On May 1, I attended the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection hearing on the planned expansion of a natural gas compressor station in Smith Township. I would like to say that I disagree with the article printed in the Observer-Reporter regarding the hearing. According to the Observer Reporter, “Members of the audience were split, with a slightly larger portion of the presenters in favor of the gas industry.”
This statement is not accurate.
By my count, and anyone else who attended the hearing can attest, there was a nearly 5-to-1 ratio in favor of the MarkWest compressor station, with approximately 25 people speaking in favor of the plan, and just six opposing, and most of those speaking against were professional activists or not from Smith.
In addition to Smith residents voicing their support, residents from neighboring Robinson and Cecil townships also attended to voice their support. This project, once approved, will benefit all mineral owners in Washington County, not just those living in Smith.
The natural gas industry has been drilling in our area for a few years now, and without the compressor stations and added infrastructure, we cannot bring our gas to market. In addition to the royalties going directly to landowners and impact fees to the local community, the natural gas industry has also brought many jobs to local residents.
We’ve researched the technology and had no issues with compressor stations. This is a safe and well-regulated part of American energy.
This has been a win-win situation for everyone living in the area, and it’s time to support the continued expansion of responsible natural gas development in our region.