Darren Doyle, story and photo
A few county residents who live near the new site of Hellervik Oil's natural gas facility attended fiscal court today to ask questions regarding the company's plans.
Jim Brown, field representative of Hellervik, brought information packets for anyone attending court today and compared the new facility, which he claimed will be much better, to the failed Rocky Hill plant. Brown provided photos of the equipment and explained the operation of each portion of the facility, which he said was going to be a relatively small operation.
"I've been in contact with the neighbors," said Brown. I've spoken with Mrs. Sanders, Mrs. Linda Arnold, and there's a Mrs. Snyder that I've not been able to reach, but that maybe a bad number because the line is always busy. We've been in contact with the Edmonson Voice and the paper and done interviews with them to show them what our operation is, also our neighbor to the north, which is Jimmy Yokely, and we've been in contact with him."
Judge Executive Wil Cannon asked the first question, which was whether or not the facility would be enclosed. Brown said the plan was that once the facility was up, was to enclose it in a structure that would resemble a barn to be more aesthetic to the area.
Mrs. Pat McCombs, a local resident asked about possible pollution.
"What I can understand is that the Rocky Hill plant used a cleaning agent called Glycol," said Brown. "And I understand that the Glycol had a film and that's where most of the pollution came from. What they (Rocky Hill Plant) were using to purify the gas was a great overkill, so the plant could never operate efficiently because it was always starting and stopping. The new process, which is a refrigeration process, they're air conditioning units. They purify the gas through the same process used in your refrigerator, your home, your air conditioning unit, and in commercial uses like frozen food lockers and things like that."
Steven Miller, another resident who was there with his mother, Debbie, spoke on his parents' behalf.
"First, I want to make it known, and just to be clear, that we've seen lots of reports that the community has been very receptive to this gas plant," said Miller. "I think that's a little misleading. I know there are folks who are receptive to it, but for my parents and a lot of other folks we've talked to, we had no idea it was coming."
Miller also pointed out that he was under the impression that the facility was going to be located halfway between Bowling Green and the Industrial Park so there was not much concern raised in the community.
"It was reported after a community meeting that it would be located right dead in the middle of a 127 acre farm," added Miller. "It's on the front end of a farm within 300 feet of my parents' property."
Miller went on to say that he understood there was the opportunity for many benefits to the county.
"We're not opposed to Hellervik being in the county, our challenge is, what we're going to petition for, what we're going to continue to pursue is, that Hellervik be that good neighbor that they said they were going to be and get that away from some of the residential areas."
Miller continued to discuss other concerns like air and noise pollution, along with environmental issues such as fracking and its effects.
"I'm going to be up-front and honest with the court and with Hellervik, I don't think there's going to be anything that can be said or done to make us not oppose the location of this."
"I totally understand, but you have to realize that we're just not going to move in here and start this plant up. We have to do trial runs, research, follow all these guidelines and all these things. We're happy to keep you informed of all these things as we go along."
Brown also addressed a question of heavy truck traffic coming in and out of the plant, to which he said there would be none transporting natural gas. Gas would be transported via gas lines in the ground, not by truck, and according to Brown, there would be other components transported out to make other gas products like propane and butane, a portion of the sale of which would be paid to gas well owners in a royalty. Brown said the frequency of the truck traffic would be compared to Rocky Hill, which he said was once every three weeks.
Brown also said there would be no fracking in Hellervik's process.
Judge Cannon asked if there would be any more community meetings, and Brown said yes.
"We've been coming here for two years," added Brown. "We're not just showing up today and telling you that we're putting in a plant tomorrow. We're trying to keep everyone as informed as possible. I'm sorry we haven't done that as much as some of the neighbors would like. We've been looking at different sites for sometime.
Judge Cannon asked about the possibilities of moving the new facility back further into the woods.
"Sure," Brown answered. "That's the reason we got the acreage."
Brown said Hellervik wanted to move the equipment in, do a test run, work with the community, and come to a solution for everyone.
Cannon added that fiscal court was concerned with people's property value and keeping the people that the court serves happy and safe.
"We are too," said Brown.
Cannon concluded the discussion by reminding the court that neither the county nor any residents have any say so on whether or not a group or business can run any legal operation on a piece of property in Edmonson County, due to the lack of Industrial Zoning.