By Dan Hust
HORTONVILLE Seeking to increase its capacity to carry natural gas from burgeoning sources in Pennsylvania, Millennium Pipeline is looking in Sullivan County for a spot to site a compressor station.
“In fact, we are looking in both Delaware and Sullivan at several sites,” confirmed Millennium spokesman Tom Collins on Friday.
Around 45 potential locations have already been scouted, he said, as the company prepares for new contracts with customers in Pennsylvania and the potential for drilling in New York.
No site has yet been chosen, Collins explained, adding that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) requires companies to prepare a list of alternative sites.
The Millennium Pipeline traverses western and southern Sullivan County, running through the townships of Fremont, Delaware, Cochecton, Bethel, Tusten, Lumberland and Forestburgh.
Currently, Millennium’s only compressor station is located far upstate near the pipeline’s starting point in Corning.
A compressor in Minisink in Orange County is proposed but has met with local opposition.
Whether a similar proposal in Sullivan County would engender the same level of controversy might depend on the actual site the geography of which Collins said will also dictate how large the station will be.
The Town of Cochecton, for example, battled with the company over road damage during the pipeline’s recent reconstruction, leaving bitter feelings with some locals.
Supervisor Gary Maas said he has heard of one or two propertyowners being approached by Millennium for a potential site.
The neighboring Town of Delaware indicated it may welcome such a facility.
“There are some places in this town where you could put that out of the way, and it would be a real asset to the town,” said Delaware Planning Board Chairman Gerry Euker at last week’s town board meeting.
Euker said he had been approached recently by a landman interested in acreage he has along the pipeline’s route through the township. He was told his land was not suitable but not told why he guessed it’s because of some steep slopes.
But he and the town board agreed that Delaware is not automatically opposed to a compressor station within its boundaries, and Supervisor Ed Sykes asked Euker for the landman’s e-mail address so he could personally follow up on the matter.
Collins told the Democrat that the proposal is only in the very preliminary stages.
“Right now our total focus is on the one in Minisink,” he said.
He affirmed that a Sullivan County version would look similar.
According to the company’s website, www.millenniumpipeline. com, the Minisink compressor station is planned to host two 6,130-horsepower gas turbines to increase pressure and thus the amount of gas flowing through the pipeline.
An 85'x70' building would be constructed to house the turbines, with two stacks climbing 52 feet. A separate control building would measure 36'x90' and stand 21 feet tall.
The website states that the noise level would not exceed 55 decibels at the edge of the 10-acre property “approximately that of a normal office environment or conversational speech,” it says.
Millennium also states the $43 million project will create 75 jobs during construction and be “whisper-quiet” once in operation, but the proposal has drawn organized resistance in Orange County.
The website stopmcs.org indicates much of the opposition is related to a plan to site more than one station in the vicinity. There are also pollution concerns, whereas Millennium states that the facility will not emit odors or negatively affect local air quality and human health.
The company will have to prove that to FERC before it gets federal approval to proceed.