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Gas compressor causes stir

Some residents near Pee Dee on Highway 16 East are up in arms about a compressor in their neighborhood.

The compressor, operated by BHP Billiton, is in the city limits of Clinton. Zoning official Dwight Wilson issued the company a permit for the building on the site. The building is to house the compressor and BHP is building a four-sided wall around the building, he said. The permit cost $25 and was issued for an 18x25 accessory building for a compressor enclosure.

The compressor already was there, Wilson said. It was operating off a trailer previously and now will be in the building, he said. He said the structure and the buffer wall have muted the compressor and said the noise level was not loud when he was at the site this week.

Alma Wallace lives nearby, though just outside the city limits. She said she has been in touch with real estate agents and has been told the compressor will lower property values. Protecting residents’ property values is the city’s “moral obligation,” she said.

Wallace said residents have begun a petition drive to try and remove the compressor and building.

Wilson said he doesn’t under what the fuss is about. He said there is only one well-head compressor at the site and because there is only one well on the site, there are no plans to add more. If the company were to decide to add compressors they would have to go before the City Council, he said.

Currently, the city does not have any ordinances in place about noise levels or governing compressor station. He said he has been working on updating city ordinances regarding the natural gas industry’s operations in the city limits with City Attorney Matt Gilmore.

Wilson said he hopes to present the proposals to the City Council at its Dec. 13 meeting.

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