WEST WYOMING — Concerned borough residents and officials can breathe a deep sigh of relief now that a natural gas company has decided not to pursue an appeal for permission to install a compressor station in the borough.
UGI Energy Services Inc. representatives informed borough council Monday that they will not seek to overturn the ruling that restricts the company from constructing the station.
Council President Eileen Cipriani said opponents’ efforts to stop the plans paid off. “We’re very excited. We tried very hard to keep this from happening,” Cipriani said Tuesday.
The company’s original installation plans were denied by the Luzerne County Zoning Hearing Board and, according Cipriani, the first steps of an appeal followed.
Although some Luzerne County municipalities have their own zoning boards, the county handles zoning matters for others, including West Wyoming, Cipriani said. During the process, the council has had to express its wishes through the hearing board.
“When this thing happened, it wasn’t really up to us,” Cipriani said. They had presented the board with a list of conditions to be met by the company if the board were to approve the station’s construction, she said.
“At the end of the day, it was really up to the county, and they denied it,” she said.
Community and council concerns centered on emissions that compressor stations produce, said Cipriani, but she also said a number of chemicals would be stored on site and the amount of timber-clearing needed could have posed a sediment problem.
Compressor stations are placed strategically along gas pipelines to keep the gas moving.
Representatives from UGI Energy Services were not available for comment Tuesday.
The company initially had cited possible benefits of the station such as improved services to the region and the potential to connect to the existing pipeline, known as the Auburn Line, which connects to pipelines in other states.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Adrian Merolli, director of the Luzerne County Planning Commission, said he had not received word about the company’s decision.
Concerning reasons behind the hearing board members’ decision, he said he would not comment, so as not to jeopardize any further decisions regarding the matter; however, he said representatives from both the county and the borough were each given the chance to make their cases.
“The zoning hearing board makes their decisions based on information provided by both parties,” Merolli said.
Cipriani said the company’s withdrawal arrived before an appeal hearing was scheduled.
It had appeared to her as if it was going to be a protracted legal situation. “I believe it was going to be a long, drawn-out appeal,” Cipriani said.