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August 15, 2013

Fracking foes urge county, Bassett to reject move to natural gas

(Continued)

As for Kuzminski’s letter to Streck, she said, “We appreciate his thoughts. At Bassett, we consider community and environmental issues in our dealings with all vendors.”

An XNG representative who has had discussions with county and Bassett officials, Jack Flood, did not return a message left on his cell phone.

The company recently worked with Aroostook Medical Center in Presque Isle, Maine, helping to convert that facility to relying on compressed natural gas for its heating needs. According to the Bangor Daily News, an Aroostook executive estimated that the switch to natural gas would save the hospital between $400,000 and $500,000 a year.

XNG bills itself as “New England’s most innovative full-service natural gas provider.”

 The company states on its web site that it has “built the first industrial compressed natural gas station in New England on the Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline, which ensures that XNG can offer its customers the lowest possible commodity costs for piped natural gas.”

“The facility has been built with a full capacity of 8 billion cubic feet of gas production,” XNG says on its web site. “ We can fill 8 tractor trailers simultaneously, and any individual trailer in less than 40 minutes.”

Rowinski’s committee has called on the county’s director of buildings, Doug Czerkies, to calculate the county’s total heating expenses at its various public buildings.

But County Rep. John Kosmer, D-Fly Creek, an ally of Kuzminski and an opponent of fracking, said even if converting those buildings to natural gas now could cut down the heating costs, it would be short-sighted to believe that current natural gas prices will stay as low as they are now.

“It’s a dead end,” said Kosmer, arguing that natural gas prices will rise sharply once the energy industry steps up exports of the product. Kosmer contended the county should be doing more to expand its use of solar energy and other forms of renewable energy. He said his opposition to natural gas conversion was also related to his concerns about environmental impacts.

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