KIDDER TOWNSHIP -- Protesters came armed with signs and dust masks at the entrance to Split Rock Resort in Carbon County where a public hearing on a utility company's air quality plan was being held by state environmental officials.
That company, PennEast, wants to build a natural gas compressor station in a wooded area off Route 940 in Kidder Township, about two miles from the resort.
“Tons of air pollution, including Formaldehyde and benzene, all cancer-causing agents,” said Victoria Plechavy.
“We're alarmed that they're even considering putting it here,” said Linda Christman.
The compressor station is part of a much larger project. PennEast is proposing to build a 120-mile natural gas pipeline that would run from Luzerne County's Back Mountain all the way into New Jersey.
The compressor station would be only one on the pipeline and PennEast needs DEP's approval of the station's air quality plan.
“We want to hear from residents, their concerns, any of their questions that will be answered at a later date or any comments they might have about the compressor station itself. It's not really about the pipeline,” said Colleen Connolly with DEP.
“This meeting tonight is strictly in relation to be sure that we are going to be compliant with all federal and Pennsylvania air quality regulations which PennEast certainly will be,” said Pat Kornick, a spokesperson for PennEast Pipeline.
Not everyone at the public hearing was against the station or the pipeline.
“This kind of project will create jobs, create economic development throughout the whole pipeline,” said David Horn with the Laborers International Union.
“The commercial and residential and industrial consumers who are going to benefit from it, downstream to power our economy, to hire people,” said David Taylor with Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association.
PennEast says the company already has approval to go ahead with the compressor station from the Kidder Township zoning board.