Ohio law supersedes landowner’s wishes and allows pipeline survey

STEUBENVILLE, Ohio — A Bloomingdale, Ohio, landowner lost the right to stop surveyors for Enterprise Liquids Pipeline from entering her farm.

Nancy Hyde owns just over 22 acres in Bloomingdale, where her son, David, makes hay for his beef cattle herd.

Enterprise is creating a pipeline that will transport ethane from the Marcellus and Utica shale regions in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia to the Gulf Coast.

According to Enterprise, the line will be approximately 1,230 miles long and will have an initial capacity of 125,000 barrels per day.

The pipeline would deliver ethane to Enterprise’s natural gas liquids storage complex at Mont Belvieu, Texas. Through connections at Mont Belvieu, ethane production would then have access to every ethylene plant in the U.S.

According to Enterprise, the pipeline would be expected to begin operating in early 2014.

Intent to survey

The Hydes had been contacted by Enterprise Liquids Pipeline last October for a survey of another farm property they own. There is an existing Enterprise line there and David Hyde gave them permission to proceed.

But then, Hyde said he was contacted by the company in January for a survey of the property owned by his mother.

Hyde has the power to make land decisions for his mother, Nancy.

Agricultural district

The property where the pipeline wanted to survey was a hayfield Hyde uses for his beef cattle. He said he didn’t want it damaged and denied the company access.

Hyde said the company told him they needed to reroute the line and it was necessary to go through the hayfield for the new route. Researching his options, he found out the farm had been in an agricultural district since 1989.

However, that was not enough.

Ag districts protect farmers from nuisance lawsuits, defer development assessments and provide state review of eminent domain in certain cases.

Court decision

Enterprise Liquids Pipeline filed an injunction asking that the company be allowed to survey the Hydes’ land.

Jefferson County Common Pleas Court Judge Joseph J. Bruzzese Jr. granted Enterprise access for the land survey May 16.

Ohio law

According to Atty. Craig Woods from the Columbus law firm of Squire Sanders LLP, who is representing Enterprise Liquids Pipeline, Ohio law gives the right to pipelines to conduct land surveys and environmental impact studies on properties like the Hydes’.

Woods said the action brought against the Hydes was “simply an action to allow access to property for survey work” as the company attempts to determine what is the best pipeline route.

The judge told Hyde that any damaged incurred would be the responsibility of the pipeline company.

Both Woods and Hyde said that now the land survey is complete, negotiations could begin on a price for the pipeline easement. However, eminent domain would apply to this pipeline, if negotiations can’t be completed.

Wants answers

Hyde said some of the battle could have been avoided if the company had explained why the pipeline reroute is needed. He said he has yet to receive an explanation why the pipeline goes along an existing easement on many other properties until it reaches their land.

OPSB. According to the Ohio Power Siting Board, an application has not been filed by Enterprise with the OPSB. The OPSB did receive a letter in March citing the company planned on submitting an application.

However, according to Matt Butler, media relations director for the OPSB, if a new bill makes it through the legislature, Enterprise will not be required to file an application.

Butler said that a bill has already been passed by the state Senate and may make it through the House before the end of May.

The legislation will exclude all natural gas liquids pipelines from needing approval by the OPSB.

Once it is passed by the house, all that will be needed is the governor’s signature.

About the Author

Kristy Foster Seachrist lives in Columbiana County raising sheep and horses. She earned her degree from Youngstown State University and has worked in both print and broadcast journalism. You can follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/fosterk96. More Stories by Kristy Foster Seachrist

3 Comments

  1. Tim Bennett says:

    I appreciate the Farm and Dairy articles that bring these conflicts to light. I don’t want to criticize our Republican dominated legislature, but it sounds like BIG BUSINESS is being given a free hand to do as they wish with the smaller farms. Are there any records for political donations from these companies to our representatives? Do we want to re-elect them this year?

    Thanks

  2. Eric Ryan says:

    Hyde is being way too nice here. It is ridiculous that they were granted to proceed into private property without the owner’s permission! Land owners need to equip themselves with all the information they can. Read up on some good land owner information regarding the Marcellus Shale Industry here: http://shalestuff.com/education/land-owners-info/

  3. Dave Bonifant says:

    Here is what the Ohio consitution said in 1851
    All men are, by nature, free and independent, and have certain inalienable rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and seeking and obtaining happiness and safety.
    Where have we went wrong? i live in Licking County we are tying to stop the pipeline here is our website, please visit and sign out petition. http://lcgao.weebly.com/

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