Dear Editor:

This is an update to my letter of two weeks ago. None of us are against the gas industry, America needs the gas. But we are against them being allowed to run roughshod over our rights as U.S. citizens. How many are aware BHP is Australian? They could respect homeowners and still get what they want, if they just would. The age-old fight of human rights against big money. This is happening all over America, and will continue to get worse unless we stand up and try to do something about it as small communities in other states are already doing, and in some cases are actually winning.

What has transpired so far regarding the compressor station in Section 12 which is zoned Residential R2: BHP installed a huge compressor engine and three-sided metal shed over it without an application that should have specified distance to homes, what decibel noise level and what pollution levels the engine would emit, and neighbors notified since it was in a tight circle of residential homes. Vern Sitton’s house is only 180 feet away from the engine and he spends most of his time outside. June Elliott’s new house is right above it, the Pee Dee cemetery right in front of it, and the parsonage and Eoff residence below. Nobody here knew what was going on, they had to find out by asking questions of the workers. A verbal request was made to get the compressor station on the 11/15 zoning committee meeting before the station was completed, with numerous community residents planning to attend and present a petition of over 60 names objecting to it, but was refused saying it would have to wait til the December meeting (plenty of time for BHP to finish up and leave, which they did). A written request has been made for it to now be on the December City Council agenda. City residents want answers on why this was allowed to happen.

A building permit for an 18x25 Compressor Enclosure was signed 11/13 and hand-delivered to BHP after the shed was completed and before the 11/15 zoning meeting. Construction was then started on the 16th for a metal enclosure around the engine and shed that consists only of three uninsulated walls and no roof. There’s no way this can be considered adequate insulation against the noise level. The opening is pointed directly at the cemetery. Cemeteries are consecrated land and should be shown respect - think about funerals and people who visit gravesites. The compressor wasn’t turned on fulltime before around 11/26 so nobody could know how much noise it would make before that — it is now running and is very loud if you are outside, the intensity seems to vary with which way the wind is blowing. It sounds like a diesel engine on a freight train idling on the track which will go on forever 24/7. I can hear it in my yard, and in my house even with the TV on — others are much closer.

Everyone who has been asked "would you want one in your front yard" has answered "No." All city officials would do well to remember the Golden Rule which is as ethically and morally important today as it was thousands of years ago. From ancient Greece: "Do not do to others what would anger you if done to you by others" – Isocrates. Even farther back in history from China: "Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself" – Confucius. For anyone who believes "the noise level is not loud" please drive over and park at the Pee Dee Cemetery and stay for an hour or so. If it can happen here, it can and will happen anywhere in the city or county that BHP chooses.

Alma Wallace