Local legislators tour gas compressor site

State Sen. Lisa Baker, R-Lehman Township, talks with Chief Gathering LLC Operations Manager Steve Hamilton at Chief's Susquehanna East compressor station in Hop Bottom. Baker was on a fcat-finding mission over concerns about placing a compressor station in the Dallas area. TIMES-SHAMROCK PHOTO/ELIZABETH SKRAPITS

BY ELIZABETH SKRAPITS

Times-Shamrock Writer

Local legislators got an up-close and detailed look at a natural gas compressor station Friday that is similar to one proposed for Dallas Township.

State Sen. Lisa Baker, R-Lehman Township, her assistant Tom Yoniski, state Rep. Karen Boback, R-Harveys Lake, and her assistant Carol Sweeney toured Chief Gathering LLC’s Susquehanna East natural gas compressor station, which prepares natural gas from wells in Susquehanna County to feed into the Tennessee Pipeline and on to market.

Dallas Township and Dallas School District officials did not take part in the tour, which was open only to elected officials and the media. The township’s zoning hearing board and district officials had expressed interest in seeing a compressor station after last week’s hearing, but declined to go on the tour and postponed the second part of the hearing, which was scheduled for Feb. 23.

Zoning board members wanted more time to look at a revised application by Chief. Ted Wurfel, the company’s vice president of environmental, safety and regulatory affairs, said it would be submitted next week. He wouldn’t say what the changes were.

The three engines in the Susquehanna East station were quiet because the station was shut down Friday, but the Chief representatives admitted they could be noisy. The Susquehanna East station was outfitted with insulation on the walls to muffle the sound of the engine. The nearest buildings belonged to the farm on which Chief leased land for the station.

Chief Operations Manager for Appalachia, Steve Hamilton, pointed out numerous safety features throughout the facility, from the relief valves that shut down the entire station to the methane detectors and “fire eyes” stationed over each compressor.

“You’ll find this place is built more to shut down than to run,” he said.

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