County files against XNG

The county has filed suit against Xpress Natural Gas, of Boston, Mass., and says the company, operating as the Forest Lake CNG Center, has not met the county’s requirements for operation.
In addition to a cease and desist order, the county is also looking to collect monetary damages – to the tune of $500 a day – for the time the facility has been operating while out of compliance.
At the June 28 commissioners’ meeting, Commissioner Alan Hall said the company has been out of compliance since February of this year.
XNG received a final conditional approval from the Susquehanna County Planning Commission. The approval was conditioned upon the completion of a sound study, as required by the county’s Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance.
Hall said XNG was placing sound barriers around the station last week, and expected the company to complete another sound study following the installation of those.
Hall said that many plans had received conditional final approval in the past with no problems. “They are the first not to comply,” he said. “There won’t be anymore conditional final approvals (given by the Planning Commission),” Hall said.
A hearing on the matter has been scheduled for Monday, July 10, in the Susquehanna County Court of Common Pleas.
According to documents filed in the Susquehanna County Prothonotary’s office, XNG was granted preliminary approval by the Planning Commission to build the CNG station in August 2016, conditioned on the receipt of four items: a driveway permit; required permits from DEP and/or the Conservation District; an NPDES permit; and the municipality report form.
In December, the Planning Commission became aware construction had started without submitting the required items, according to the court documents. Those were submitted by Dec. 22, 2016 and XNG was granted approval allowing them to develop the site.
The Planning Commission also sent a letter to XNG stating that: “Final approval is required prior to putting the facility into normal operation.”
The final conditional approval – contingent on the release of a sound study showing the facility meets the requirements of the SALDO – was given by the Planning Commission on Feb. 1.
According to court document, county planners expected that study to be submitted prior to their next meeting.
When the Planning Commission had not received the sound study by April 25, a letter was sent to the county commissioners notifying them that the facility had not complied with the ordinance.
A letter was then sent by the Planning Commission to XNG giving the company 30 days to comply.
On May 15, XNG submitted a sound study that did not meet the county’s 50 decibel limit.
According to the documents on file, XNG knew it was not in compliance with the SALDO regulations. A statement in the documents reads: “It is clear XNG LLC…by reason of its own sound study, knew they did not comply with the Planning Commission’s conditional approval of Feb. 1, 2017, yet has continued operation in violation, thereof, up to and including the present.”
At the May 30 meeting, XNG laid out an “action plan” for the Planning Commission and the deadline for completion was extended to July 21.
XNG responded to the suit, filing a document that says they have been in extensive discussions to resolve the matter.
According to court documents, XNG had agreed to shut in the facility by June 26 for the purpose of installing sound mitigation measures.
Upon the completion of the sound wall installation, XNG said it would operate for six hours solely for the purpose of conducting a sound study and would stop operations until they received the results of the sound study.

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