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Myersville Citizens for a Rural Community, Inc., PO Box 158, Myersville, MD 21773 

 

Please support our fight against DTI's intention to build a 16,000 hp gas compressor station within the Town of Myersville by donating to our legal fund. You can either mail us a check at the address above, or click on the "Donate" button. Thank you!

 

MDE Informational Meeting Regarding the Expansion of the Myersville Compressor Station

The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) will hold an informational meeting in connection with Dominion Transmission Inc.’s (DTI) proposal to double the size of the recently constructed natural gas compressor station in Myersville. This is part of DTI’s proposed Leidy South Project, which will affect communities from Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia.

Date: September 3, 2015

Time: 6:00 p.m. – DTI Poster Session

Time: 7:00 p.m. – MDE Informational Meeting

Location: Myersville Volunteer Fire Company Banquet Hall, 301 Main St, Myersville, MD

DTI will present information on the project beginning at 6 p.m. The MDE Informational Meeting will begin at 7 p.m., and is held as part of the state Air Quality permitting process.

MCRC believes that compressor stations should not be located in close proximity to population centers and should not pose a threat to a municipality, its residents, schools, and agricultural practices. We invite you to come out to tell DTI and MDE: No Expansion of the Myersville Compressor Station.


 

LEIDY SOUTH

Docket No. CP15-492-000:

Despite repeated assurances from Dominion Transmission that they had no plans to expand the Myersville Compressor Station, they have filed an application with FERC to essentially double the amount of compression at the facility. Specifically, DTI has applied for an additional 15,900 hp of compression, installation of a selective catalytic reduction systems, and modifications to existing compressor unit at the Myersville Compressor Station in Frederick County, Maryland.  The Leidy South Project also seeks to 8,000 hp additional electric compression at the Leesburg Compressor Station in Loudoun County, Virginia.

The application may be found in the FERC e-library or here.

On July 23, 2015, FERC issued its Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Assessment and a Request for Comments on Environmental Issues (found here in FERC e-library). However, that Notice of Intent was not timely submitted to the entire environmental mailing list.  FERC has therefore extended the scoping period to September 4, 2015.MCRC has filed as interveners in the docket and will continue to fight for the safety of our community.  We strongly urge you to stay involved as well!

So here's what you can do:

1) Sign up to the FERC docket so that you are notified by email whenever a filing or issuance is made on the docket.  Complete directions are found:  http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/esubscription.asp

2) Sign up to file comments electronically using eComment.  http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/ecomment.asp

3) If you plan to submit longer comments, you may also file those electronically using eFiling.  This allows you to submit comments as files.  http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling.asp

4) You may also want to sign up to be an intervener. http://www.ferc.gov/resources/guides/how-to/intervene.asp

While it may be technically late, FERC will consider all request to become an intervener.  So consider this option.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us!

And remember, it's Docket No. CP15-492

 


 

Information from the webinar for air monitoring

If you are interested about the air quality in Myersville (including the emission from the gas compressor station), the EPA has hosted a webinar. Information that was presented during this webinar can be found here and here.

 

If you are interested in supporting MCRC's effort for air monitoring, please contact us by email! 


 

DTI submits application of expansion of the Myersville Gas Compressor Station

DTI has submitted the application with FERC. Please find the notice here, the application here. We strongly advise everyone to submit a motion to intervene, as only intervenors have the possibility not only to write comments, but also to challenge the proceeding. To be an intervenor does not have any negative impact. Motions to intervene can be submitted via efiling after eregistering  (click here for link to get to either option).

Comments and motions to intervene can be submitted until June 17, 5 p.m. (sharp! FERC does not consider submissions milliseconds afterwards as being timely).

An overview over the Leidy South Project can be found here


 

MCRC vs FERC decided

To all of our supporters and community members who have been fighting the compressor station in Myersville, we have just learned that our lawsuit against FERC in Federal Circuit Court has been decided in favor of FERC.. This is an unfortunate ruling. However, our efforts have not been in vain. According to our lawyer, It is now clear that the Maryland State Implementation of the Clean Air Act is federally enforceable - which is new precedent - so maybe it will be possible to incorporate specific requirements governing compressor station sitting directly in the SIP to protect other communities going forward.

