Tensions High Over Compressor Plan

By Erika Mahoney

Tensions High Over Compressor Plan

January 9, 2013 Updated Jan 9, 2013 at 3:38 PM EDT

Montrose, PA (WBNG Binghamton) A natural gas project near a Susquehanna County school district gets the go ahead from county planning officials, but the vote was accompanied by plenty of protest.

More than 100 people came out to urge the planning board to prevent the construction of a third Williams compressor in their backyards.

Resident after resident stood up to share their concerns, most of which revolved around safety and the compressor's proximity to the Elk Lake School District.

There was yelling, applause, and even tears as they urged the board to vote down the plans, or at least table the vote.

"What's happening here is a travesty," said Meryl Solar. "We will not be able to live here when all is said and done unless better technologies are put in place."

These residents did not win their fight.

The planning board unanimously approved plans for the compressor.

The chairman said he doesn't like to see so many residents so upset, but the plans don't violate any codes.

Residents still wondered why Williams needs a third compressor.

A Williams representative said the situation is not out of the ordinary.

"It's not unusual to have compressor stations in the gathering fields that are not that far apart," said Corporate Communications Specialist Helen Humphreys. "The reality is, they are a necessary process of gathering up the gas and preparing it to make it pipeline quality so they can be moved to market and ultimately to warm people's homes and the power industry."

Tuesday's approval by the planning committee is preliminary.

It's the latest in a series of steps. Williams still needs to obtain permits from several local and state organizations.