Friday, July 23, 2010

Residents Opposed to Gas Metering Station in their Neighborhood

Cooper Hill Compressor, Van Etten NY. (photo by Frank Patterson)
Vestal, NY -- Despite the lack of notification, about 60 residents crammed into the Vestal Town Hall last night for a Zoning Board of Appeals meeting. On the agenda: whether the town should allow Inflection Energy LLC to  construct a natural gas metering station that would measure and depressurize gas before connecting with NYSEG pipelines. Construction of the station would require a "use variance" from the current zoning laws because the proposed location is along Owego Road near the Vestal Parkway, a residential area. 

Inflection Executive Vice President Scott Zimmerman showed up - 30 minutes late - to represent the company, though there was some uncertainty about whether he could officially represent the parent company, MegaEnergy. And, according to comments from those who attended, he stood with his back to the public and mumbled his way through the presentation. Residents had great difficulty both hearing and understanding what he was saying. 

Inflection hopes to run a pipeline to the proposed station from gas wells the company plans to drill once the state begins permitting high-volume horizontal fracking in the Marcellus shale. The gas will be pressurized at the station and then sold to NYSEG. Inflection has already acquired drilling rights to about 800 acres near the Owego Road site and, according to Zimmerman, they've already drilled a vertical test well. 

Although the meeting was originally scheduled to last 20 minutes, the zoning board remained for nearly 3 hours allowing citizens an opportunity to voice their concerns about noise, traffic, potential accidents and aesthetic issues related to the proposed project.

At the end of the meeting the board proposed that Inflection move the facility further back on the property and up a hill near near a town water tank. The currently proposed site is situated in the midst of houses. But, said one person after the meeting, Zimmerman would not compromise. 

Read more about the meeting here, and about the company's proposal to lease county land for drilling here and here.

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