Sunday, September 10, 2017

PSB article about #BombTrucks

Covers XNG's operation between Forest Lake, PA, Vestal NY, Manheim NY,
and the proposed NG Advantage terminal in Fenton.

Article is not bad! Jeff Platsky got many details right (which few outlets are doing)

1) Correctly describes XNG's interstate, bulk wholesale, "Pipe to Pipe" operation.
2) Correctly describes the facility as a "Compressor/Filling Station"
3) Alludes to some of the unique hazards of the trailers.

Only a couple of issues:

  • a) "No injuries" -- Article quotes a resident who is misinformed. The driver of the truck which rolled over 2/21/17, Allison Mayes, was seriously injured and may have a permanent disability.

  • b) "40'ft trailers"

    "Through the day and night, 40-foot tractors rumble down the winding and shoulderless 4-mile stretch to Pennsylvania state Route 267...."

    40' is the smallest of three different trailer types.

    By my estimation, XNG has about 50 trailers total:
    10 loading at all times at Forest Lake
    10 unloading at all times at Manheim
    11 loaded in transit outbound from Forest Lake 
    11 unloaded in transit outbound from Manheim
    6 are servicing "core customers"
    ~50 total est.

    Of these:
    ~25x are 40' Hexagon Titan trailers  (~360k scf)
    ~20x are 45' Quantum VP-Lite trailers (~470 scf)
    ~5 are 53' LightSail LightStore trailers (~470 scf)
Here's the article -- BH

Pa. township's gas facility mirrors Fenton's possible fate
Jeff Platsky, | @JeffPlatsky Published 2:20 p.m. ET Sept. 8, 2017 | Updated 2:29 p.m. ET Sept. 8, 2017

A public hearing at Fenton Town Hall on September 6, 2017 where residents had an opportunity to voice concerns over the planning board and its procedures. Patrick Oehler/Staff Video

(Photo: Jeff Platsky/Staff photo)

High on a hill in Forest Lake Township, Pennsylvania, an incongruous industrial facility operates on a road otherwise populated by weathered farm houses, single-family residences and lake homes.

The $19 million, 130,000-square-foot natural gas transfer station runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year in a bucolic section of Susquehanna County where farmland meets the dense forest.

On this plot of land, where once stood an open field and the only outstanding feature was an underground natural gas pipeline, a half dozen truck trailers are backed into a closed-off area where they are filled with natural gas. Red "no trespassing" signs are placed at the property's edge about every 20 feet. Employees question visitors walking along the outskirts of the property.

XNG's Forest Lake Township compressor/transfer station has been open since this past January, filling trailers with compressed natural gas from the Marcellus Shale for transport to a pipeline in Little Falls, NY. Jeff Platsky / Staff video

Through the day and night, 40-foot tractors rumble down the winding and shoulderless 4-mile stretch to Pennsylvania state Route 267 carrying compressed natural gas between the filling point and Little Falls, New York, where the gas is transferred into Iroquois Pipeline.

This is where America's thirst for cheap natural gas meets rural residents who only want to be left alone in their quiet surroundings.

On this hilltop northeast of Choconut, Pennsylvania, however, the sounds of nature have been replaced by the steady drone of industry. For the hundred or so residents living along North Road, the racket from trucks comes at all hours, on all days, even Easter Sunday.

"The truck volume is steady, said resident Tom O'Reilly, who notes he had to move his bedroom away from the road to keep from waking from the unyielding truck noise up and down North Road, which runs in front of his home. "I hear these trucks all night long."

Welcome to daily life in Forest Lake Township, where, for the past eight months, residents have lived with an industrial operation in the middle of what was until the beginning of this year their little heaven on earth.
Fenton fight continues

It is also a mirror of what might be in store for Port Dickinson and Hillcrest residents who are fighting NG Advantage's attempt to build a similar operation within a half-mile of their homes and a beloved community park.
On /Wednesday, opponents of a proposed natural gasBuy Photo

On /Wednesday, opponents of a proposed natural gas transfer/compression station confronted members of the Town of Fenton board to express their objections to the NG Advantage project on the West Service Road. The Fenton Town Board holds a public hearing on Wednesday, September 6, 2017 at Fenton Town Hall. (Photo: Patrick Oehler/Staff Photo)

The debate has caused deep divisions in this community northeast of Binghamton. Project opponents are alleging conspiracies among the officials who gave the nod to a 10-bay NG Advantage natural gas compressor/transfer station. They claim the planning board performed a hasty and shoddy review.

"They didn't divulge what was going on for months," said Maureen Sullivan, who has emerged as the leader of  a committed community group determined to halt the plant.

Fenton board hears an earful on gas facility

Planning board didn't take 'hard look' in NG Advantage approval, judge says

Fenton grants OK for natural gas facility

Approved by the Town of Fenton in the first-round review, the project now faces a more uncertain future based on the action of a group of residents and the Chenango Valley School District, who successfully challenged the town's original blessing.

Opponents won a significant victory two weeks ago when a state Supreme Court judge ruled the Town of Fenton performed a deeply flawed environmental review of the NG Advantage gas transfer/compression station. The decision threw the issue back into the hands of the town's planning board for a more complete and thorough study of the project's impacts on the community.

