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State board turns down pipeline plea

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An Upper Bucks group opposed to the West Rockhill compressor station lost its legal case last week, but the fight may not be over.

The Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board dismissed the six residents’ appeal of an April Department of Environmental Protection decision to grant an air quality permit to Adelphia Gateway. In its ruling, the board found that only “the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has original and exclusive jurisdiction” over the matter.

The Oct. 9 decision comes on top of a similar dismissal of West Rockhill’s appeal last month. Township supervisors will decide their next move this week.

Cliff Cole, of the group Citizens for Clean Air, said Monday he had not consulted with his lawyer but is considering an appeal.

Cole, who lives a mile away from the proposed facility, said he and his neighbors had a state constitutional right to clean air, and he said the compressor station, which would release a daily cocktail of gases, including nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide and methane, would violate that right.

In its filing, the group contended that Adelphia provided emission estimates in its application without supporting data, and it faulted the

DEP for accepting the estimates without further examination. For its part, the DEP, claimed such emissions would not violate national air quality standards.

The group also argues its location, in an area zoned residential-conservation, is unsuitable.

Adelphia maintains the site, on Rich Hill Road, was the only suitable location as the alternative sites, while farther away from residences, would have entailed significantly more site preparation and construction.

FERC has yet to issue a decision on the 84-mile natural gas pipeline to Marcus Hook, but Adelphia has been pressing the federal agency to do so in recent months.


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