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DEP public hearing for Shell Pipeline set for April 3

Posted Mar 9, 2018 at 5:00 PM 

The state Department of Environmental Protection will hold a public hearing April 3 at Central Valley High School to discuss Shell Pipeline Co.’s Falcon ethane pipeline project.

CENTER TWP. — The state Department of Environmental Protection will hold a public hearing April 3 at Central Valley High School to discuss Shell Pipeline Co.’s Falcon ethane pipeline project.

The department decided last month to host a series of public hearings in the three counties in western Pennsylvania that will be impacted by the pipeline: Beaver, Allegheny and Washington.

The 97-mile pipeline, which will transport up to 107,000 barrels of ethane per day to Shell’s $6 billion cracker plant in Potter Township, will consist of two legs.

One leg will see a pipeline being built from Houston, Pa., to Potter Township, while the other leg will run through eastern Ohio and West Virginia before cutting into southwestern Beaver County.

The pipeline’s proposed route has caused concern for some, mostly because it is projected to cross streams that feed into the Ambridge Reservoir, which provides drinking water for more than 30,000 customers.

The Ambridge Water Authority in January came out in strong opposition to the pipeline’s route and also called on DEP to hold public hearings in an effort to better inform the public about the project. Days later, DEP announced it would host three public hearings, as well as extend the public comment period until April 17.

Beaver County will host the first public hearing for the pipeline project. The hearing will take place in the Central Valley auditorium and will last from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., although doors will open at 6 p.m.

Another hearing will take place in Burgettstown in Washington County on April 4, and the final hearing will take place April 5 in the Quaker Valley Middle School auditorium in Sewickley.

DEP spokeswoman Lauren Fraley said Friday that each resident will be given the opportunity to present up to three minutes of on-the-record testimony about Shell’s permit application to DEP. Officials will record the testimony, and it will become part of the public record for DEP’s decision on whether to approve or deny permits for the project. Written public comments will be accepted by DEP until April 17.

Fraley added that anyone interested in offering testimony can register by contacting her at 412-442-4203 or by e-mailing [email protected].

Fraley noted that Shell Pipeline’s permit applications are still under review by DEP engineers, biologists and county conservation districts “to ensure the applications meet all applicable statutory and regulatory requirements.”

Specifically, Shell has applied for a water obstruction and encroachment permit, and an earth disturbance permit from DEP.

In a written statement provided Friday, Shell Pipeline spokeswoman Virginia Sanchez said the public hearings will give Shell the chance to show that safety is the company’s main concern with the project.

“We understand the community is interested in our project, and remain confident that DEP’s review of our permit applications will highlight Shell Pipeline’s strong commitment to protecting the environment and communities where we operate, which is our top priority,” she said.

SOURCE

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