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Court may settle dispute over noise

The amount of sound coming from a natural gas compressor station in Wales may be settled in court.

National Fuel Gas Supply Corp. is seeking to have noise standards placed by the town on its compressor station rolled back and to have the town pay it an unspecified amount in monetary damages and attorney fees.

The company filed a legal challenge in federal court in January and served papers on the town this month to comply with procedural deadlines. Wales Town Board members Tuesday hired attorney Jeremy Colby of East Aurora to represent the town.

the town's enforcement of the overly restrictive noise conditions could interfere with our ability to provide reliable natural gas transportation service," National Fuel Vice President Ronald C. Kraemer said in a letter to Wales Supervisor Rickey Venditti.

National Fuel has permission from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and a building permit from the town, to build a compressor station on Reiter Road. Preliminary construction work has begun.

Town Board members and a number of residents have been fighting the proposal, saying the noise and emissions will disrupt the rural southern Erie County town.

The Town Board granted a special use permit for the project last December, setting several conditions, including noise levels.

"The conditions that the town put into the special use permit simply parroted what National Fuel came in and told the town it could do," Colby said.

National Fuel maintains the town cannot be more restrictive than the federal agency.

"Our goal with the lawsuit is to amend or remove the special conditions in the [permit] that are not consistent with the FERC certificate to avoid the risk of a suspension or revocation of our authorization to construct or operate the compressor station," Kraemer said in his letter to the supervisor.

The station will allow National Fuel to move a larger amount of gas produced in the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania to Canada.

Residents opposed to the proposal have vowed to continue the fight.

"We will continue to do what we can do," said resident Susan Everett. "We're not done yet. FERC said we can monitor the site ourselves Some of us are learning how to do air quality testing."

Southtowns Correspondent Nancy Gish contributed to this report.