Our struggle continues as DTI has announced the nearly doubling the size of the Myersville gas compressor station a mere two weeks after it went into operation. We will vigorously oppose the Leidy South expansion and the unnecessary negative impact of safety and health risks to our community.

The opinion may be found here.


  

DTI will hold Open House March 31 regarding expansion project in Myersville

DTI has announced that they will hold an open house on March 31, 2015, 5 p.m. to 7.30 p.m., in the Myersville Volunteer Fire Company Banquet Hall. They will discuss the Leidy South Project expansion, which would double the capacity (an additional 15,900 hp!) of the Myersville Gas Compressor Station! Unfortunately, FERC has decided not to send anyone to this event. Even though the court ruling of the original project has not been decided, DTI goes ahead with this expansion project. More information regarding the project can be found here and here.

The current timeline is:

Open House 03/31/15
FERC Application May 2015
Expected FERC Order: March 2016
Contruction May 2016
Full Project In-Service October 2017


 

Dominion plans to double the Myersville compressor station, adding another 15,000 hp

Dominion plans to add a second compressor to the one that was just put into service, doubling the horsepower. The pre-filing request is planned to be already in December 2014!  For more information see here and below.

Leidy South Project

155,000 dekatherms per day of firm transportation service and add approximately 43,250 horsepower of compression and new metering and regulation equipment to DTI’s existing interstate pipeline transmission system.

Finnefrock Station, Clinton County, PA

  • Install 6,130 horsepower (hp) additional compression
  • Add about 0.5 mile interconnection pipe

Centre Station, Centre County, PA

  • Upgrade filter separators

Chambersburg Station, Franklin County, PA

  • Install 13,220 hp additional compression

Myersville Station, Frederick County, MD

  • Install 15,900 hp additional compression (This virtually doubles the existing compression!)
  • Install selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems to existing and new units

Leesburg Station, Loudoun County, VA

  • Install 8,000 hp additional electric compression

Quantico Station, Fauquier County, VA

  • Install new cooler and filter separator

Panda Stonewall Meter Station, Loudoun County, VA

  • Construct new metering and regulating station

 

DTI Puts Myersville compressor station in service

DTI has informaed FERC that it put the Myersville compressor station in service.  More information can be found here.


 

Recordings of the oral arguments in MCRC v. FERC. 

The recording of the oral arguments in our case can be found 
here.
 

 

Oral arguments MCRC v. FERC

The oral arguments were heard on Friday, October 24th, 2014.  We want to thank Carolyn Elefant in her well prepared and great arguments.


 

Citizen Complaint Form

In case you have a complaint relating to the Myersville Compressor Station, please find a Citizen Complaint Form here. The forms can be mailed or scaned and emailed to MCRC Inc. (MCRC Inc., PO Box 158, Myersville, MD 21773; gascompressornews@gmail.com). We will forward the complaints to the appropriate contacts. In addition, we have provided some contact phone numbers at the end of the form that can be called.


 

Updates

In the past week some important issues came up:

- Federal appeal, MCRC v. FERC. In this case MCRC has challenged the FERC order regarding the Myersville compressor station. Please see new developments below.

- State appeal, MCRC v. MDE. In this case MCRC has challenged the MDE approval. Please find more information below.

- Town infrastructure damaged. Please find more information below.

- DTI request approval from FERC to commence service of the Myersville Compressor Station no later than October 29, 2014. More information can be found here.  

- FERC approves Cove Point. More information can be found here

- DTI contributions to elected officials. Please find more information below.


 

Federal appeal, MCRC v. FERC

In this case we challenge the order by FERC granting DTI to construct the Myersville Compressor Station.  The court date is set for Friday, October 24, at 9.30am.  Seating is until 9.00am.  It is important to show the court that there are actual people being affected by the FERC decision, therefore it is very important to have as many people from Myersville as possible in the court room during our case.  The address is 333 Constitution Ave., NW Washington, DC 20001 (Metro Red Line from Shady Grove Metro Station to Judiciary Square Metro Station (47 minutes, every 6 minutes a train leaves Shady Grove), the court is about 0.3 mi south of this station; please be aware that getting to Shady Grove takes longer during the morning rush hour!).  Our lawyer advises to be at the courthouse at least by 8.45 am to have enough time to get through security and be seated by 9 am. 


