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Pipeline project tops Tyler county Commission discussion

By Staff | Feb 18, 2015

Representatives of the Rover Pipeline Project presented to Tyler County Commissioners at their regular meeting on Feb. 10, an overview of their plans to transport natural gas to markets in the central United States and Canada.

Sharon Carter of Rover Pipeline said the pipeline system would be designed to transport 3.25 billion cubic feet per day of domestically produced natural gas to markets in Michigan, Ohio, and Canada. She said gas would travel through approximately 710 miles of pipeline.

Pipeline diameters would range from 24-inch to 42-inch, according to Carter. She went on to say 80 percent of the pipeline will run under agricultural land and parallel to existing pipelines, power lines, or roads. She made mention the lines laid in Tyler County would be 36-inch lines, which could be laid within 100 feet of landowners homes.

She explained that 68 percent of the gas would be delivered into the Midwest Hub at Defiance, Ohio, with the remaining 32 percent delivered to markets in Michigan through an interconnect with the existing Vector pipeline and into the Union Gas Dawn Hub, at Ontario, Canada.

Carter stressed the Safety and Monitoring of the pipeline, which she said would be equipped with advanced technology and receive regular testing. She said it will be monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year by a full time gas control and operating/maintenance staff.

“We have made a construction commitment that the pipeline will meet or exceed all required safety systems and typically exceed the minimum requirements in accordance with all applicable Federal standards,” said Carter.

Rover Pipeline is working with Land Stewards, LLC, a nationally recognized agricultural mitigation and restoration firm, to make local accommodations and achieve full restoration of impacted land. “We are conducting a survey routing analysis and civil, environmental, and cultural resource surveys are close to being complete to determine final route alignment,” she said. Plans are underway to assist in routing, mitigation, and reclamation for unique land forms. They continue to work with landowners to negotiate easement agreements.

The purpose of the pipeline, said Carter, is to provide an abundant supply of natural gas to reduce the country’s reliance upon foreign energy. Explaining the needs for natural gas, she said Ohio is the eighth largest and Michigan the ninth largest consumers of natural gas in the U.S. However Ohio is the 19th and Michigan the 17th largest producers, leaving leaving both states to import gas to meet their demand.

The current issue, she said, is market access. There are not enough pipelines to move gas from production regions to markets. The Marcellus and Utica natural gas production is forecasted to increase by 44 percent in the next 25 years.

Quoting statistics she said, “The Rover Pipeline economic impact will be an infrastructure investment of $3.7 billion, with more than $124 million direct payments to landowers for property, 10,000 construction jobs would be created, and Rover Pipeline is committed to utilizing union labor resources exclusively to construct the pipeline.” Carter also mentioned 100 percent of the pipe fittings and 76 percent of the pipe will be produced in the U.S.

Carter gave a rundown on the total estimated taxes to be paid annually. She said, “Ohio would receive $135 million, Michigan $6 million, West Virginia $3.9 million, and Pennsylvania $1.3 million. West Virginia will have a total of around 55 miles of pipeline with 24 miles of that being in Tyler County.”

Rover has met with all elected officials-federal, state, and local-to brief them on the project. Teams are in place to continuously reach out and update officials and to respond to their questions and concerns. She also said they will meet with county emergency responders to address concerns and answer questions.

According to Carter, Rover’s commitment is to treat all landowners with respect, honesty, and integrity and to live up to their promises during and after construction and throughout operations. “The safety and reliability are Rover Pipeline’s top priorities for the landowners and communities we serve,” she said. “Environmental protection and minimization of impacts to agricultural land are critically important to Rover Pipeline and we will avoid, then minimize, and, at last resort where impacts are unavoidable, will mitigate and reclaim any impacts to environmental resources.

“For all agricultural areas, Rover Pipeline will protect the vital top soil, restore the land to pre-construction elevations and contours, and will repair and replace any impacts to drain tiles or drainage systems traversed by the pipeline,” she continued.

County Commission Vice President Charles A. Smith, speaking for the entire commission, expressed great concern with the proximity of the proposed laying of 36-inch pipeline within 100 feet of landowners’ homes. He said, we all know what happened when a smaller line exploded down in southern W.Va. He said he is not speaking against the project and does welcome the gas industry because he sees great things happening, however the commission’s main objective is for the safety of our citizens. “We are deeply concerned with the safety of the citizens of Tyler County if ‘God forbid’ something did happen,” said Smith. He went on to ask if there could be changes made where the lines would not be laid as close to the homes.

Dave Testa, senior environmental scientist and project manager for Rover, said the footage boundaries can be negotiated. Smith said the county commission wants to see a minimum distance from home to be 500 feet. He asked Testa if he would take that back and relay the message to his company. Testa said it would be something they would consider even though the permits for the 100-foot distance have already been submitted to the Federal Energy Regulation Commission.

