Residents learn about Bluegrass Pipeline

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Columbiana County leaders and residents got a chance Wednesday to have their questions answered about a liquid gas pipeline project that could cut right through the county.

Williams and Boardwalk Pipeline Partners have joined forces to design and develop the Bluegrass Pipeline. Company officials held an open house at Das Dutch Village Inn in Columbiana, alking with residents about land leases and right-of-way easements.

The 1,110-mile pipeline would run from Mercer County, down through Ohio, and all the way to the Gulf Coast. More than half of the pipeline, the portion from Kentucky to Louisiana, already exists and company officials are talking about constructing 500 more miles to connect the Marcellus and Utica shale in our area and link it to take the liquid gas products to the Gulf Coast.

“And really what that does, is that helps us reduce the footprint of this project because it’s already exisiting,” said Williams company spokesperson Sara Delgado.

The project would create upwards of 6,000 construction jobs to build the pipeline through the Buckeye State.

“They’re here right now, and construction workers work themselves out of a job, so as we would finish say, v&m, they’re going to roll right into these compressor stations and pipeline work, it’s going to be a great opportunity to keep the trades strong here in the area,” said Don Crane, president of the Western Reserve Building Trades Council.

But construction jobs would not be the only economic benefit.

“We will be paying taxes, we’ll have these construction jobs, which the people who are working on the pipeline, they need a place to stay, they need to go to restaurants, they need to get their haircut, so there’s going to be a lot of ancillary services that are needed throughout this process,” Delgado said.

The companies are still in the engineering, design and permitting phase of the project. New construction could start in late 2014, with liquid gas flowing down the pipeline by the end of 2015. The pipeline could be capable of transporting more than 200,000 barrels of liquid gas per day.

Joanne Cope already has one pipeline under her family farm’s property in Unity Township and said she would welcome another right beside it.

“It’ll be buried 4 feet, so that’s good for farming, and that’s far enough that it won’t impact anything for us,” Cope said.

“A lot of the residents or farmers out in the township would probably receive some royalties for right-of-ways, so we’re pretty excited that those folks will be able to benefit from it,” said Columbiana County Commissioner Tim Weigle.

Not too many people at Wednesday’s meeting had negative things to say about the proposed project, but in Kentucky, a group of landowners and environmental activists are protesting the Bluegrass Pipeline at the state capital. They said it will carry dangerous chemicals and highly flammable liquids right below the feet of folks in several northern Kentucky counties.

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