The Zoning Board of Appeals in the Town of Fenton in Broome County wants some time to go over information before deciding whether a proposed natural transfer station can move forward.
The hearing lasted more than three hours. Around 200 people showed up to the Port Crane Fire Department on Tuesday and many of them were against the station.
The company, NG Advantage, wants to build the station to tap into an existing pipeline, put the gas on trucks and transport to places where cheap fuel isn’t as available. This is the second time they’ve gone through the approval process. The project was approved last spring, but a Supreme Court Judge in Broome County struck it down. He ruled that the town didn’t follow the proper procedures.
In the fall, the Fenton Town Building Inspector said the proposal does qualify as a truck terminal, which would allow it to go through. Some residents, a local church and the Chenango Valley School District appealed that decision and want the board to overturn that decision.
Many opponents wore white shirts that read “No Compressor Station Fenton, New York” in red and black writing. One resident said transporting gas should not be considered the same as transporting other goods. She thinks it’s more dangerous.
Others took exception to branding the station a truck terminal. They said it should be called a compressor station because some gas will be compressed there.
“I don’t think our zoning, and our comprehensive plan collectively, are intended to have a company come in, throw 70 pages worth of legalese hogwash at our boards to say ‘Okay, an apple’s an orange,'” said Maureen Singer, a resident and one of the appellants.
“We know the difference, we know that’s not a trucking terminal, regardless of how many pages of documents they throw at us.”
Mary Jo Bowie lives near the site of the proposed station. She told the board that she feels like the definition of what is a trucking terminal needs to be more clear.
“Simply, I just challenged them to look at the federal code of rules and regulations, under the transportation section, for definitions of trucking terminals versus compression stations,” Bowie said.
Meanwhile, NG Advantage isn’t worried. “We’re confident that ultimately they’ll rule in our favor and we’re happy that they had a long deliberation and that the the public had an opportunity to be heard and that we had an opportunity to be heard and we look forward to their final decision,” said spokesman Morgan Hook.
NG says the project will bring jobs and boost the economy. The company also had supporters at the meeting. A handful of people wore green shirts that read “Say Yes To Clean Fuel” in white writing.
And even some opponents agreed with part of that. Some said they weren’t against natural gas, they’re just against this site. When asked about that, Hook said NG Advantage is committed to the current location.
The board will reconvene in coming weeks to finish the discussion.