FRANKLIN — Town officials were urged Tuesday by members of Compressor Free Franklin — a grassroots group that has sprung up to oppose a natural gas compressor from being sited here — to adopt a noise ordinance that would make generating sounds louder than 55 decibels a violation.
The board took no immediate action on the request, though Town Supervisor Jeff Taggart said the proposal would be considered.
Don Hebbard, retired from the Watershed Agricultural Council and an organizer of the anti-compressor group, said a growing number of Franklin residents are nervous about the possibility that such an installation will be constructed in the town by the Tennessee Gas Co. as part of its Northeast Energy Direct pipeline project.
“We need to make more people aware of the effect it is going to have on the quality of life here,” Hebbard said. “It’s going to change things in this quiet little village.”
The town is one of five Delaware County communities that would be crossed not only by the Northeast Energy Direct project but also the proposed Constitution Pipeline. The latter project has received conditional approvals from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and construction could begin as soon as this year if it acquires water and air permits from the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
Opponents of the compressor station told town board members that they are concerned about the possibility that natural gas infrastructure could rupture, causing fires and explosions. One woman said she was concerned about the possibility that vibrations from a compressor station could produce landslides.
Taggart said that while the only compressor sites for the Constitution Pipeline so far are in Schoharie County and Pennsylvania, he is concerned that the project planners will ultimately try to locate another compressor in the Franklin area to increase the volume of gas it would carry.
The Tennessee Gas Company has not yet announced where it would place a compressor station, though Taggart said the company is apparently eyeing Franklin.
“At this point, I am totally against a compressor station until they (Tennessee Gas representatives) satisfy my concerns,” said Taggart.
In an interview later, he said he has reservations about enacting a noise ordinance, noting it could spark neighborhood feuds if residents used it to file complaints against neighbors for running chainsaws. He noted that town zoning laws limit noise to 70 decibels, and agriculture and forestry are exempt.