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Compressor station proposed to expand

By IKE WILSON

News-Post Staff

iwilson@newspost.com

Dominion Transmission’s Myersville compressor station went into service earlier this month to help meet the demand for natural gas for Washington Gas Light and Baltimore Gas & Electric customers, the company announced, adding that a second compressor is on the drawing board for the same location.

Spokesman Frank Mack said two companies that are building natural gas-fired power stations to generate electricity need more natural gas, requiring Dominion Transmission to add a second compressor at the Myersville station and make other upgrades to its system in Pennsylvania and Virginia. If approved, the new station is predicted to provide service by October 2017.

The announcement of another compressor station so soon came as no surprise to (See COMPRESSOR A-9)

This is an aerial photo looking east of the Dominion gas compressor station at Myersville taken in late October. Running across the top is Md. 17 with I-70 at the upper left.

Staff photo by Sam Yu

(Continued from A-1) Myersville Citizens for a Rural Community, a grass-roots group that opposes the gas compressor station.

“As expected, DTI has announced a project which would double the capacity of the Myersville gas compressor station less than two weeks after it was placed in-service Nov. 1,” the group said in a statement. “It is evident that this had been DTI’s intention all along.”

Not true, Mack said.

Dominion has said during several public meetings in the past that there were no plans for more expansion at Myersville, Mack said.

“This was true at the time,” he said. “We did not know at the time that additional capacity would be necessary. We also said if there was ever a need to expand the facility, we would have to go through the same approval process.”

Dominion plans to ask the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission next month to begin its environmental review process for the second compressor, Mack said.

“We do not need to enlarge the footprint of the Myersville ... station to accommodate the new unit and its related equipment,” Mack said. “But we will extend the existing building by 75 feet.”

The upgrade will support power plant development by Panda Power Funds and another customer that has requested confidentiality, Mack said. The power stations will generate electricity with natural gas, which has half the carbon output of coal, he said.

Dominion informed Myersville officials about the proposed new compressor station during a meeting Thursday. The station began operations on a temporary use and occupancy permit. On Monday, Frederick County issued a permanent permit to allow the station to operate, Myersville Town Manager Kristin Aleshire said.

Two full-time employees staff the current station, which is about 30 percent larger than originally proposed. A third employee will be added when the new station becomes operational.

The project is projected to generate about $700,000 in annual taxes for the county and $350,000 for Myersville. Aleshire said that number is expected to be about 60 percent higher if the planned expansion occurs for the similarly sized plant.

“I won’t know what the real number is until the state gives it to us next year,” Aleshire said.

Also discussed during the meeting with DTI last week was the town’s desire to have local fire and rescue workers familiarize themselves with the station by touring it, Aleshire said.

“In response, they said they would get back to us in a couple of weeks,” Aleshire said.

The company plans to install selective catalytic reduction technology on both compressor units, Dominion said in a statement. The installation of this emissions control equipment means that nitrogen oxide emissions for the total station would be less than what they are projected to be today for just one unit, the company said.

But MCRC said it questions “why selective catalytic reduction technology was not installed on the initial project as best available technology under the National Environmental Policy Act.” “DTI has once again employed the strategy of segmentation to circumvent a full and complete environmental impact study under NEPA,” MCRC said, “and has, through the FERC approval process, utilized federal preemption to overturn the will of the Town of Myersville.”

Dominion plans to file for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity with FERC in October 2015 for the new station. If FERC approves the project, which could be by June 2016, construction would begin in September 2016 and the project would be in service by October 2017, Dominion said.

The same regulators and permitting bodies that reviewed and approved the first compressor will do so again for this upgrade, Mack said.

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