Residents fight back against gas plant

South Heidelberg community members oppose EmberClear natural gas to gaoline plant.

Residents fight back against gas plant

SOUTH HEIDELBERG TWP., Pa. - More than 100 people gathered in South Heidelberg Township Tuesday night, all in opposition to a natural gas plant.

Last week, the township board of supervisors voted to give preliminary approval to EmberClear Corporation to build a natural gas to gasoline plant on a 63-acre plot of land.

"I was shocked just by the opposition that was there. And there were a lot of logical facts; zoning concerns, emotional concerns, safety, environmental. And the township supervisors did not seem to take any of that into account," said Tom Byrne of South Heidelberg Township.

That is why some community members are not giving up.

They met at SpringRose Childcare to form a plan of attack on how they can dismantle the plant.

"They are totally disregarding what the residents feel and they are trying to push this plant through," said Brian Cutts of South Heidelberg Township.

But township supervisors say they are listening, however they say the only residents vocally opposing the plant are the people who live close by.

"Overall, they represent a very small percentage of the population of the entire township. And I think the supervisors, particularly at this early stage in the game, are looking at the township as a whole," said Township Supervisor Ronald Seaman.

Although the plot of land has been zoned industrial for the past 30 years, residents say they do not understand why it is a good idea to put a gas plant there after the township approved bringing in numerous homes and a daycare.

They also have safety and environmental concerns.

But the township says this is not a done deal.

"I would love to be able to work in harmony with all these people and whatever happens happens. If it cannot be stopped legally, then let us make it the best plant it can possibly be," said Seaman.

The people in the township have decided to start a non-profit organization and form several committees so they are more prepared to fight the gas plant at the next township meeting on April 1.

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