends to start construction as early as next spring. The compressor station will pipe hydrofracked natural gas from the Marcellus Shale region of Pennsylvania, through East Aurora and Erie County. Also of concern, National Fuel submitted a motion to expedite the regulatory process, eliminating an oral hearing. Community members made a strong case to the regulators for the need for a Public Meeting.
Major Concerns with National Fuel’s Proposal
Compressor stations are known to emit Nitrous Oxides (NOx), Carbon Monoxide (CO) and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) which are confirmed by the Environmental Protection Agency to have harmful effects on people’s health. National Fuel’s filing demonstrates that they will not be using best practices in the East Aurora compressor station regarding protecting the health of neighbors from toxic emissions. A compressor station in Ellisburg, PA which is twice as big, emits almost a third the toxins. Half as big and three times as toxic is unacceptable for East Aurora and Erie County.
Proximity to Hunter’s Creek Park
National Fuel’s site is under a half mile from Hunter’s Creek Park where local residents enjoy hiking, picnicking, and bike riding. The construction and operation of an active compressor station in such close proximity will negatively impact the experience of the park for visitors. Would National Fuel take responsibility for increased noise and visual disturbances caused by the active compressor station? The only alternative site National Fuel proposed is the same distance from Hunters Creek and has a wetland on site. Every Erie County resident and East Aurora neighbor deserves the right to enjoy Hunter’s Creek Park.
Decreasing Property Values
In this volitle housing market, stabilized property values is vital to communities across the nation. Compressor Stations, because of the array of negative impacts on air quality, audio and visual disturbances are strongly associated with declining property values. In March of this year, the town of Dish, TX sued gas companies on behalf of residents who were unable to sell their property next to compressor stations. Their properties had become virtually valueless. As a result, Dish is seeking damages for their residents (read the full article here). East Aurora residents have invested in their town and deserve to not have it destroyed by National Fuel!
During the site review, National Fuel took four different positions on the link between hydro-fracking in New York State and the compressor station. First, they claimed there was absolutely no connection to hydrofracking but then acknowledged the station would be pumping hydro-fracked gas from PA through Erie County. Then they claimed the company had no plans to “frack” in NY because of the moratorium, then followed up by saying “fracking” is entirely safe and the company had been drilling in NY for forty years. Finally, and most astoundingly, a National Fuel spokesman claimed “National Fuel doesn’t drill.” National Fuel’s subsidiary Seneca Resources Corp. is one of the largest frackers in Pennsylvania. Building the infrastructure for expanded hydro-fracking through East Aurora and Erie County may not make sense.
Finally, National Fuel Gas and its subsidiaries have a long standing history of ignoring community concerns as evident most recently by the company’s recent attempts to block public discourse regarding their customer funded Conservation Incentive Program. The National Fuel Accountability Coalition works diligently to elevate community issues and hold the company accountable to community needs. Let the federal regulators (FERC) know how you feel about National Fuel’s plans to build a compressor station in East Aurora. The community deserves a Public Hearing now!
1. Create an Account: https://ferconline.ferc.gov/QuickComment.aspx
2. Enter the Docket Number: CP11-128
3. Submit your Comment!