 

State appeal, MCRC v. MDE

In this case we appeal the approval of MDE.  We filed the appeal on July 10, 2014.  We are still waiting for a court date.  MDE has filed  for a 60 day extension, this case is moving forward slowly.


 

 

Town infrastructure damaged

Myersville Citizens for a Rural Community (MCRC) has become aware of damage to Town of Myersville infrastructure at the natural gas compressor station construction site off Milt Summers Road.  The site is owned by Dominion Transmission Inc. (DTI) and contract work was performed by W.F. Delauter, a company run by Frederick County Commissioner Kirby Delauter.

 

In addition to damage to the Town's sewer line, it appears there have been numerous irregularities with the contractor based upon 300 pages of email communications between DTI, Delauter, and Town of Myersville officials.  Copies of such communications were obtained by MCRC through a Public Information Act request (PIA). 

 

That correspondence revealed issues that include, but are not limited to:

 

·         Improper advance notice for work done

·         W.F. Delauter appears to have improperly called in an Emergency Electrical Repair ticket with Miss Utility for excavation and utility work.  Mr. Delauter replied to inquiries by officials of the Town of Myersville that "Dominion was pushing to get started so they suggested to place it under an emergency locate in order to get it earlier." 

·         Shortcuts with Miss Utility resulted in the Town receiving a warning letter on 8/21/14 from Maryland Underground Facilities Damage Prevention Authority indicating that the Town had failed to properly mark utilities; the Town maintains it was never alerted due to the failure of DTI and its contractors to call in the correct tickets

·         Indication that the warning letter from the Maryland Underground Facilities Damage Prevention Authority was a result of a complaint lodged by DTI against Myersville

·         Incursions onto private property without authorization along with property damage

·         Utilization of improper alternative site access which may have resulted in disruption to soft soils and subsequent damage

·         Indication of stream/wetland crossing without permits

·         Indication of improper/lack of protective fencing (silt fencing)

·         Indications that the original plans filed by Fox and Associates on behalf of DTI with regard to the utility work were incorrect

 

Additionally, MCRC finds extremely troubling the utter lack of professionalism with which DTI and its contractors have treated officials of the Town of Myersville.  For example, when Town officials expressed concern over the manner in which work was being conducted, Mr. Delauter stated that he had done everything short of driving the official to the site and "buy donuts."  Mr. Delauter also stated that he would not be responsible for any damage to Town property.  We find the manner in which Town officials have been treated appalling and indefensible.  Despite DTI's continued assurances it would be a good neighbor, its words and the manner in which work has been completed belies that assertion. 

 

MCRC has filed an additional PIA request, will continue to analyze information, and determine what actions to take.


 

DTI contributions to elected officials

According to DTI's finance report, the following officials received contributions from Dominion (see here for the complete report):

Afzali, Kathy Committee To Elect: $ 300.00
Brinkley, David Friends Of: $ 750.00
House Democratic Committee Slate, Maryland: $ 2,000.00
O'Malley, Martin Friends Of: $ 2,500.00
Schulz, Kelly Friends Of: $ 500
Young, Ron Friends of: $ 500


 

MCRC Newsletter 

The latest MCRC newsletter can be found here.


 

FERC granted DTI's requests

FERC granted DTI's request to start the construction of the compressor station, including realignment of the Myersville Suction/Discharge Pipeline (filed in DTI’s Implementation Plan), rearranging the Myersville Compressor Station layout to accommodate the Suction/Discharge Pipeline realignment, increasing the size of the compressor building (compressor build from 65 x 75 to new 80 x 72 or increase of 885 sq feet; office building increase from 40 x 100 to new 40 x 134 or increase of 1,360 sq feet), and construction 24 hours per day, 7 days per week (see here for more information).

We are not sure if the county approved plans reflects the change request….the plans don’t define the dimensions.


