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Lebanon County Commissioners want public pipeline meeting, don't think they'll get it

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The Lebanon County Board of Commissioners is trying to make Williams Partners LP hold a public meeting to discuss the natural-gas pipeline it wants to build and answer residents' questions. The pipeline will cut through the county.

The board just doesn’t think it has the power to compel Williams.

The commissioners passed a resolution Thursday asking the company to hold a public meeting soon in the county that would differ from the town hall meeting Williams held in Cleona in June.

The public meeting, commissioners said, would allow residents to get a single answer to a question and allow those answers to be kept in a record about the project.

Members of Lebanon Pipeline Awareness, a group opposed to the pipeline project, said at the town hall meeting, members received different answers to the same question and said they didn’t get the answers they were looking for.

Commissioners Jo Ellen Litz and William Ames both said they’ve been in contact with Williams officials, and while neither received a definitive, “No,” they said they were left with the feeling that Williams had no intention of holding a future public meeting if they are not required to.

The proposed pipeline runs through Union, East Hanover, North Annville, South Annville and South Londonderry townships.

Other than meetings before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, officials from Williams said, they are not required to hold additional public meetings.

“We will not be holding any additional public meetings at this time,” Williams public outreach representative Cindy Ivey wrote in an email to Litz, an email distributed to the public Thursday.

Ames said he talked to company representatives on the phone and warned them of the “bad press” that would go along with deciding against a public meeting.

“Their refusal is a telling thing,” said Michael Schroeder of Annville, a member of Lebanon Pipeline Awareness, which presented the commissioners with a petition with about 150 names of people hoping for an additional public meeting.

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