Large crowd turns out to oppose gas compression station

State Representative Jason Potts, District 53, addresses the crowd while State Senator Jeff Yarbro, District 21, looks on.

Corinne Unger

State Representative Jason Potts, District 53, addresses the crowd while State Senator Jeff Yarbro, District 21, looks on.

Southeast Nashville community banded together on June 21, 2016 at 6 p.m. to at the Cane Ridge High School to fight yet another battle. This time it involved the Columbia Gulf Transmission Gas Company, a Canadian company, installing a gas compressor in the most rapidly growing area, Mill Creek, Cane Ridge.

Roughly 175 were in attendance.

Three representatives from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) served as a panel. Regulator Julie Yuen commenced the meeting explaining that they were there to gather information and concerns from the community as well as to answer questions. A court transcriber was also present.

Yeun informed the crowd that the end of the scoping period is July 5. After this date there will be an analysis posted for 45 days during which time comments were accepted. There could also be another meeting during the 45 days. The areas under consideration for gas compressors were Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi.

Concerns voiced revolved mainly around how the gas compressor would affect the health of the community, the safety, and the environment, i.e.: noise level, wildlife, and ozone.

Nobody was in favor.

State Senator Jeff Yarbro, who represents District 21 in the Tennessee Senate, was first to the microphone. He said Cane Ridge was the fastest growing community in the city, if not the state, and building the gas compressor would be detrimental to the Cane Ridge community’s growth.

State Representative Jason Powell, District 53, agreed with Yarbro and said, “I hear every day of people who want to open up business and move here… my fear is that to locate this in this community is going to be extremely detrimental. It seems like there are a lot of other alternatives that are feasible… Yabro and I intend to submit a formal letter.”

Brant Miller, chair of the Friends of Mill Creek Greenway and resident of Cane Ridge, then spoke.

“The compressor will be in the quarter mile buffer of the greenway. Not only is there the continual noise of turbines, but the very health of those out there will be compromised by the station. We asked that it is denied and moved to the other sites that are more suitable,” said Miller.

Miller also stated that 90 percent of emissions will be pollutants such as methane gases that would transmit into a greenhouse effect.

Other pollutant gases such as benzene, formaldehyde, and radon were mentioned several times by several others. These gases have been attributed to a myriad of health problems including upper respiratory problems and cancer.

An endangered species of crayfish native only to Nashville also live in Mills Creek.

Others like Anna Ortiz has suffered from asthma for years and knew the compressor was bad news for her, especially after she talked to her doctor.

“The air quality will directly affect me. My two options are to pack up and move or to live in a large plastic bubble.”

Lillian Hawkins, resident of Cane Ridge, thought she was carefully selecting her home until she was shocked to find out they were trying to build the compressor in their neighborhood.
Hawkins went on to address that the station is placed within a mile of three schools as well as that the Nashville crayfish are an endangered species that live only in Mill Creek.

She also said the meeting was inconvenient for councilmembers as many were not able to make it due to scheduling conflict.

Some like Sharon Felton were not sure how well the Cane Ridge community would be heard.

“FERC says public opinion is important. But what sort of weight does FERC put on public opinion? There is a second gas compressor station proposed for the Joelton community…it is a larger compression…30,000 people in the Joelton area signed a petition against it but it was still built,” said Felton.

One regulator said that public opinion was considered or they wouldn’t be here, but they also take into account all factors.

Further concerns were raised about the compressor and Joelton and the potential compressor in Cane Ridge creating twice the amount of pollutants.

Another question arose if there had ever been an incident where they withdrew construction plans and reconsidered. The regulators pointed to an incident in 2012 when the gas compressor was rejected in Hartwell, Georgia.

One regulator added, “The decision comes under one order, but there is a potential to move those around. While the order was one order for the project, we look at each proposed site individually.”

The meeting continued until well after 8 with several others coming to microphone to voice concerns and opinions.
Another Cane Ridge citizen, Ollie Cole said,

“These folks have spoken very well against these project. There is something in favor of it– the funeral homes will get more business and the gas company will get more money.”

The commission strongly urges electronic filings of comments, interventions, and protests. Submit such before or on July 5, 2016 at www.ferc.gov. Click under the “e-filing” link and the link to the User’s Guide. Before filing any comments, create a free account by clicking on “login” or “file” and then “New User Account.”

Please note to include the docket number at the top of the notice of intent. The docket number is: CP16-361-000.