Clean Air Council Featured in Timesleader Article: Public raps compressor station

 WILKES-BARRE - Testimony on the application of UGI Energy Services, Inc. for zoning approval to build a natural gas compressor station in West Wyoming concluded just before 1 a.m. Wednesday, following more than five hours of testimony. Citing the need for time to review and consider the volume of evidence presented, the board did not issue a decision Wednesday morning.

UGI is seeking to build a compressor station in an A1 Agricultural District off Fire Cut Road to pressurize gas entering the Transco interstate pipeline and into the distribution network of UGI's public utility arm. It needs special exception approval for the station and a variance for a 100-foot communications tower to transmit data to the Transco pipeline.
Some testimony presented after the press deadline very specifically questioned whether the compressor could be allowed in an agricultural zone under the Luzerne County Zoning Ordinance.
Several of those who testified, including Exeter councilman and planning commission member Lawrence J Dellegrotto, said UGI is seeking to classify the compressor station as a utility building and yard or an accessory building, which in an agricultural district is an accessory to another use. The compressor station is not an accessory but is the primary building UGI intends to build, Dellegrotto said. He also noted that the station would be a permitted use, not requiring a special exception, in an M1 Industrial District.
“They are processing gas,” Dellegrotto said. “The use is not agricultural. Are they planting? Are they storing grain? The use is industrial.”
Dellegrotto also said a variance should only be granted on a hardship created by the plot on which the building is located.
“They can't create the hardship; the lot must create the hardship,” he said. “They should be denied. They could use satellite instead.”
Nancy Dolan of Exeter noted that UGI's project description states that UGI wants to construct a utility yard and utility buildings, not a single building. The Luzerne County Zoning Ordinance uses the term “utility building,” and does not leave room for multiple structures. She said UGI's request for a special exception should therefore be denied.
Matt Walker of Clean Air Council said the station does not fit into the overarching mission of the Luzerne County Comprehensive Plan, which aims to minimize the impact of natural gas activities in the county.
Board Solicitor Stephen Menn said the board would issue a decision at its next meeting, Tuesday, September 4 at 7 p.m. at the Luzerne County Courthouse.
Menn said no testimony would be accepted on that date, but the board will accept written summaries of the arguments against the compressor made Tuesday evening until August 27.