Natural Gas Boom Brings New Option to City Drivers

<p>Officials in Fort Worth, Texas weigh regulations for natural gas compression stations arising from a boom in drilling shale for natural gas.</p>
July 29, 2008, 10am PDT | Larry Schooler
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"The stations are noisy and visually unattractive. A large one can take up as much space as a typical home. They generate noise 24/7. But they are a vital cog in the process of transmitting gas from wells to end-users ranging from homeowners to businesses.

In response to pleas from residents, the Natural Gas Drilling Task Force is considering adopting new or amended regulations to reduce noise from the stations, improve their appearance and minimize neighborhood impact.

City officials should seek regulations that allow ample protection for residents, but aren't unnecessarily onerous to the companies operating the compressor stations. They need to be somewhat flexible, because each station site is different, as is the environment surrounding it.

For example, a station near a residential area, restaurant or retail development might should be inside a fully enclosed, sound-proofed building to minimize noise and reduce the negative aesthetic impact, but that probably wouldn't be required for a station in an isolated industrial area.

Here's something else that must be considered: Should any new or amended rules apply only to stations built in the future, or also to existing ones?"

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Published on Monday, July 28, 2008 in Fort Worth Star-Telegram
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