 

DTI requests to work on the construction of the compressor station 24/7

June 12 DTI request to proceed on page 1 foot note (see here for request):
 
“As stated in the Application, DTI planned to commence construction of the Myersville Compressor Station in early 2013. Due to an unanticipated delay, DTI hereby notifies the Commission that the contractor will need to work seven days per week and 24 hours per day during the construction phase in order to meet the in-service date of November 1, 2014. The nighttime construction will be limited primarily to electrical and instrumentation work to run conduit/wire and make terminations inside of the buildings once the Myersville Compressor Station and auxiliary buildings are erected and enclosed. If needed, construction activities may occur outside of the buildings based on critical or urgent issues. Nighttime noise and lighting will be monitored.” 
 

 

MDE Air Quality Permit approved

 

The Air and Radiation Management Administration of the Maryland Department of the environment (MDE) has issued the Permit to Construct (Air Quality Permit) to DTI.  Please find more information here (Google Docs is not able to offer preview and virus scanning for large files, the file has been screened when uploaded; if you have problems downloading it, please try the link here; this is a slow connection, though, and might take some time to download the PDF file).  DTI has submitted a request to FERC for the start of construction and a variance request (see here for more information).

 

MCRC is currently evaluating the options, as filing an appeal, and is in contact with our lawyer as well as other groups supporting our case.

 


Huge win against FERC in New Jersey

A lawsuit by a coalition of groups wins a court case against FERC.  It was found that FERC violated federal law when issuing a permit for a pipeline project (please see more here).  This gives us hope for our case against FERC as well.


 

Media Alert

Marylanders Submit Over 500 Comments to Tell MDE: Deny Dominion's Air Permit for Proposed Myersville Compressor Station!  Please see here  to read the complete Media Alert.


 

Updates

1) Please remember, the deadline for submission of comments to the MDE Air Quality Permit application is March 22! MDE requires that comments have to be received by then. Please see below for instructions.

2) MDE Air Quality Permit application

MCRC received the Air Dispersion Model. This can be used for submission of comments. It would be very helpful if someone who is familiar with such models could look at it and submit comments. Letter from MDEAir Dispersion Model. EPA Air Models.

Two groups which support our efforts to prevent the construction of the gas compressor station in Myersville, Sierra Club and Chesapeake Climate Action Network, have submitted or are just about to submit comments to the MDE Air Quality Application.  In addition, they have asked their members to submit comments as well, plus they have setup an online form on their website to protest against the gas compressor station: https://secure.sierraclub.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=13025 and http://org.salsalabs.com/o/423/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=15256.

 

3) FERC

In the court case against FERC, the  BriefReply Brief and Joint Appendix were submitted.

One organization, Earthjustice, which is supporting our case as well as the fight against the Cove Point export facility, has engaged the pipeline engineer and expert Richard Kuprewicz from Accufacts, who is looking not only into Cove Point, but also the connection with the Myersville gas compressor station and the unjust fragmentation of the Myersville case from Cove Point (as a rule, everything that belongs together, has to be submitted and worked on as one submission): http://elibrary.ferc.gov/idmws/common/downloadOpen.asp?downloadfile=20140305%2D5085%2829169148%29%2Epdf&folder=17899634&fileid=13476058&trial=1.

In a letter, Senators "Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin have weighed in on the growing Cove Point gas export controversy by calling on federal officials to respond to a request for public meetings all across the state. In a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the senators said expressions of concern from health, faith, environmental, and community leaders statewide have led them to ask FERC to respond promptly to a request for public meetings on Cove Point in Garrett, Frederick, Baltimore, Anne Arundel and Montgomery Counties." In addition, also "included in the request for public meetings was Frederick County, where the gas industry wants to build a large compressor station for pressurizing gas that could be piped to Cove Point from as far away as Pennsylvania. The final request for a public meeting was for Baltimore County where new or expanded pipelines and compressor stations could be built due to Cove Point." (http://www.chesapeakeclimate.org/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=3874:cove-point-mikulski-and-cardin-%E2%80%98exhort%E2%80%99-federal-officials-to-respond-to-a-call-for-public-meetings-across-md&Itemid=23)

DTI has started the construction of the Mullet gas compressor station in Monroe County, Ohio. This gas compressor station is part of the Allegheny Storage Project, which the Myersville gas compressor station is part of as well.  (http://elibrary.FERC.gov/idmws/file_list.asp?accession_num=20140306-5001). 

