Thursday, March 3, 2011

Dish sues gas firms over compressor stations


By Bob Cox

"The small town of Dish, which has previously sparred with natural gas drillers over its water quality, also thinks natural gas compressor stations are an unsightly and perhaps dangerous nuisance that harm local property values.

The town makes those complaints in a lawsuit filed Monday in District Court in Denton County against six natural gas pipeline companies.

The suit calls a complex of compressor stations that the companies operate near the town "a public nuisance." It also alleges that the compressor stations have harmed the emotional and financial well-being of the community, which is southwest of Denton.

Fort Worth lawyer Kirk Claunch, who is representing the town, filed the lawsuit and two others on behalf of 10 landowners. The suits claim that landowners and the town are entitled to collect monetary damages from the gas companies because of diminished property values.

The mere presence of the compressor stations, the truck traffic they generate and the potentially dangerous air pollutants constitute trespass on Dish residents' property and "makes it less desirable to live in that area," Claunch said Wednesday. Compressor stations typically employ huge engines to drive pumps to move natural gas through the big pipelines.

"The reality of it is, if people that live close to these facilities want to leave, they can't because of the decline in property values," Claunch said.

Ed Ireland, executive director of the Barnett Shale Energy Education Council, an industry supported group, said he had not seen the suits and declined to comment on the specific allegations." More>>>>

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