Part I: Interstate pipelines planned in Ohio

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(Part I of a two-part series.)

(A Harrison County farm family shares what they have learned about negotiating three pipeline easements for their farm in part II.)

SALEM, Ohio —  The shale boom has brought a great deal of pipeline construction to eastern Ohio. However, now that wells are online and pumping, the boom is echoing beyond Ohio and larger, interstate pipeline projects are being considered.

The bottom line is that Ohio landowners should prepare for pipeline construction, and that means being aware of what pipelines are being considered.

According to the Ohio Farm Bureau Farm Federation, over 38,000 miles of pipeline will be refitted or new ones constructed in the next 10 years.

Pipeline types

There are several types of pipelines being constructed, including collection lines, intrastate lines and interstate lines. They can range in size from 3 or 4 inches in diameter all the way to 42 inches.

Collection lines extend from the oil and gas wells and are governed by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Intrastate lines are controlled by the Public Utility Commission of Ohio and the Ohio Power Siting Board unless they transport liquids like the ethane, propane, butane, and natural gasoline. Proposed liquids lines include the Blueracer, Sunoco or Bluegrass lines.

Interstate lines are governed by the Federal Energy Regulation Commission. Any pipelines under FERC can mean the use of eminent domain if a landowner and the pipeline company can’t reach a leasing agreement. However, most pipeline companies don’t want the issue to go that far, and want to find a deal that makes both parties happy.

In addition to the collection and intrastate lines under construction, three new interstate lines are being considered for Ohio. They are in the preliminary stages and FERC applications have not been submitted for any of them. However, the companies are working to complete preliminary work such as environmental studies or surveys.

ET Rover pipeline

ET Rover Pipeline, a subsidiary of Energy Transfer, is a new interstate natural gas pipeline company that will transport natural gas from processing facilities located in the Marcellus and Utica shale areas to market regions in the United States and Canada.

The Rover pipeline project will move natural gas from processing plants and interconnections in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio to Energy Transfer’s existing Panhandle Eastern Pipe Line and the ANR Pipeline near Defiance, Ohio.

The planned pipeline route will stretch through Defiance, Fulton, Henry, Wood, Hancock, Seneca, Crawford, Richland, Ashland, Wayne, Stark, Carroll, Harrison, Belmont and the tip of Monroe counties.

Additionally, the Rover Pipeline Project expects to construct a segment from the Defiance, Ohio, area through Michigan and ultimately to the Union Gas Dawn Hub, in Ontario, Canada, providing producers with access to storage facilities, and end-users in Michigan and Canada.

Pipeline design

The Rover Pipeline is being designed to transport 3.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day through approximately 800 miles of 36- and 42-inch pipeline.
ET Rover will also need to build compression and metering stations along its route. Tentatively, the Rover Pipeline has plans for four mainline compressor stations and five lateral compressor stations. As of now, the pipeline’s capacity will be filled.

Natural gas will be delivered to two interstate pipelines at the Midwest Hub-Defiance, Ohio; to Consumers Energy, Vector, and Michigan Consolidated in Michigan, and to the Union Gas Dawn Hub, Ontario Canada.

Approximately 80 percent of the main transmission line will be under agricultural property and will parallel existing pipelines, power lines, or roads.

The company is still preparing to submit a formal application to FERC in January 2015.

Currently, environmental surveys are being completed along the proposed route, but landowners will have to wait before negotiations will begin for pipeline easements.

ET Rover Spokeswoman Vicki Anderson Granado said the company will wait until it gains approval from FERC before negotiating for easements.

Nexus Pipeline

The Nexus pipeline is also being considered for development across parts of Ohio. The pipeline would begin in Ohio and extend to Michigan and end in Ontario.

The proposed path for the NEXUS project, capable of transporting 2 billion cubic feet per day, will extend approximately 250 miles from emerging Appalachian shale gas supplies in eastern Ohio to southeastern Michigan, Chicago, and Ontario.

The initial project will connect with Texas Eastern Transmission and Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company in the Appalachian Basin, with Michigan Consolidated Gas Company and Consumers Energy in Michigan, and with the Enbridge Tecumseh storage facility and the Union Gas Limited Dawn Hub in Ontario.