 

4) On a side note, we found this article very interesting: http://m.industryweek.com/companies-amp-executives/exxonmobil-chief-says-not-my-backyard"Rex Tillerson, ExxonMobil (IW 500/1) chief executive has been a zealous advocate of the shale boom and the controversial use of "fracking," but not when it hits too close to home. Tillerson and his neighbors are suing to block the construction of a 160-foot-tall (78.8-meter-) water tower, to be used in part for hydraulic fracturing, near his $5 million ranch in Bartonville, outside Dallas, according to a complaint filed in a Texas court. The tower, which now is partially built, "will create a constant and unbearable nuisance to those that live next to it," according to the suit. Some of the water will be used in hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking" for shale oil and gas, resulting in truck use that will cause "noise nuisance and traffic hazards," said the complaint. The suit seeks a permanent injunction against the tower's construction rather than financial damages. "Even though the damages might compensate them for their diminished property values, damages cannot compensate fully for the substantial interference with Plaintiffs' use and enjoyment of their land."


 

Health effects of emissions

During the MDE meeting a question was raised about the known health effects of the emissions that would be emitted by the proposed gas compressor station. We have the feeling that this important question was not thoroughly answered. Please find an overview of the health effects of the emissions of the proposed gas compressor station here.


MCRC submitted Brief

MCRC has submitted the brief for the case MCRC v. FERC. Please find the submitted brief here

We want to thank our supporters for their donations that made it possible for MCRC to proceed with the court case on behalf of the people opposing the construction and operation of a compressor staton in Myersville.


 

Why are we interested and are participating in the application process of the Cove Point Expansion Project?

MCRC is joining a coalition of other organizations who are raising concerns about the proposed Cove Point LNG Export Terminal.  We continue to believe that the oversized compressor station contemplated for Myersville is really in preparation of exporting natural gas to overseas markets. 

Approving export facilities at Cove Point would drive demand for 'fracked' gas, including in Western Maryland.  It would also require increased infrastructure, such as the proposed Myersville Compressor Station. 

Fact: Dominion’s Cove Point export facility would be Maryland’s fourth largest climate polluter, emitting more heat-trapping carbon dioxide than all but three of the state’s existing coal plants.

Please, visit Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) for more information, please click here.


 

Dominion gains U.S. approval to expand natural gas exports

 

Dominion Resources (D +0.3%receives Energy Department approval to export natural gas from its Cove Point terminal in Maryland to countries that do not have free trade agreements with the U.S.  The department says Dominion is now conditionally authorized to export up to 770 Mcf/day (million cubic feet per day) of natural gas over a 20-year period.  With the decision, the Obama administration has now authorized 6.37 Bcf (billion cubic feet) of liquefied natural gas to be sold to non-free-trade nations.

 

The DOE previously approved Dominion's application to export to countries with Free Trade Agreements.  Dominion's proposed facilities are expected to cost $3.4 billion to $3.8 billion.  The company filed in March with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for approval of the proposed facilities. Pending receipt of regulatory approval and permits, construction is scheduled to begin in 2014, with an in-service date of 2017.

 

Source: Seeking Alpha (http://seekingalpha.com/currents/search?query=dominion, Sep 11, 3:15 pm)

 


Decision in the DTI v. The Town of Myersville court case

The court ruled that "For the reasons that follow, Plaintiff Dominion Transmission, Inc.’s Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 17) is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART, specifically, those local laws that affect the siting and operation of the Compressor Station are null and void, and summary judgment is GRANTED, but injunctive relief is DENIED... Those portions of the Myersville Town Code of Ordinances that directly affect the siting, construction, or operation of the Myersville Compressor are null and void as applied to Dominion except for those laws or regulations, if any, enacted pursuant to the State’s rights under the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 (16 U.S.C. § 1451 et seq.), the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. § 7401 et seq.), or the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. § 1251 et seq.)". The final ruling in this case can be found here and here.

