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Pendleton residents air concerns about compressor

A standing-room only crowd of several hundred Pendleton residents voiced their disapproval of a proposed National Fuel compressor during a public hearing on the project Wednesday evening at Wendelville Fire Hall.

National Fuel has proposed a 22,000 horsepower compressor on residentially zoned land between Aiken and Beach Ridge roads in the town. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission held the meeting. Representatives from National Fuel were also on hand to answer questions.

The meeting began with a short presentation from Ronald Kraemer, president of Empire Pipeline, Inc. and vice president of National Fuel Gas Supply Company, two subsidiaries of National Fuel.

National Fuel Supply Company currently runs gas through the area at 400 to 500 pounds, while Empire runs gas at 1,000 to 1,200 pounds, Kraemer said. The compressor would allow the company to increase the pressure in the National Fuel Supply Company line and run it into the Empire line, Kraemer said, equaling the rate at which gas flows through the lines.

The project, which aims to deliver gas from the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania to the Northeastern United States and Canada, also calls for the replacement of nearly four miles of 16-inch pipes with 24-inch pipes. The compressor has to be located somewhere along that four-mile stretch, Kraemer said.

In recent weeks, residents have raised concerns about the impact the compressor would have on the town.

Kraemer tried to dispel some of the residents’ concerns, often drawing criticism from the crowd. “We weren’t notified,” a man yelled from the crowd when Kraemer brought up an August 2014 public meeting on the project.

No decisions were made at Wednesday’s meeting.

Wendelville Fire Chief Joel Maerten said he has concerns about the compressor from a public safety standpoint.

Numerous residents have asked if the fire company would know how to handle an emergency at the compressor, Maerten said.

“My answer is, no, I don’t,” he said.