Commissioners also unanimously approved a resolution opposing the construction of the pipeline within 500 feet of an established residence which reads as such.

Whereas, ET Rover Pipeline LLC, has proposed to build a $4.3 Billion dollar pipeline in which a 36-inch diameter high pressure natural gas line will traverse Tyler County and be known as the Sherwood Lateral, and;

Whereas, The Tyler County Commission has concerns regarding property rights of citizens, along with the limited use of right-of-ways while maintaining the responsibility for taxes where the ET Rover Sherwood Lateral is proposed to be located, and;

Whereas, The Tyler County Commission does not oppose the Sherwood Lateral 36-inch pipeline and recognizes this as a necessary way to move natural gas, oil, or other products that may be needed for the continued economic stability of our nation, and;

Whereas, The Tyler County Commission has concerns for the safety of our citizens and our children who reside near the proposed ET Rover Sherwood Lateral line due to the imminent danger of loss of life in the event of a ruptured gas line, and;

Whereas, The Tyler County Commission opposes the placing of ET Rovers Sherwood Lateral 36-inch line within 500 feet of an inhabited residence within Tyler County without the obtained written permission from the property owner, and;

Whereas, The Tyler County Commission after being made aware of several residences within the catastrophic blast area of the proposed ET Rover Pipeline, having discussions with the affected property owners, feel it is the responsibility of the Commissioners to intervene on behalf of the affected landowners, and;

Now therefore, be it resolved that the Tyler County Commission opposes the construction of ET Rover Pipeline Sherwood Lateral in any portion of Tyler County within 500 feet of an established residence without the written permission of the affected property owner. Recognition of the need to transport the natural resources of the State of West Virginia is apparent, although this should not be permitted at the risk of the lives of citizens and children of Tyler County. The Tyler County Commission formally asks the Federal Energy Regulation Commission (FERC) to enforce reroute segments to avoid residences within 500 feet of proposed gas line, and our state and federal legislators to support us in this effort to have a minimum safe distance of safety for the residence of Tyler County and the State of West Virginia.

So resolved, this 10th day of February 2015.

The resolution was signed by Eric Vincent, president of the Tyler County Board of Commissioners and attested to by Teresea Hamilton, county clerk.

Rosanne Eastham, director of the Middlebourne Public Library, appeared before the commissioners on Tuesday to give them an update on the activities currently being held at the library and to thank them for their support.

She said they greatly appreciate the increase this past year and that support will continue.

Eastham said she had gone to the Middlebourne town council’s last meeting and they are going to try and pass an ordinance for a library levy. She said, “Hopefully it will pass I will be doing a lot of leg work to help it get passed.” She felt passage of the levy would help ease the financial burden on everyone else.

She said the library still has a craft night for students and the average attendance is between 60 and 75 students. There is also a book group with about 30 women in it, and anyone who wants to attend is welcome to do so.

She said there is also a beginners cooking class with 10 to 15 taking it right now. She is also planning to start a middle school theatrical group which will be held at the library.

“This year we are expecting about $18,000 in grants and aid, but we have also been informed that there may be cuts in the fourth quarter of the year,” said Eastham. “Last year we received $17,800 from the Board of Education, which was a nice surprise as it was the most we have ever received from them. The county gave us $3,000 and the town, $1,000.” She again thanked the Commissioners for there continued support.

Kim ________ from the County Clerk’s office is continuing to work on the In God We Trust display for the courthouse, but is not having much luck with one of the companies. Two companies are being considered for making the sign.

Commissioners received a bill from Coon Restoration & Sealants, Inc. demanding payment for work completed. It was learned that the company filed a $57,150 waiver of lien for work performed and completed. The letter read by Vincent said there is still $6,350 worth of work unfinished.

Commissioners questioned the completion of the work.

It was noted that gutters are leaking on the front of the courthouse and there are still several things remaining including roof work and other gutter work. Commissioner John Stender made a motion to table discussion until they contact the company. Smith seconded the motion and it was approved unanimously.

Commissioners agreed to sign a Statement of Existence letter for Momentive. It was mentioned this would put them on the tax records for the county. They have recently emerged from bankruptcy.

Commissioners also approved a bill from Jackson Towing in the amount of $1,312.50 for storage on a seized four-wheel all-terrain vehicle. Commissioners agreed to continue looking at putting up a building for storage of seized property and for animals.

Assessor Jackson Hayes reported on the tax exonerations and Teresea Hamilton read the clerk’s fiduciary report.

Commissioners approved the minutes for the Dec. 9, Dec. 23, Jan. 13, and Jan. 27 meetings.