Last night Energy Justice Summer headed east to Milford, a small town in Pike County in northeast Pennsylvania. The reason? Nothing big — only tons of Milford residents turning out to say NO to a proposed compressor station expansion. Energy Justice Summer has been supporting the efforts of No Milford Compressor Station Expansion, a community group in Milford, PA, working to stop the expansion of an existing compressor station owned by Columbia Oil & Gas. The proposed station lies at the junction of the Tennessee and Columbia pipelines, and Columbia’s plan is to use it to pump massive quantities of gas straight down to the proposed liquified natural gas export facility near Cove Point, MD.
The gas industry is calling the project a simple “expansion”, but what’s really happening is they’re planning to tear down the existing station from the 1950s — which they’ve used at only a fraction of its capacity over the last decade — and build a massive new compressor station on the same site. Local residents have been driving the fight, but we’re providing extra capacity for canvassing, communications and outreach materials, and connections to other groups that can help. Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) doesn’t automatically grant public hearings for proposed infrastructure — so we decided to hold our own public hearing first and tell DEP loud and clear that residents oppose the proposed compression station expansion, and they want a chance to tell the public why.
Matt Walker and Sam Koplinka-Loehr from the Clean Air Council kicked off the meeting with an excellent presentation on the proposed compressor station and its potential air pollution impacts, and EJS Fellow Alex Lotorto followed up with an update on recent developments in the permitting process. Citizens voiced their concerns about the compressor station and discussed reasons they personally opposed the project, and then headed to a bank of laptops where they submitted public comments to the PA DEP requesting a public hearing. 15-20 residents submitted comments, and many more who weren’t able to be at the meeting are submitting comments online.
We’ll keep you posted on the No Milford Compressor Station fight, but tonight was an exciting step forward and a great moment for Energy Justice Summer!