By Mike Pidanick
For months now, residents in Pendleton have grown increasingly concerned about National Fuel's plans to build a pipeline and compressor station in the town. But now, those concerns have crept across the border into Wheatfield.
The location of the proposed 22,000-horsepower compressor station and compressor hasn't officially been determined, but rumors indicate it could be as close as a mile from the Wheatfield border.
Residents of both towns spoke up during Monday's Wheatfield Town Board meeting at Town Hall, and board members are already ready to take action.
"We are certainly trying to rise against this Goliath in our town and it's going to be affecting your town as well," said Lisa Lemieux, a member of the Pendleton Action Team.
"I would ask that the town board here in Wheatfield to really consider joining forces with the town board of Pendleton."
The site on Killian Road in Pendleton is one of the suggested areas of the plant that would deliver natural gas from Marcellus Shale from Western Pennsylvania into parts of Canada. That has residents of multiple towns upset.
"If they're going to move it there, they're moving it closer to Wheatfield," said Larry Helwig, Wheatfield councilman. "Not only are they going to have people in Pendleton up in arms, they're going to have a whole bunch of people in Wheatfield, too."
Concerns have been growing for months from Niagara County residents. With the plant operating 24 hours a day, folks are worried about vibration, noise, smell and more.
Much of the fight may very well be held in Washington. National Fuel expected to inform the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in the near future about the expected location of the compressor. Two meetings have been held in Pendleton and that has brought overflow attendance from the community -- and Wheatfield is involved in the fight as well.
"This is something that is closer to Wheatfield than we would like," Town Supervisor Robert Cliffe said. "Certainly, we want to get together with our Pendleton friends the best we can."
Residents of both towns will have the chance. A meeting is planned to discuss the issue at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 2, at the Wendelville Fire Hall.
Several Wheatfield residents also expressed concerns about a proposed cell tower on Shawnee Road. However, since the site is on private property, this is currently a planning board action.
"Individually and as a group, we took a look at those cell towers," Cliffe said. "We've had a presentation here and discussed the locations in sites in question ... one is kind of onerous, the other three have some potential ... we have a long way to go before anything is approved."
The board also unanimously agreed to reject all offers - including the lowest qualifying offer from Ground Effects -- to provide landscaping for Town Hall until the issue can be further developed.
The next meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Sept. 14 at Town Hall.