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Natural gas debate rages on: Residents weigh in

By ALLISON NORLIAN

DOLGEVILLE, N.Y. (WKTV) - A natural gas debate rages on in the Town of Manheim, bringing out more than a dozen people Wednesday night,  to the Dolgeville Volunteer Fire Department for a public hearing.

Residents weighed in on whether or not to construct an "XNG Natural Gas" facility on Route 167. They discussed zoning issues regarding where the facility would be located and health implications it would have on the community. 
 
Two experts, Keith Schue, an engineer and Kelly Branigan, a nurse, volunteered their time at the meeting, speaking from their own personal experiences.
 
"The fact of matter is the proposal is to place an intense industrial facility on six acres of land," Schue said. "Sewage waste, trucks in and out on regular bases and explosive materials will come with it. Compressed natural gas is under high pressure, if you have a rupture, you have a potential explosion."
 
Schue believes something as large as this type of plant needs to be placed on more acres of land with a buffer, protecting the surrounding community.
 
Branigan says there will be health issues for area residents. Her main concern: children, pregnant women and the elderly.
 
"They aren't only concerned for the folks that live close by. Emissions travel, they aren't going to stay at the plant," Branigan said. "They are going to travel throughout the community."
 
Residents say that XNG Natural Gas say only water vapor is emitted, they say other toxic chemicals will be in the air.
 
"I am a chemical analyst that i worked with various firms and the military for over 40 years," Larry Sekel of Manheim said. "I know what we're talking about in respect to gas and the pipeline and once compressed and once clean and purified that's where there is a problem."
 
Most residents at the meeting were up in arms about bringing the facility to the Town of Manheim, including Kim Hergert. Hergert left Pennsylvania to avoid fracking and believes this plant will ultimately provide fracked gas from other states.
 
The Town of Manheim voting board will vote at the end of July. 
 

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