MarkWest Request to Expand Gas Compressor Facilities in Washington County, PA Denied

As MDN has previously reported (see this story), MarkWest Energy operates more than 100 gas compressor facilities, including two in Mount Pleasant Township in Washington County, PA—the location of the very first horizontally drilled Marcellus Shale gas well. There has been tension between area residents and MarkWest about the facilities over issues of noise, lights and odors coming from the facilities. A few months ago MarkWest made application to expand the facilities but the Mt. Pleasant Township Zoning board has just turned them down:

The board denied a request from Mark West Liberty Midstream to expand its Fulton and Stewart compressing stations.

The company had made the request to add two engines at each site and expand the steel structures. The company processes gas for Range Resources.*

MDN doubts this will be the end of this story. There is an ongoing debate about just who has authority to regulate pipelines and compressor facilities, and the matter is far from settled. Does regulation for these types of facilities lie with local governments? Or is it a “utility” that is/should be regulated by the state rather than local authorities? Stay tuned.

*Washington Observer-Reporter (May 12) – Board nixes expansion for gas compressing stations in Mt. Pleasant Township

  • Elizabeth

    I applaud Mount Pleasant’s denial of this action. Have you seen (smelled) Dish, TX? As we have seen in the Gulf, the energy companies have no concern or emergency plan for the areas in which they work or the consequences of their errors and carelessness. All they care about is capturing their outdated, dirty resources. All else be damned.

  • Jim

    Sigh. To compare odors from natural gas compressor facilities with the Gulf oil disaster, a disaster on a scale that could never be matched on land, and to compare off-shore oil drilling with natural gas drilling, is a logical fallacy. The comparison doesn’t hold up. You cannot say “BP messed up, all energy companies are evil.” It’s not a reasonable argument.

    Dish is a closer analogy and a worthy argument. I find Mayor Calvin Tillman to be a shill for the eco-nuts and not a trustworthy source…but, if the compressor plants in that area are causing odors and air pollution, that is a concern. Same for Mt. Pleasant. I happen to trust local governments to get it right. They are closest to the people they represent. I don’t live in that area, but it strikes me that MarkWest has some work to do to ensure they are good corporate citizens and addressing concerns of people who live around the compressors. So, although I heartily disagree with your “energy companies are evil” logic, I can join you, for different reasons, in saying “good for Mt. Pleasant.”