When City of Carbondale and Fell Twp. officials met recently with representatives of Linde Corp., they were hoping to have their concerns put to rest about Linde’s chemical-mixing operation for the natural gas industry in the business park of Carbondale Yards.


When City of Carbondale and Fell Twp. officials met recently with representatives of Linde Corp., they were hoping to have their concerns put to rest about Linde’s chemical-mixing operation for the natural gas industry in the business park of Carbondale Yards.
But that didn’t happen, and those concerns remain — at least for some of the officials who attended the meeting.
Councilman Dr. Joseph Marzzacco was one of the attendees who was still unsure afterward, as he explained during a council meeting on Monday night, Sept. 20.
He said the Linde representatives “had an answer for everything” at the meeting.  Still, he noted that neither he nor other elected officials in attendance have any expertise in the field of natural gas exploration or the types of chemicals used by the industry.  So he said there was no way for them to verify the statements that were made by the Linde representatives or the assurances that were given.
“They were very smooth and very informative,” he said of the Linde representatives.  “But could they answer all of our questions and allay our fears completely?  No, they couldn’t.”
Marzzacco stated that he and his fellow elected officials asked about the safety of the chemical mix at the Linde site, but said he left the meeting still wondering about the same safety questions he had going into it.  Linde representatives have insisted that the chemical component of drilling fluid being produced at its site is “non-toxic and non-hazardous.”
“They had this supposed expert there from Philadelphia,” Marzzacco noted.  “They were telling us [it’s completely safe], but what do we know?”
He related that the elected officials were very clear in telling the Linde representatives that they don’t want anything discharged into the Lackawanna River or the sewers.  Although Linde has no plans to establish a water treatment facility in the business park, Marzzacco said the elected officials nevertheless expressed their opposition to the idea.
“We told them that we’re very much against that,” he explained. 
He said the discussion also involved heavy truck traffic which will be generated at the Linde site and the toll that it will take on the city’s roads.  He stated his frustration over the fact that the city will receive no compensation for wear and tear to its roads, even though the Linde operation will require at least 100 trucks a day coming and going from its site.
Dr. Anthony LaFalce, an outspoken critic of the Linde operation, asked council about the possibility of using zoning laws to curb Linde’s plans.  Marzzacco responded that, since the Linde site is located in the Fell Twp. portion of the business park, the firm doesn’t fall under the city’s zoning laws.
As for Fell Twp., Mayor Justin Taylor stated that the township supervisors issued a building permit to Linde last year, thereby negating any zoning powers.  He said the city was involved in a lawsuit some years back over zoning but ended up losing it at a cost of $20,000 because a building permit had been issued.
Fell Twp. Board of Supervisors chairman Ron Cosklo told the NEWS that the Linde building permit was a temporary permit for a self-contained trailer to generate electricity — not for the project in question.  The supervisors insist that they had no involvement in approving any aspects of the Linde operation, as supervisor Ann Marie Torch has noted at their recent meetings.
Still, Taylor said that with the issuing of a building permit, “zoning is out the window.”
“You’re stuck with it,” he stated.