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Eastern Shore Natural Gas pipeline expansion approved by Sussex County Council

Eastern Shore Natural Gas Site in Bridgeville
Eastern Shore Natural Gas Site in Bridgeville

The expansion of a natural gas facility in Sussex County clears its final hurdle in Delaware.

The Sussex County Council voted 4 to 1 this week to approve a pipeline capacity expansion at Eastern Shore Natural Gas’ (ESNG) Bridgeville facility.

Councilman John Rieley cast the lone “no” vote citing the pipelines’ location, “I love natural gas. I absolutely think it’s the right thing to do - to expand the plant. I just wish it wasn’t there - in that particular location. I’ve often used the example of - you don’t want to put a leather tanning factory in the middle of a residential neighborhood, which seems pretty intuitive. I have to be honest, this strikes me a little bit too close to that type of scenario. And I’m going to vote “no.”

The plan has faced criticism by community members and environmental advocates.

But Matt Parker - ESNG’s engineering manager - says the proposed facility and trucks involved will be 1,300 feet away from Phillis Wheatley Elementary School, and almost 1,100 feet away from the schools’ playground, “There’s no gas processing that takes place at this facility. So truck offloading and above grade piping are approximately 800 feet from the nearest residence, it’s over 1,000 feet from the playground at Phillis Wheatley Elementary School and 1,300 feet away from the school structure itself.”

ESNG claims those distances are safe since the gas is only offloaded and not treated or processed.

Parker noted that the proposed facility has three offload points with an approximate 18 trucks coming and going on a daily basis.

The project still needs approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Kelli Steele has over 30 years of experience covering news in Delaware, Baltimore, Winchester, Virginia, Phoenix, Arizona and San Diego, California.