Maryland’s two U.S. senators sent a joint letter Thursday to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission concerning a proposed natural gas compressor station in Myersville.
Sens. Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski wrote about the station, proposed on Milt Summers Road by Dominion Transmission Inc.
The senators wrote that an explosion at a gas compressor station near Artemas, Pa., on Nov. 3 “served as a timely reminder of the risks of locating such stations near homes, schools and businesses.”
The senators wrote they had received numerous comments from residents in Myersville and the surrounding area about potential negative impacts on the environment, noise, agriculture, safety and cultural resources.
“We have encouraged residents to be actively engaged throughout the scoping process and environmental assessment” of the proposed site and station, the senators wrote.
The senators also urged FERC officials to commit to involving all people interested in identifying and resolving issues, and evaluating possible alternatives.
“We are confident that FERC will go beyond meeting the minimum requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act in considering this proposal,” the senators said.
The proposed $55 million station, which would boost natural gas flowing from Pennsylvania through to northern Virginia, would be located on a 22-acre site and include three buildings. One of the buildings would include a 16,000-horsepower compressor. Dominion said the compressor would run only at limited times when extra pressure is needed to boost the natural gas flow south.
The company began looking for a site in 2008 and purchased land on Marker Road near Middletown. That proposal, and a later proposal to locate the station in Jefferson, drew substantial opposition from residents.
The latest proposed site had drawn letters questioning the location from the Frederick County Commissioners and Rep. Roscoe Bartlett.
“We are actively responding to the issues,” said Dan Donovan, director of media relations for Dominion, in a telephone interview on Thursday.
Dominion has to turn in its responses to questions from citizens and FERC by Dec. 7.
“We are preparing the documents (for FERC) and will dispel misconceptions about the potential impacts,” Donovan said.
The proposal is in pre-filing status and a review by FERC is already under way, FERC representatives said at a meeting in November. If FERC decides to move forward with the process, an in-depth environmental assessment will be made on geology, soil, land use, water quality, wildlife and vegetation, cultural resources and public safety.