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Ohio Utica Shale

Pipeline work beginning in Ohio's Muskingum, Coshocton counties

By Bob Downing Published: November 5, 2012

From the Coshocton Tribune and reporter Brian Gadd:

Although work on the Appalachia to Texas Pipeline (ATEX) isn’t expected to begin until 2013, pipe already is being brought into the area, property easements are being worked out and some people still are fighting against the pipeline.

For residents such as Dr. Denley Schlegel, of Coshocton, the pipeline is a bad deal because it will disturb his Virginia Township property and the environment.

“I’m not in favor of it, and wrote (U.S. Sen. Rob) Portman and (Ohio Gov. John) Kasich about it,” Schlegel said. “No amount of money will compensate me for the next generation that will have to deal with this pipeline. This pipeline will be here forever.”

On a positive note, 700 construction workers are expected to take part in the project in Eastern and Central Ohio, bringing with it the promise of a retail boost for restaurants and hotels.

Site work has been conducted at locations in Muskingum and Coshocton counties for pipe storage in advance of work on the local segments of the 1,230-mile line that will stretch from western Pennsylvania to Texas by 2014.

“We’re preparing for construction by staging pipe a few miles from where construction will be,” Enterprise Products spokesman Rick Rainey said. “These are central staging areas where we’ll be able to bring pipe in by rail and then truck to construction zones.”

The laydown yard in Muskingum County is at the Ohio 586/Ohio 16 interchange west of Frazeysburg near Ohio Oil Gathering, said Frazeysburg Mayor Gary Middlemus. He said the site was established about three weeks ago.

Enterprise also signed an 18-month lease with the Coshocton Port Authority in September to use a 23-acre site on Papermill Road.

Port Authority Executive Director Dorothy Skowrunski said the rail service at the ethanol plant site can accommodate 10 cars at a time.

By using rail and state routes to transport the pipe by truck, local routes will be spared truck traffic wear and tear during construction of the pipeline, she said.

“We don’t have to drive through Main Street in Coshocton, we can use (Ohio) 83, 16 and 36,” she said.

The project and concerns

Rainey said work to lay down 20-inch pipe to carry ethane from the Marcellus and Utica shales in the area is slated to begin early in 2013.

Aabout 261 miles of pipeline will snake through 13 Ohio counties. The pipeline then will connect with an existing Enterprise terminal in Seymour, Ind.

An existing pipeline which brings natural gas products from the Gulf Coast region to the Midwest will have its flow reversed to transport the ethane product to Enterprise’s storage facility in Texas.

The new pipeline was the subject of several landowner meetings in the area earlier this year, with concerns raised about the effect on property and safety.

Rainey said Enterprise is finalizing right-of-way acquisition with landowners and that “there haven’t been any issues we haven’t been able to address.” He said the public forums held on the issue were well-attended.

“There was just a lot of uncertainty, people wanted to know how this pipeline is going to affect them,” he said.

A website, www.atexexpresspipeline.com, was set up to provide fact sheets and to answer frequently asked questions to provide as much information as possible to landowners.

Attorney Michael Braunstein, who along with partner William Goldman is representing more than 50 landowners in an eminent domain case against Enterprise, said they have been working with Enterprise to negotiate changes to pipeline easements that protect landowners’ property concerns.

He said those changes still are being worked out and he is awaiting word from Enterprise on final agreements.

One person who declined an invitation to negotiate with the group, Dave Bonifant, of Nashport, chose to go it alone to address concerns about more than three acres of his tree farm being affected by the pipeline, Braunstein said.

Bonifant had organized a landowners’ meeting on behalf of neighboring property owners this spring to discuss the project.

He said giving up three acres of his tree farm, even for prices ranging from $3,000 to $9,000 an acre, was not in his plans.

Schlegel agreed.

“No amount of money will make me feel good about this,” he said. “And my house was my retirement, my version of heaven. And they want to take their pipeline down my driveway, through my living room. I can’t move my farm.”

Economic impact

Meanwhile, Rainey said, Enterprise is in the process of lining up subcontractors for site preparation, concrete pads, mats for heavy equipment to sit on and for hauling waste products.

“We want to use local contractors, but we’re also working with chambers of commerce to identify housing for some of the workers, anything that is available,” Rainey said.

Middlemus said he hopes workers will be spending money at stores in the village when the work begins in the area.

“We’re hoping they will help us out,” he said.

The company also will work with government officials to ensure property and roads that are disturbed are restored to their original conditions, Rainey said.

Coshocton County Commissioner Dane Shryock thinks the pipeline will have a positive economic impact on the county. Enterprise began approaching county officials along the pipeline route about a year ago to discuss the project.

The pipeline development is providing lease options for property, and the work force employed on the project will be eating at area restaurants and staying at the hotels, Shryock said, resulting in an increase in sales tax revenue for the county.

Contractors in the tri-county area also will have an opportunity to participate in the project, he said.

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Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management State agency Web site.

ODNR Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management. State drilling permits. List is updated weekly.

ODNR Division of Geological Survey.

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Ohio State University Extension.

Ohio Farm Bureau.

Ohio Oil and Gas Association, a Granville-based group that represents 1,500 Ohio energy-related companies.

Ohio Oil & Gas Energy Education Program.

Energy In Depth, a trade group.

Marcellus and Utica Shale Resource Center by Ohio law firm Bricker & Eckler.

Utica Shale, a compilation of Utica shale activities.

Landman Report Card, a site that looks at companies involved in gas and oil leases.FracFocus, a compilation of chemicals used in fracking individual wells as reported voluntarily by some drillers.

Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.

Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.

Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.

National Geographic's The Great Shale Rush.

The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.

Buckeye Forest Council.

Earthjustice, a national eco-group.

Stop Fracking Ohio.

People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.

Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.

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Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.

Penn State Marcellus Center.

Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.

Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.