MYERSVILLE — Town officials will not ask a court to review the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's denial of a request to reconsider granting conditional approval of a plan to build a gas compressor station in Myersville.
After a closed meeting July 9, the Myersville Town Council issued this statement: “After careful consideration of all available information, the mayor and council determined not to seek judicial review of the unanimous decision by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on May 16, 2013, which denied all parties’ requests for reconsideration of the Dec. 20, 2012 FERC order granting conditional approval of DTI’s Allegheny Storage Project.”
But the town will continue to defend itself against the lawsuit brought by DTI in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, according to the statement.
DTI’s lawsuit against the town seeks judicial determination that Myersville doesn’t have standing to enforce its zoning laws because it is their belief local laws are pre-empted by federal regulations, Town Manager Kristin Aleshire said.
“The mayor and council are fully aware of the interests and divergent positions of our citizens and greater community in this very important issue," the statement continued. "We look forward to the opportunity to provide additional information to the community regarding this decision upon the conclusion of the pending litigation.”
DTI's lawsuit seeks to pave the way for a 15,000-horsepower gas compressor facility on a 21-acre property off Milt Summers Road in Myersville. To ensure that natural gas flowing through DTI's pipeline remains pressurized, the proposed station would compress the gas with a turbine.
The Town Council denied the application, reasoning that the project was unsafe, too large and would negatively affect the environment.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission conditionally approved the project in December. Town residents and officials who had concerns about the project's safety, size and environmental impact requested a rehearing in January, which FERC denied.
Members of the Myersville Citizens for a Rural Community, a grass-roots organization formed to keep the gas compressor station out of town, is not happy with the town’s decision not to seek judicial review of FERC's denial to rehear the case.
In an email to the town Friday, MCRC member Ted Cady wrote: “It is disappointing that the town is not taking action on this issue. Perhaps the town would be willing to be an intervenor as MCRC Inc. will continue the legal battle with FERC.”
Responding to Cady’s email, Planning and Zoning Administrator Brad Dyjak wrote: “At this time the town will remain focused on its Federal District Court case and does not plan to become engaged in the possible judicial review of the FERC decision.
“However, the town respects the rights of other interested parties to undertake such action independently and appreciates your understanding in this matter. ... The town has appreciated MCRC’s engagement throughout the process as it relates to DTI.”
Another Dominion lawsuit against the Maryland Department of the Environment seeks a ruling that would allow the state to provide an air quality permit, which is a requirement for the gas compressor station.