Notes on Borger Discussion at Agenda Mtg 20200813 (Posted in public comments on Town of Dryden site.)

I have lived in the township for 18 years. My husband and I raised three sons and built a house and a homestead farm here. I live, as a crow flies, about 2 miles from the Borger compressor station located on Ellis Hollow Rd. I am a member of and volunteer for both Mothers out Front (an environmental advocacy group) and the Town’s Safety & Preparedness advisory committee.

As one of the Dryden residents involved in the Borger Station endeavor over the past three years, I have made my best effort to understand how the compressor station in Ellis Hollow impacts our community and its role in regional and global concerns about fossil fuel. I appreciate you taking the time to hear myself and others out on this important issue for the Town.

There are a few points that were not brought to light in last night’s (08/13/2020) discussion at the Board agenda meeting:

1) The core reason for our request to have an expert review of the SUP. At this point, we are primarily relying on information from Dominion, who has a vested interest in the outcome. We were given incomplete information in January, 2019 when this project was first presented to us. These omissions have made it clear that well-meaning citizens are no replacement for expert opinion. We cannot competently assess the risk/benefits for the community as laypeople.

2) The full emissions data/charts weren’t made available to us until 07/30/20 (see C.T. Male Assoc attachment below.) We based our initial assessment on the data and charts provided by Dominion in January of 2019. At that time, we were only given numbers for NOx and CO (see attachment from p.6 from the Dominion presentation.) These charts are overwhelmingly positive. Even with the new proposed compressors running at maximum volume (8760h/yr), the criteria emissions would be a fraction of what is currently being emitted, even though the current compressors run only an average of 1 hour/day. But that was not the whole emissions picture. Over the past two weeks, we have tried to assess the new, more complete information, which is more ambiguous than the original data in the Dominion presentation from January, 2019.

3) There may very well be necessary trade-offs. Perhaps it will come down to a choice between criteria emissions reductions and increased CO2e. However, there may also be ways to reduce the CO2e emissions, or measures that could be taken to limit the scope of this project, that Dominion hasn’t considered. After all, the impetus for these equipment replacements did not come from Dominion, so it is up to us to seek alternative solutions, if they exist. Having an expert, independent opinion versed in the technical and policy issues will provide the Town Board with a better framework to make decisions about whether to grant, limit or decline the SUP.

4) The benefits of this project to Dominion were not fully put forward in the agenda meeting:

     °  Dominion would like to lose its Title V designation (EPA source of major pollution) because that will reduce its oversight requirements from the DEC and put Borger in a more simplified category for documentation and regulatory policy going forward.

     °  Dominion staff are eager to update the aging compressors because they require a lot of maintenance and are costly to run (hard to find parts, more down time.)

     °  This project increases the potential to scale up the volume of gas passing through the compressor station for future customers should the need arise. o All of the above adds to the value of the compressor station as an asset, e.g. in the case of a sale.

In short, Dominion is doing this project because it makes sense for them to do it. And it still will, even if we take the time to evaluate this matter with outside consulting.

What those of us who have been raising concerns are asking for is: first, more time; and secondly, a substantive, external review of the issues related to this project.


Katie Quinn-Jacobs

E-mail me when people leave their comments –

You need to be a member of Mothers Out Front Tompkins to add comments!

Join Mothers Out Front Tompkins