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Protect Our Air: Take Action on the Barto Compressor Station! E-mail your comment by October 17 2011 5 PM

October 14, 2011

The unanimous Philadelphia City Council vote October 13th means we can lobby, get the tangible outcome we want, and win. Everyone did a great job with phone calls, visits and in-person support; thank you!  Now here’s a short, urgent campaign fast on the heels of the City Council win:  just send one email by Monday at 5 PM.  This is every bit as important.  Let’s protect our air, protect our own and our neighbors’ health, and send hundreds of comments by Monday October 17th at 5 pm.

As soon as possible, please write your email to PA DEP using the sample letter and format below.   Note:  Anyone from the tri-state area of Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey can write an email because you may value visiting clean and scenic areas of PA; you may want to breathe clean air yourself; and you may care about climate-scorching greenhouse gas emissions.
What to demand:  A public hearing, and stricter regulations before the new compressor station (named “Barto”) goes online and begins emitting greenhouse gasses, formaldehyde and other toxic, noxious air emissions.  The Volatile Organic Chemicals this station would be permitted to emit include benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene; it will also emit nitric oxide, which contributes to smog, acid rain, and health-harming ground level ozone.  Carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, particulate matter… the list goes on.
Compressor stations are part of Marcellus Shale gas drilling.  They have already contributed to the increase in asthma and other health problems out West, where they have been operating longer.  They are not regulated as an aggregate, as they should be; the existing regulations fail to address their real-life impact on air quality, climate, and health.
This particular compressor station is in Penn Township, Lycoming County.  The letter below was developed in careful consultation with the Clean Air Council’s Matt Walker as well as concerned residents of “shale country.”
Sample letter follows.  Please email all letters by 5 PM Monday Oct. 17th to mzaman@state.pa.us
Your name, address, and phone number

October ___, 2011

Email to: “Mr. Zaman” mzaman@state.pa.us

Muhammad Q. Zaman, Environmental Program Manager

Department of Environmental Protection

Air Quality Program, North-central Regional Office

208 West Third Street, Suite 101

Williamsport, PA 17701

Re: Chief Gathering, LLC, Plan Approval No.: 41-00078C

Dear Mr. Zaman,

I am a concerned citizen and have several points and suggestions to make about the proposed additions to equipment at the Barto Compressor Station, including concerns about the potential environmental and health impacts. For instance, VOCs and nitrogen oxides from natural gas operations mix to produce ground-level ozone, which causes a variety of respiratory problems including asthma. The emission of hazardous air pollutants is linked to elevated levels of cancer and neurological health issues.

I support the DEP’s decision to regulate the Barto Compressor Station under a Title V permit due to the Greenhouse Gas Tailoring Rule, requiring specific technologies to reduce air emissions. While these technologies decrease pollution, the DEP should require even more efficient equipment, including commercially available Best Control Technologies and Best Management Practices, that would bring emissions closer to zero (the ideal target). Please see the extensive lists and presentations about recommended technologies and practices on the EPA’s website for some specific ideas (http://www.epa.gov/gasstar/tools/recommended.html). 

I am happy to see that there are emissions monitoring requirements for specific pieces of equipment, but why can’t the DEP require monitoring past the proposed 120 days? It is imperative to test the quantity of pollutants coming from natural gas equipment rather than just calculating it. I urge the DEP to require constant air monitoring on equipment for the entire operating life of this station.

In addition, I urge the DEP to perform a proper aggregation analysis to determine the cumulative effects of all equipment and to ensure that emissions are kept under the thresholds set for major sources. This will help protect the air and health for communities close to the Barto Station, those living down-wind, and other Pennsylvania and regional residents.  

I am requesting that DEP hold a public hearing for this permit application.  Chief has applied for a lot of permits in this region, and I’m concerned about the cumulative impacts of all the natural gas processing equipment.  A hearing would provide more opportunity for the public to comment.  More people would attenc who might not necessarily send in written comments.  A public hearing may be the DEP’s most efficient way to respond to public comments; people can have their concerns answered directly and instantly.  I am also very interested to hear the responses to my comments.  I’d appreciate the opportunity to have an open dialogue about these issues.  

Thank you for this opportunity to comment.  Please keep me updated on any actions related to Plan Approval No. 41-0078C.  

Sincerely,

Name

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Note:  If you have a few minutes, please customize the letter using the pointers below!

Include your address, Mr. Zaman’s name and address as above, and email to “Mr. Zaman” mzaman@state.pa.us

Re: Chief Gathering, LLC, Plan Approval No.: 41-00078C

Dear Mr. Zaman,

  • If you live close, describe your family, your history living in the area, observations or concerns about health or environmental impacts from poor air quality
  • potential environmental and health impacts of existing and additional equipment
  • Support the Title V requirements for more efficient technology, but urge DEP to require even stricter
  • Support emissions monitoring requirements but want DEP to require constant air monitoring for the entire operating life of this station
  • The DEP did not perform a proper aggregation analysis to determine the cumulative effects of all equipment — they must do so!
  • Request a public hearing.  Reasons for public hearing request:

o   High volume of Chief permits in this region

o   more opportunity for the public to comment

o   most efficient way to respond to public comments

o   opportunity to have an open dialogue and discussion about these issues

Thank you.  Please keep me updated on any actions related to Plan Approval No. 41-00078C.

Sincerely,

Name

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Thanks Protectors, keep up the good work!
from Iris, abe, and all the POW organizers
2 Comments
  1. October 15, 2011 1:01 am

    I live within a few miles of the site of Barto compressor station. In this mountainous region of Pennsylvania, known as the Endless Mountains, the majority of people live in small towns nestled in the valleys. Many of the toxins, VOC’s, CO2, methane, and heavy vapors from these compressor stations will settle in the lower regions. This will not only affect our way of life, it will also affect our quality of life and the health of all who live here, including our children.

    The people who live, work, raise their families, pay taxes, and vote, deserve to be heard and have our legitimate concerns publicly addressed. Therefore, we demand that public hearings be held before any permits are approved for the Barto compressor station, and any other compressor stations.

    It is our life, our health, our properties, and our way of life that is hanging in the balance.

  2. October 19, 2011 11:04 am

    This is great! Something else that might help cut down on harmful emissions is an increase in the number of people that carpool within the city and on trips, such as between Philadelphia and NYC or Boston. Amovens.com is a site we could use to get people connected to one another. If we can get more people to carpool, we can decrease CO2 emissions and save money! Here’s a link for carpooling from Philadelphia to NYC: http://us.amovens.com/share_rides/Philadelphia/New%20York

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