VALLEY GROVE - Yensen Landscape Supply is moving to The Highlands after Chesapeake Energy acquired a tract of land near Interstate 70 where Yensen is currently located to build a natural gas compressor station.
The site, located on the north side of Interstate 70 near the Truck Stops of America at Dallas Pike, is roughly 2 miles east of The Highlands.
"This infrastructure is necessary to safely and effectively prepare the gas for sale, which will enable us to begin generating royalty payments in Ohio County," said Stacey Brodak, Chesapeake's senior director of corporate development. "Chesapeake Midstream Services has worked to communicate with all affected landowners and businesses, and will engage with residents who will be most affected by this construction."
According to the Associated Press, a natural gas compression station in Springville Township, Pa., exploded March 29. No one was injured. The station is owned by Williams Companies Inc. and the cause still is under investigation.
The midstream services company, an affiliate of Chesapeake Energy, is applying for a permit from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection to release certain amounts of chemicals - including carbon dioxide, methane and nitrogen oxides - into the air from the site, located just north of I-70 off the Dallas Pike exit in Ohio County. The 27-acre site now houses the Yensen business as well as others.
According to the natural gas industry, compressor stations are usually placed at 40- to 100-mile intervals along a pipeline that takes natural gas to market. Compression is required to get the gas to move through the pipeline. The natural gas enters the compressor station via the pipeline that is connected to gathering lines, which are connected to individual gas wells. At the station, the gas is compressed by either a turbine, motor or engine. Equipment for construction of the compressor station already is on site, though Chesapeake is still awaiting a permit to build the facility.
"They can begin prep work at the site," said DEP spokeswoman Kathy Cosco, noting Chesapeake's application is still pending.
Harold and Christian Yensen, owners of the landscaping company, said they have to move from their current site by May 26 because the property owner, Gary Glessner, negotiated a new lease with Chesapeake. The Yensens hope to move and reopen their business at The Highlands as early as April 16.
Chesapeake, in a legal advertisement, noted it is seeking an air quality permit from the state of West Virginia for the "potential to discharge" the following amounts of these materials on an annual basis from the operations at the compressor station:
For perspective, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency notes the average person, through the natural process of breathing, produces about 839.5 pounds of carbon dioxide per year.
There will also be various amounts of volatile organic compounds, particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, acetaldehyde, acrolein, benzene, ethylbenzene, methanol, n-hexane, toluene, xylenes and nitrous oxide emitted from the station, according to the legal notice.
Ohio County Commissioner Randy Wharton said he did not want to comment on the compressor station's proximity to The Highlands, noting the DEP is in charge of the matter. He did welcome the Yensens' business to its new location behind Marquee Cinemas, though.
"This will help them stay in business during their busiest season," said Wharton. "If they want to sign a long-term lease with us, that would be up to them."
Harold Yensen thanked the "gracious people at the Ohio County Development Authority" for giving his company a place to operate, whether it is just on a temporary basis or permanently.
"We started doing this over here in 1980, but a lot of people don't know we are over here," he said. "Being at The Highlands will give us a little bit more exposure."