Opinions vary over pipelines, but most accept they can’t stop them


WOOSTER — The huge interstate pipeline projects that are on track to come through northcentral Ohio have landowners talking.

Long after the April 16 informational meeting at the OARDC had ended, farmers and other landowners were still discussing their opinions of the various projects and how they’ll impact their own operation.

Related: See the main article from this meeting.

Some farmers noted that if all the lines are built that are proposed, they could have as many as four or five gas lines crossing their own property, in addition to properties they rent.

Joe Rice, a grain producer from Rice Farms, along U.S. Route 250 between Wooster and Ashland, said he’s facing a pipeline being built across two of his own farms, plus four farms that he rents.

“I would rather it wasn’t happening, but it’s a reality,” he said.

Making the most

That seemed to be a common feeling among farmers at the meeting — with most noting they can’t stop the projects at this point — and are instead forced to “make the best of it.”

Dan Bowers, who operates a grain farm west of Wooster, said five of his family’s farms would be affected. They’ve been approached by representatives with the Utopia project, but as of the meeting, had not yet signed a lease.

“This doesn’t just affect the first generation,” Bowers said. “This affects the next after the next.”

Laura Kinsey and her husband, Brett, recently moved to the Wooster area from West Cleveland, for a more peaceful setting. They currently live behind Pine Tree Barn, a major Christmas tree farm and retail destination.

Changing the landscape

The 711-mile, interstate Rover Pipeline planned for that area won’t travel across the Kinsey property, but could affect nearby properties.

“We’re just concerned about the change of landscape and what that means,” Laura Kinsey said.

On the upside, the pipelines could bring some new wealth to landowners, if leases are done right, and new employment, jobs and certain tax revenue related to the pipeline itself and any structures that are built.

Dale Arnold, Ohio Farm Bureau’s energy policy director, said landowners need to work with their attorneys to ensure that leases stipulate the energy company will pay for taxes related to their own structures, and for taxes that could potentially be enacted in the future.


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