"Getting a (full review) is pretty big victory for an environmental group," said Carolyn Zenk, a Long Island-based environmental attorney.

By turning back the Town of Fenton Planning Board's original project approval, a state Supreme Court Judge set up a second review that will require an exhaustive environment assessment.

"We are back at square one," said Albert Millus, Town of Fenton attorney.
Homes evacuated

Among the elements to come under the new review are potential hazards from possible truck accidents.

Twice in the past year, portions of North Road were evacuated when trucks tipped over and gas was vented before the trailer was up righted. Both times, the entire length of North Road was closed.

"No one was hurt or injured," noted Robert Reichlen, also a North Road resident.

That may be of little solace to opponents of NG Advantage, who argue the proposed 10-bay filling station is too close to school and residential neighborhoods for a project with such hazards.
Residents fill the Fenton Town Hall for a public hearingBuy Photo

Residents fill the Fenton Town Hall for a public hearing on Wednesday, September 6, 2017 to express their opposition to the NG Advantage natural gas transfer/compression station on the West Service Road. (Photo: Patrick Oehler/Staff Photo)

Annoying backups at the West Service Road, Route 12A intersection will also be addressed in the impact statement, as well as water quality and a host of other environmental concerns.

Project sponsor NG Advantage will pay for the impact statement, a development that's already causing concern among opponents who argue the study will be biased and fail to fairly assess the plan's potential hazards.

"Unfortunately, the law allows the developers to prepare a draft impact statement," Zenk said, but it also requires a comment period and a possible public hearing on the document, key elements missing in the original review process.

For its part, NG representatives have long contended opponents are exaggerating the hazards for effect, and say the plan for the West Service Road shares many features with the numerous truck terminals and other industrial businesses along the same stretch of road. They also point to the 100 jobs that will be created at the site.

The Town of Fenton has yet to name a lead agency — the board that ultimately decides the project's fate — on the second review.

Zenk was baffled as to why the Town of Fenton Planning Board bypassed a full environmental impact statement in the original assessment.

"Just do the damn impact state," Zenk said. "Are you so afraid of what will public will say?"
Pipeline preferable?

A Broome County Planning Department review suggested — in 13 pages of itemized objections and 18 more of supporting documents — the NG plant would have "significant negative impacts" and recommended denial.

"I hope they stop them," said Larry O'Reilly, Tom's father and owner of Timberline Realty in Choconut. "I understand why those people are concerned. They should not be on the roads that weren't built for this kind of traffic."

The older O'Reilly says a half-dozen properties in close proximity of the Forest Lake Township natural gas transfer station on the market are drawing no interest. He believes the nearby industrial operation is the cause.

"There's not a person who wants these things around," Tom O'Reilly said.

Though nearby residents on North Road, Forest Lake Road and Ark Hollow Road vehemently objected to the XNG facility when it was first proposed one year ago, there was little they could do. Lax land use regulations and zoning laws limited the opposition from challenging the project in court.

That's where opponents of the NG Advantage station may have an upper hand. New York zoning laws are far more stringent than those for their now pressed-upon neighbors in Susquehanna County.

"This area was targeted because we didn't have zoning," Tom O'Reilly said.

XNG and NG Advantage are part of a new breed of natural gas enterprises — virtual pipelines — companies that truck compressed natural gas from existing pipelines to locations and facilities without access to the nation's natural gas infrastructure.

Virtual pipelines make gas "so mobile, so accessible," said Brad Gill of the Independent Oil and Gas Association of New York. "They fill a niche even the pipelines couldn't fill."

Trucks from the XNG site have been traveling through Broome County since the facility opened earlier this year, taking Route 26 to Vestal Road and on to Route 17 for the trip further north to Herkimer County.

"We have a general awareness of it," Broome County Emergency Management Services Director Michael A. Ponticiello said of the hazards of transporting compressed natural gas in trailers. "It happens all the time. We don't have any specific concerns as long as codes are followed."

Based on plans submitted by NG Advantage, the compressor and loading station will operate around the clock, filling 125 trailers daily. One of NG's larger customers is the International Paper plant in Ticonderoga, New York.

According to NG Advantage, the $18 million facility will house four, 500-horsepower compressors at its opening, with a maximum of 12. Up to 125 trucks a day will draw the compressed gas for delivery to industrial and commercial customers located away from the main 36-inch Millennium pipeline.

 "New York state puts a limit on pipelines, and this is what you get," Tom O'Reilly said.

He suspects if the Constitution Pipeline were allowed to proceed — the Department of Environmental Conservation quashed the Susquehanna County to Schoharie County project over environmental concerns about river crossings — the virtual pipelines would be unneeded.

Don't get Tom O'Reilly wrong. He has no beef against natural gas drilling or pipelines in his backyard, but he does have a problem with the work-around: virtual pipelines.

By Tom O'Reilly measure, New York took the short-sighted approach.

With virtual pipelines, he said, "New York state gets its road hammered and more dangerous highways."

Follow Jeff Platsky on Twitter @Jeff Platsky

May you, and all beings
be happy and free from suffering :)
-- ancient Buddhist Prayer (Metta)

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