Reaction to Hungry Hill compressor station; are other sites more suitable?
The 10.8-acre site on Hungry Hill Road, on which the Millennium Pipeline Company would like to build a compressor station, reportedly came into the company’s possession after the company caused serious damage to the home on the property.
When Millennium replaced the existing pipeline with a larger one in 2008, The River Reporter printed several stories on Anna Andersen and Bill Zelop, who complained at the time that the company damaged their septic system and the foundation of their home. According to an email from Bruce Ferguson of Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy, who attended an informational meeting about a proposed compressor station on or near the parcel on which the couple’s former home is located, work on the pipeline at the time also contaminated the couple’s well beyond repair.
Now, various sources say the company ultimately purchased the property from the couple; Mike Armiak, a spokesman for Millennium Pipeline, said, “I think it was the same couple.”
The couple is no longer in the area and has reportedly signed an agreement not to talk about the matter. In a brief phone call, Andersen’s mother said, “She won’t talk to you. She signed a gag order.”
With that as background, about 65 residents, many of them part-time residents who live near Lake Delaware, turned out to an informational meeting regarding the proposed compressor station that Millennium wants to locate on or near the property.
Among the concerns of those in the neighborhood are the noise that would be generated by the compressor station and access by emergency responders on the narrow road to the site.
Additionally, many of those on hand doubt that Millennium ever seriously considered other sites, as required by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, because the site on Hungry Hill is perhaps the least expensive and most convenient for the location of the station.
Adding some weight to that supposition is reporting by The River Reporter in February that Gerald Euker, planning board chairman of the Town of Delaware, produced an email from Ken Sikorski, president of Eagle Land Services in New Jersey, who was reportedly doing work for Millennium. The email said, “The political climate in Sullivan County is not very warm for any gas company activities (mining, fracking, etc.), and although that is not [the] purpose for a new station, the county politicians are making it clear they will oppose any plan for a new compressor station.”
As it turns out, the climate on Hungry Hill, at least among some of the residents, is not much warmer.
Of seven possible sites for the station, ranging from Cochecton in Sullivan County to Deposit in Delaware County, Millennium revealed the following information:
• The Hungry Hill site is the smallest, at 10.8 acres; the next largest in size is one in the Town of Fremont, at 54.1 acres.
• The Hungry Hill site could be built with the shortest driveway, thus saving money for Millennium.
• The Hungry Hill site would come with the greatest wetland impact at 0.04 acres; four of the sites would have no wetland impact.
• The Hungry Hill site would require the crossing of two water bodies; two of the other sites would require crossing one water body each, and the other three would cross no water bodies.
• Hungry Hill is the only site Millennium is proposing for the project; the other sites are considered but “not proposed.” Four of the other sites were rejected, at least in part, because Millennium was “unable to come to an agreement with the owners of the property.”
One site was rejected only because of a lack of agreement with the owners. One of the reasons for rejecting the 81.4-acre site in Cochecton was that the “Indiana bat is known to occur in Sullivan County; therefore, development of this site could impact the Indiana bat or, alternatively, be subject to restrictions on tree clearing, which would impact Millennium’s construction schedule.”