Residents Express Concern Over Susquehanna County Compressor Station
By Sandra Raub
Eleven visitors attended the Nov. 29 meeting of the Susquehanna County Planning Commission to voice concerns about the location of the Laser Northeast Gathering/Dr. John R. Shaskas compressor station. Laser is seeking approval for a compressor station to be constructed on a 153-acre tract of land owned by Shaskas along Route 706 in Fairdale, Jessup Township.
Members of the public who came to express their concern included owners of neighboring properties and several other county residents who have involved themselves in the on-going debate over gas industry issues on a regular basis, said Susquehanna County Planning Director Robert Templeton.
The concerns of note, as expressed by some visitors, are based on the proximity of the proposed compressor to some homes, which could allegedly affect property values. The visitors voiced their worries over air quality, noise pollution, and light pollution, each in turn, and a representative from Laser answered what questions he could, as well as offering to relay concerns to the home office, said Templeton.
The residents also asked why the station is to be sited so close to some houses and were told by the Laser representative that it was the only place Shaskas would allow it to go. According to Templeton, the site meets all county restrictions, including being at least 200 feet from water sources and 300 feet from any residence, and will be required to satisfy the county ordinance for sound of less than 50 decibels.
Regarding the sound pollution, it was explained that relocating the station to another site on the land tract would not necessarily alter the noise level, due to the way the sound will travel over the terrain. At one point, the group was asked by the commission’s chairman, Pat Ahearn, if they had voiced their concerns to landowner Shaskas. Templeton related that the group had not yet done so, and the chairman then suggested they do, in case Shaskas was not aware that his neighbors have issues.
Since the meeting, said Templeton, his office has received a call from Shaskas following up on the letter the office had sent him concerning the actions at the meeting. Templeton stated that Shaskas claimed that the site was actually chosen by Laser, and that he said he is willing to meet with the neighbors to at least listen to their concerns.
When the people had all spoken their piece, the commission chairman called for a motion on approval for the construction, but, although they could have approved the plan given that it met the requirements of the county’s ordinances, the commission opted to table the topic until the December meeting to give Shaskas time to make any changes, if the neighbors could convince him to do so.
A plan for a second compressor station to be constructed at the B&S quarry site in New Milford was given conditional preliminary approval, said Templeton. A team of engineers was on hand to answer questions concerning the plan, which came largely from the crowd that was there for the Shaskas plan as well as the planning commission questions. That construction will go forward as proposed, concluded Templeton.