Williams pipeline

A natural gas pipeline under construction.

The chorus of concern over a proposed natural gas pipeline in Lancaster County made its way to the Mount Joy Township meeting of supervisors Monday.

Five residents and a West Hempfield Township woman spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting which saw a larger than usual crowd of about 20 people.

Landowners expressed concerns about the impact the proposed pipeline would have on farmland soil and property values as well as safety and environmental worries.

"We are not interested in the pipeline, we are concerned about the safety of it," said resident Don Stark. "Lancaster County is the garden spot of the world, not the pipeline of the world."

Residents also expressed frustration with the manner in which Williams Partners, the Oklahoma-based firm building the pipeline, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission were moving forward with the project.

Board members echoed residents' concerns, but said there is nothing they can do to prevent it from moving forward.

"I'm frustrated to say the least," Gerald Cole, board vice-chairman, said. "We have been informed as a township that we are not a party to this whole process, that we have no standing and have no ability to do anything about the pipeline."

Board member David Sweigart said the board invited representatives from Williams Partners to attend the meeting, but were told they would only meet privately with township officials.

"I'm a little suspect if someone's not willing to meet us head-on and talk to the public," Arlen Mummau of Grandview Road, said. "It's nice to do some things behind closed doors, but if they're sincere and they want to do what's in the best interest of everyone in Mount Joy Township, I think they ought to come meet us."

Resident Thomas McKinne said he is concerned about a lack of oversight, which could be "a catastrophe in the making."

Cole agreed.

"Who's going to oversee this thing? Who's going to make sure they do this thing right? And they have a track record of not doing things right in other parts of the state and other parts of the country," he said.

Board member Debra Dupler said the board first heard of the proposed pipeline when they read about it in the newspaper.

Cole said if residents are approached by pipeline representatives, he suggested getting legal advice before doing anything.

He also suggested that residents contact congressional representatives and express their concerns.

The proposed 42-inch Central Penn Line South would run north and south through the entire length of the township, according to preliminary maps.

More information, including documents and letters sent to impacted land owners, can be found on the township website, mtjoytwp.org.

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