By Lauren Zaepfel
There's growing concern in Wheatfield surrounding the effects of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's proposed glycol dehydration station off Liberty Drive.
During the Dec. 7 Town Board meeting, Town of Wheatfield Councilman Larry L. Helwig said FERC would take public comment until Dec. 19, though a public hearing has not been offered to Wheatfield from FERC or National Fuel despite requests.
Town of Wheatfield Supervisor Robert B. Cliffe sent a letter to FERC Sunday asking for an extension to the public comment period to allow time for residents to express concerns and obtain answers to their questions. (See related letter below.)
Last Wednesday, Helwig said approximately 50 residents attended a meeting on the issue at the town's Community Center, including Cliffe, Town of Wheatfield Councilman Gilbert G. Doucet, Legislator-elect Rebecca J. Wydysh and Assemblyman John D. Ceretto.
After the meeting, Ceretto released a statement announcing the launch of an online petition residents can sign to encourage the federal government to relocate the dehydration facility. (See full statement below.)
A rally expected to take place Wednesday evening was planned by a group made up of residents known as the Wheatfield Action Team. Jennifer Wozniak of Wheatfield is one of the organizers of the rally. Her residence is located near the proposed location of the dehydration station. Wozniak said the planned rally was meant to raise awareness among residents about the proposed dehydration station and possible health and safety hazards associated with it.
To submit comments to FERC, visit www.FERC.gov and click "eComment" to enter text or "eFiling" to submit documents. (Use docket No. CP15-115-000.)
Cliffe brings resident concerns on proposed dehydration station to FERC
The following is a letter Town of Wheatfield Supervisor Robert B. Cliffe submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Dec. 12.
I am writing on behalf of the Town Board of the Town of Wheatfield, New York regarding what is called the Northern Access Pipeline project by National Fuel Gas and Empire Pipeline.
One part of this project concerns putting a large dehydration station here in Wheatfield. To date, the developer has refused to hold any public meeting here in Wheatfield regarding this project. There have been three meetings next door in Pendleton, N.Y. However, these have hardly been advertised here in Wheatfield; most Wheatfield residents are just now learning of this gas dehydration system.
I have been asking for a public meeting here since I first met with National Fuel representatives in my office, perhaps in April of 2015. They are now saying that they are willing to meet with Wheatfield residents in a public forum, but not until after the comment period closes on Dec. 19.
In the short time since residents have taken notice they have found and presented a number of potential hazards, including the possibility of a disastrous explosion, emissions from combustion and noise from "events." There have also been some alternatives offered such as methanol injection. And finally, as this gas dehydrator is being done exclusively for exporting natural gas into Canada, why not put the dehydrator on Canadian soil?
Therefore what I am seeking is for FERC to extend the comment period until at least February, time for National Fuel to hear and respond to the concerns of local residents, and for these residents to send informed comments back to FERC for consideration.
Robert B. Cliffe
Wheatfield Town Supervisor
Ceretto: 'Say NO to Wheatfield Pollution'
Assemblyman John Ceretto, D-Lewiston, announced he launched an online petition for concerned residents to urge the federal government to relocate a proposed natural gas dehydration facility. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, along with National Fuel, is planning to construct a natural gas dehydration facility in the Town of Wheatfield that has the potential to spew toxic chemicals and pollute the surrounding community.
"The health and safety of residents in Wheatfield and surrounding communities is my first and foremost concern," Ceretto said. "My office is working with federal officials and local community members to tell the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that this facility should not be constructed in a residential area."
The link to the online petition can be found on Ceretto's website: http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/John-D-Ceretto/. It is titled "Say NO to Wheatfield Pollution."
In addition to launching an online petition, Ceretto authored a letter to FERC requesting an extension of its public comment deadline, which is scheduled for Dec. 19. Numerous residents expressed concerns about the proposed project at a Wheatfield Town Board meeting Wednesday night, many of whom were just learning of the proposal for the first time.
"It was clear at Wednesday's public forum in Wheatfield that too many residents have not been notified about the proposed dehydration facility, nor its potential hazards to the local community," Ceretto said. "The project must not move forward unless the residents of Wheatfield have had adequate opportunity to share their concerns and have them addressed in a proper fashion."
Residents are also encouraged to file a complaint with FERC by visiting the following website: https://ferconline.ferc.gov/QuickComment.aspx, Ceretto noted.