The proposed NEXUS Project is in the early development stage, with plans to start the pre-filing process in the first quarter of 2015.

The project is years away from beginning construction, according to a company spokesman.

ANR East

ANR East is an interstate project that is being evaluated by the parent pipeline company, ANR Pipeline system. The ANR East will be a 500-mile line that will transport natural gas from Clarington, Ohio, to Bridgman, Mich.

It is under consideration, but the company does not expect a definite decision until the end of 2014. If the company approves the project, an application would be submitted to FERC in early 2015.

Since it is in the preliminary stage, there is no definite details, but it is anticipated to carry 1.2 billion to 2 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas. It appears to take a similar route to the ET Rover pipeline.

The only preliminary work happening on the project could be some landmen doing preliminary work on easement agreements. A definite path of construction has not been determined but should be available in a few months.

Jenna Palfrey, senior communications specialist, said the company hosts a community relations line and encourages the community to call and ask questions as well as report anyone who appears to be an employee of ANR EAST, if they are not being professional or not doing as they should. The phone number is 855-895-8754.

What is next?

The three interstate pipelines are in the pre-filing process periods. Once they submit an application for a permit, the FERC will conduct a review of the project, evaluating the need, proposed facility locations and overall impacts of the construction and operation of the expansion.

The pipeline companies plan on having open houses where landowners who are impacted will be able to ask questions. In addition, any FERC project will have a hearing in the areas impacted, and landowners can share their concerns and views about the project.

None of these three projects are close to this point.

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17 COMMENTS

  1. I suggest that you ask the property owners how they feel about having their properties taken with unconstitutional private agency imminent domain by foreign companies that have horrible safety records, misrepresent information, bully property owners, and fail to comply with the law.

  2. The ROW Agent was just here this week to request our signature on their Survey form. We have not signed it, and are somewhat distressed over it, as we just bought this house less than 30 days ago. What a warm welcome to the neighborhood! New Franklin, OH

    • Debbie, I am sorry to hear of your surprise. We too are the recipients of such a letter with Nexus. However our pain is we have invested over 20 years creating our “personal” property the way we want it and now all that time and energy is threatened by some pipeline that has no benefit for me or my neighbors. Please consider joining us in standing for our property owner rights!

      https://www.facebook.com/MedinaNOnexus

    • We have a Facebook page, Ohioans Against Pipelines for Export, and will be announcing an organizing meeting in NW Ohio soon – perhaps Defiance. You may contact us directly if you would like input from others about how people are fighting back to protect their property values and peaceful enjoyment of their homes.

  3. This is a nice view from 30,000 feet of pipelines in the planning stages. However, the real issues are on the ground, concerning private property rights.

    We are in the route of the Nexus pipeline. We have no interest in allowing a survey of our property or allowing a pipeline to be constructed across our property, in our populated neighborhood or our county.

    After contacting our legal counsel we understand the approval to build these pipelines falls under the jurisdiction of the federal government, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) will make the final decision on routing based upon the company’s application. Because these are international pipelines, the Secretary of State and the President must also approve them.

    FERC representatives stated that they were not in the business of denying pipeline applications. Their mission was to see that when companies build they adhere to minimum standards set by FERC. Do your homework. You will be surprised at the minimum standards in place. I thought the government was looking out for citizens interests. Where do we turn for representation?

    I called our attorneys again. They said we could object to a survey but a pipeline company can go into Ohio court and obtain an order that forces us to let them survey our property. They also said that once the route of the pipeline is approved by FERC, we could spend a hundred thousand dollars fighting a battle in court and not be successful. Why? They said, because when FERC confers a certificate to begin construction, it includes the power to use eminent domain to take our property for its own use. What? How could we be forced by a private company to allow a survey? How can we be forced to give up our property for a commercial project? Isn’t this America?
    Where did an administrative agency of the federal government get the right to give a business the power to take private property for a commercial purpose?

    Further our attorneys said, the best way to protect our private property rights was to organize as neighbors, organize the neighborhood, organize our county and every county on the proposed route, collectively resist through objecting to a survey, stand together when agents from pipeline companies approach personally, obtain the written support of local government officials, and continue to voice objection and stay united. If Nexus, Rover or any other company finds the route through our property, our neighborhood and county too difficult or costly to obtain they will go somewhere else. Better yet they suggested, find a route that makes more sense. We have done all of this.

