WEST WYOMING – Officials with UGI Energy Services said plans to build a natural gas compressor station in West Wyoming Borough have been scrapped, but construction will start this spring on the 27-mile Auburn Pipeline Extension.
Utility officials said they abandoned plans to build a compressor station, after the Luzerne County Zoning Hearing Board denied a request to build a communication tower at the site.
UGI Energy Services spokesman Kevin Kelleher told Newswatch 16 that work will start soon on the pipeline, which will start near Mehoopany and bring natural gas from Marcellus Shale drilling sites in the northern tier to families and businesses in the northern tier.
"You see the benefits of the commodity lowering, but here, we're talking about actually lowering the cost to move the gas to the local market,” said Kelleher. “We think we`re unique and we think this project specifically benefits the local consumers here.”
Phil Novicki said he was not worried about a compressor station being built within a mile of his home and he welcomes a pipeline that would bring domestic natural gas from Susquehanna, Bradford and Wyoming counties to customers in Luzerne and Lackawanna counties.
"It would be a great help for northeastern Pennsylvania, and the whole country, if we used a lot of it here domestically and keep prices down and maybe even create more jobs,” said Novicki.
Scott Cannon told Newswatch 16 that he and other members of Luzerne County Citizens for Clean Air are relieved that the utility company ditched plans for the compressor station, but they are still concerned about the construction of the pipeline through rural, wooded areas.
“Pipelines ruin wildlife areas, they drill through wetlands and they have mud blowouts,” said Cannon. “They have accidents and other problems wherever this is happening."
A UGI utilities spokesman said the operations are safe and the pipeline that will transport locally-drilled natural gas could start saving consumers money by the end of this year.
"We anticipate saving over $10 million for our customers over the next 7 or so years,” said Don Brominski.
Officials with UGI Energy Services said it has no immediate plans to build a compressor station for the pipeline in another location in Luzerne County, but one may be needed in the future if the demand grows.
Utility officials said several permits are still needed, but construction on the $150 million pipeline project is expected to be completed by this fall.