The Town of Myersville released the following statement: "The Myersville Mayor & Council convened in executive session on October 8, 2013 in accordance with the State Open Meetings Act, to consult with staff on a legal matter and decisions of recent litigation in Federal court related to the Dominion Transmission, Inc. (DTI) proposal to construct a Natural Gas compression station in the Town of Myersville. Based on the decision issued by the Federal District Court on October 7, 2013, the Mayor & Council acknowledges the decision of the Court which determined that the Town ordinances as applied to siting, construction, and operation of a natural gas compression station submitted by DTI are in the eyes of the Court preempted by Federal law. The Mayor and Council have been steadfast in our approach to seek out due process of this matter, to fairly represent the interests of our citizens and given this most recent court ruling have determined this process to now be concluded. Moving forward, the Town will proceed with processing of all applicable material through the appropriate review agencies consistent with the basic directive and parameters of the Court’s decision." 


 

Overview of major incidents at gas compressor stations

We updated our list of major incidents at gas compressor stations from 2011 to 2013. Please find the overview here.


 

Review of the US Department of Transportation Report “The State of the National Pipeline Infrastructure”

 

Richard Stover, Ph.D., has analyzed publications by the PHMSA and the gas industry. “I show that pipeline safety, as measured by injury rate, has not been improving since 2001. The government document presents the data but fails to note the lack of safety improvements since 2001. It turns out that the pipeline industry is even better at hiding the data. Their publication “Safe and Getting Safer” obscures the facts by showing bar charts that don't even bother to present the yearly data. They just lump years 1999 to 2001 and compare that with the years 2008 to 2010. Done this way, with just two points one gets the (incorrect) impression that things are “getting safer.” Measured by the number of injuries that hasn't been the case for a long time. The industry used number of barrels spilled as an indicator. When all of the data from all years is considered and presented, there is no improving trend in the net number of barrels spilled. The industry claim is worthless because: 1) it is based on a proprietary data set that can't be verified, 2) they use cherry-picked data, 3) two points on a plot doesn't constitute a meaningful trend, 4) they fail to consider all years, and 5) they give no rational definition of “Safe.”” (http://www.icogitate.com/~oildrop/).

 

In addition, in a 1-minute video he shows pipeline incidents since 1986 (please click here to access the video).

 

His written detailed analysis can be found here. "In summary this report finds: • The DOT/PHMSA report descriptions of their own graphs are inaccurate, • The DOT/PHMSA use of a straight line to represent the death plus injury rate is a poor representation of the data, and is misleading, • The injury rate has not improved since 2001, • The death rate has never improved since 1986, • The injury rate in the first two years of new pipeline facilities averages more than the next seven years combined, • Pipeline facilities 30 years old and older have much higher rates of failure due to corrosion than younger facilities. • The rate of pipeline incidents caused by corrosion in older facilities has not decreased in 25 years, • Safety for the environment as judged by oil spilled has not improved in 25 years"


 

Maryland emissions-related deaths highest in U.S.

Md has the highest emissions-related death. Frederick makes list of 'worst' cities. More information can be found hereHow can state approve a compressor station that releases 88 tons of emissions annually?

Outcome of DTI v. MDE Case

The U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled on the DTI v. MDE case, which can be found here.

The court ruled about 3 important issues:

a)     Maryland requires an Air Quality Permit to demonstrate conformity with local zoning which is a part of the State Implementation Plan for the Federal EPA Clean Air Act (CAA)

b)     The MDE Air Quality Permit process and outcome is backed by federal law, meaning it has the power of federal rulings. It cannot be preempted by the FERC decision (Natural Gas Act).

c)      The FERC ruling has the power to preempt local zoning that is covered by the NGA process, but the MDE can determine if there are any local issues not covered by the NGA and are not preempted.

The first two points are actually very good for us and a blow to the natural gas industry. This means that the Maryland State Air Quality Application process and the outcome are backed by federal law, which cannot be preempt by FERC. The MDE permit process is independent from FERC, and if the results are not in line with FERC certificate, or even contradict with it, MDE cannot be overruled by FERC!

The third item is not ideal for us - we preferred that the court confirm that DTI cannot show conformity with local zoning by leveraging the FERC certificate to preempt local zoning. Now DTI can proceed with the MDE air permitting process.  


 

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