A decision as early as next week by Myersville’s mayor and council on whether to allow a proposed natural gas compressor station in the town will bring one phase of the controversy to an end.
But a federal regulatory agency will have the final word on whether to allow the construction of the facility, which would be owned by the Virginia-based energy company, Dominion Transmission.
The town will have a public hearing on Aug. 1 for residents to discuss the issue, with a vote expected to be taken that night, according to town officials.
The application by the Richmond, Va.-based Dominion would construct a 16,000-horsepower station on 21 acres at the intersection of Md. 17 and Milt Summers Road. The facility would work as a pumping station, providing more pressure to move natural gas in the pipeline.
The plan has drawn opposition from some town residents, who have voiced concerns about possible safety and environmental dangers that could result from an accident at the compressor station, as well about using the land for industrial purposes rather than something more beneficial to the town.
In March, an explosion damaged a compressor station near Scranton, Pa. The blast shook homes as far as a half-mile away, but damage was contained to a building on the site, and no one was injured, according to the Scranton, (Pa.) Times-Tribune.
Dominion spokesman Chuck Penn wouldn’t speculate on what the company might do if the town voted against the project. He said the company has tried to make sure it provided the community with all the information it needs, and addressed any questions and concerns that have arisen.
“Beyond that, we’ll just have to wait and see how things play out,” he said.
Myersville Town Planner Brad Dyjak said a vote on the proposal is likely on Aug. 1, depending on how long the public hearing takes. The hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Town Hall.
But no matter what the town decides, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission could ultimately overrule their decision, Dyjak said.
“That’s the million-dollar question,” he said.
If that happens, the town would be able to request a hearing before the regulatory commission to appeal the decision. After that, there would be legal avenues for the town to request a review of the commission’s decision, Dyjak said.
There is no timetable for when FERC will make a decision.
The commission examines many factors in making its decision, including environmental assessments and any comments that have been submitted, FERC spokeswoman Tamara Young-Allen said.
“They weigh every argument,” she said.