Gov. William Donald Schaefer is urging Columbia Gas Transmission Corp. to find a new location for the natural gas compressor station the company wants to build near Jarrettsville.
In a letter dated Oct. 12, Schaefer made the request to the Charleston, W.Va., company because of environmental concerns raised by residents who live near the proposed site.
"I join with many responsible citizens and elected officials in Harford County in urging Columbia Gas to quickly and carefully determine the availability of more suitable sites for its proposed natural gas compressor," Schaefer said in the letter.
"The current local controversy causes me to question whether all reasonable locations have been considered," the governor wrote.
In the letter, Schaefer assured company president R. Larry Robinson that the state would work with the company to accelerate its plan, provided that a new site is selected and all environmental standards are met.
Columbia spokesman E. Kelly Merritt said the company has no comment now, but plans to respond to Schaefer's letter this week.
Paul Schurick, the governor's press secretary, said Schaefer got involved in the issue after county officials, including state Delegate Eileen M. Rehrmann, D-District 34, who is a county executive candidate, informed him about concerns over the compressor station.
Several county citizens also wrote letters to the governor expressing concern over the proposed station.
"The governor's involvement is simple," Schurick said. "He felt he would do what he could do to help. The governor's intentions are not political here."
The company wants to construct a 6,000-square-foot compressor building in an agricultural district off Rutledge Road between Fallston and Baldwin Hill roads south of Jarrettsville.
The $3.4 million facility is expected to employ 10 people, Merritt said.
The company picked the 30-acre site for the compressor station because of its size and because the company's gas pipeline runs through the tract, Merritt said. Columbia bought the land in 1982.
The compressor station would allow the company to push more natural gas through its pipeline to meet the growing demand for the fuel in the northeastern United States, Merritt said.
Columbia must have a special exception from the county to proceed with the project, Schaefer's letter noted. A decision by the county is expected within a month.
Residents who live near the proposed site for the compressor station have criticized the plans, arguing that the facility might disturb water supplies, emit hazardous chemicals and open up the area to industrial development.