    We are writing to encourage your efforts in this process. We are organizing, resisting and preparing to defend our personal property from the un-just, misuse of eminent domain.

    We had signs printed stating NO TRESSPASSING, NO SURVEYING, NO PIPELINE. We make them available to anyone who wants them.

    Nexus may choose to use the legal system and eminent domain to obtain the right-of-way they want across our properties. But they will wish they had not tried. Our fight will continue until the judges see the error in their rulings and roll back the power they have conferred on administrative agencies. Judges don’t always get it right. Remember the Dred Scott Decision, Plessey v Ferguson and Korematsu v United States?

    If you feel as we do that the Nexus pipeline and the route that it is presently taking does nothing to enhance the civil, environmental or cultural value of your community, speak out and join in.

    Please don’t sit by and allow yet another company to take private property for their own gain with very little if any benefit to Ohio and its citizens.

    • Hi Paul,

      It’s obvious that pipelines are a hot button issue in Ohio and Pennsylvania. That’s not a statement I make lightly. As a reporter, my phone has rang constantly since the article was published. I can see why you and many landowners are upset.
      While I don’t have an exact answer, I did want to let you know that the second part in the series regarding pipelines will be live online this Thursday, Oct. 30. Be sure to check it out.
      I interviewed Dave and George Mizer for the story. Maybe something the Mizer family will help you. They have three pipelines running through their property now and ET Rover is surveying the area now.

      • Kristy, regarding the Nexus pipeline filing, Arthur Diestel was interviewed by a Toledo radio station earlier this week and he mentioned they are planning to file with FERC by the end of this year.
        http://www.wspd.com/media/podcast-fred-lefebvre-podcasts-Fred/1029-arthur-diestel-from-spectra-energy-25493109/

        As you stated, this is a hot button for many. In our area (Medina County) its especially hot because Nexus seemed to only care about the shortest path, and based on their proposed route, not the populated neighborhoods. Landowners feel totally defenseless when the “process” overrides a property owners right to say no-not on my land? This is a huge wake-up call for all of us citizens who may have been uninvolved or apathetic. Today my land, tomorrow ?

    • Hi, Paul – thanks for all you are doing. We are testifying against the Rover pipeline tomorrow to FERC. We would like to have some signs. We need to get organized. I am on the Board of the Ohio Community Rights Network. Please let me know how we may work together to stop this insanity. I believe we should be able to at least file against three huge pipelines have similar routes and against imminent domain because this IS a for-profit industry, and the gas is not for us.

      • Lea

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    • Paul,
      I am just learning about this pipeline. I live in Defiance County where the pipelines are destined before routing north. We are trying to inform our citizens. We are trying to get a meeting together for July 30. How can I learn more about what you and your contacts are doing?

  4. Place a few bat houses on your property. When summer arrives identify how many bats are using the boxes. Find a naturalist who can identify the proper bat for you (short, long-eared, etc.). Plant shagbark hickories, construct a wetland, see if a cultural resource specialist can find a few arrowheads on your property. Draw a map of your property and identify these natural and cultural resources on the map. Send it to FERC, and create a handout to give to property procurement specialists when they come a-calling. Make sure you relay the information on to the proper state agencies.

    • The planting of shagbark hickories, though it will take years, provides habitat for bats. They will use the tree for roosting instead of caves and other crevices. The bark curls and the bats find shelter under the bark. If bats are endangered or threatened and shagbark hickories are present (especially the mature trees – 12″ in diameter), they can’t be removed. For now you can tell the environmental agencies that the area has been planted for habitat for threatened and endangered species. You can also mention it when right-of-way folks come calling. They should report back to their clients any type of environmental constraint that may be present. Check with your state to see what species are threatened or endangered. You’ll be protecting your property possibly for now, and in the future.

  5. Thanks Karen. This is great news for me as I have a Huge old Shagbark on my pipeline threatened property near ground zero targeted by Nexus. I have also captured pictures of bats in the area and have thought they could be Indiana Brown bats. Makes sense…….

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