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Story Archives: Questions raised over Crowville salt dome
|Questions raised over Crowville salt dome|
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission offered to hear public comments about environmental concerns at a proposed salt dome storage operation near Crowville last week but raised far more questions than comments.
Washington D.C. officials were not in a position to answer most questions raised by the 40 or so people attending, but officials with Cardinal Gas Storage Partners—the company asking to build the facility—stayed following the two-hour meeting to meet with individuals.
The meeting, held at Crockett Point Baptist Church near Crowville, was the first public meeting on the project. Earlier meetings between the company and affected landowners were held privately.
Several speakers objected to the conduct of the federal process, citing there was not enough information available to the public before the meeting, and adding that the product of the meeting—a FERC report on environmental effect—was not sufficient oversight.
Two speakers requested information on water table affects; another wanted to know who would be responsible in the event of a collapse of the hollow dome; still others questioned land purchasing tactics and two individuals wondered what would happen to a pair of nesting eagles sited in the area.
The federal presenters were prohibited from responding, saying instead that the questions themselves became issues of concern for federal consideration. The FERC and the State Department of Natural Resources will play the major roles in the issuance of permits and final permitting for the proposed project.
Earlier last Tuesday, interested parties looked at the site where the major physical part of the completed will be located, at the southwest corner of the intersection of Gus and Hill Ridge Road west of Crowville. The touring party also looked at the proposed pipeline routes associated with the completed project.
None of the presenting officials would comment on questions relative to the local social and economic effects of the project.
No costs were projected.
Basically, the project calls for the creation of two domes with capabilities of receiving gas, a settling pond to hold up to one million gallons of water and five brine disposal wells, associated pipelines, a compressor operation and administrative offices.
The underground and in-salt storage capacity would contain a maximum of 15 billion cubic feet of natural gas.
As an example of the intricacies involved in a salt dome storage construction project, the sponsoring company completed a formal, but non-binding marketing process days after the public meeting to help build its case for approval. The "non-binding open season" allows potential customers to express an interest in using the storage facility, which in turn, allows the company to demonstrate, "whether the project is in the public convenience and necessity."
Moderator Juan Polit of the FERC, reading from a formal announcement in the Federal Register said the commission would issue an "environmental assessment" some time after the meeting in Crowville and the public would be offered a chance to comment on that document.