The company backing a controversial natural gas pipeline project that would cut through northwest Ohio expects to file a formal application for federal approval next month.
Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners wants to construct about 820 miles of pipeline, known as the Rover pipeline, spanning about 620 miles of right-of-way through several states and stretching through the northwest Ohio counties of Fulton, Defiance, Henry, Wood, Hancock, and Seneca, and into Michigan, including Lenawee County. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will consider approval of the project, and a formal application is expected in January.
The agency will accept public comment through Dec. 18 on potential environmental impacts of the pipeline.
Most of the Ohio project includes two 42-inch lines, double what original diagrams showed when the project was launched. A second line was added based on market interest in using the pipeline, company spokesman Vicki Granado said.
The size and location of the project drew opposition from some property owners and local government. Wood County’s Perry and Bloom townships and Washington Township in Hancock County approved resolutions opposing the pipeline’s route, citing the “devastating” impact it would have on fertile topsoil in the largely agricultural areas, as well as concerns about safety and property values.
“How would you like to have property and have it destroyed and virtually worth nothing when they’re done?” said Ed Goshe of Tiffin, who said the proposed route would run through his farmland in Seneca County’s Loudon Township.
Construction on a smaller Sunoco pipeline on another one of his properties is under way, and Mr. Goshe is not eager to deal with another pipeline project.
“This is our livelihood in agriculture,” he said. “It’s going to take a good long time to ever get that fixed up.”
Affected property owners should make sure they sign agreements that compensate for land taken and damage to land not taken, as well as protect their interests now and in the future, said Michael Braunstein, a partner at the Columbus-based law firm Goldman & Braunstein, of which Mr. Goshe is a client.
Once the project receives federal approval, property can be acquired through eminent domain.
It typically takes a year to 18 months for the FERC to complete its review, said spokesman Tamara Young-Allen.
Ms. Granado said the survey process is nearly complete for the $4.3 billion project, which the company wants to start building in January, 2016. The company estimates more than $100 million will be spent on payments for land easements and touted the economic impact from taxes generated and the creation of up to 10,000 temporary construction jobs.
Comments about the project can be directed to the FERC online at ferc.gov.
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