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590-mile pipeline alters route through parts of Ohio, Michigan

Jon Chavez | The Blade

A new 590-mile pipeline to ferry natural gas from shale-rich areas of eastern Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia is altering its route and could change again before submitting its final plans to a federal agency.

The ET Rover Pipeline, which will connect to other gas pipelines in southeastern Ohio, swings up and across the Buckeye state through northwest Ohio and pushes through nine Michigan counties before connecting to a pipeline that connects to Canada. It will cost $4.3 billion, and will be completed in mid-2017 if all goes correctly.

But since the 42-inch pipeline project was announced in July, the builder, ET Rover Pipeline LLC, a subsidiary of Energy Transfer Partners, has had to shift its path after its environmental survey found problems along the previously planned route.

“Sometimes in our survey we will find an endangered species or a cemetery and then we have to change the route,” company spokesman Vicki Granado said.

Ms. Granado didn’t specify what the survey revealed, but said the pipeline will now go higher up in Michigan, and further south in Ohio. As a result, the company will hold two open meetings in Michigan on Sept. 16 and 17, and a meeting in St. Clairsville in Belmont County in southeastern Ohio on Sept. 18.

The company hopes to be done with all its surveys by year’s end so that it can submit its official plan with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. But it’s possible the route could change again, Ms. Granado said.

In northwest Ohio, the pipeline — which can carry up to 3.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day — will pass through Seneca, Hancock, Wood, Henry, Defiance, and Fulton counties. It will extend to Lenawee County and continue north through three other Michigan counties before turning east and passing through five more counties.

Related: $1B shale-gas pipeline to move ahead

The pipeline’s owners say the project will create 10,000 temporary construction jobs and 30 to 40 additional permanent jobs.

About 383 miles of the pipeline would be in Ohio and 207 miles would be in Michigan. The builders say it would generate about $137 million a year in federal, state, and local real estate and property taxes in Ohio while in service. It would generate $11 million in Michigan. The builders estimate it would also generate $77 million in Ohio sales tax annually.

If federal approval is given, construction could start in January, 2016, with completion 11 months later.

Energy Transfer has proposed the pipeline to attempt to take advantage of the Marcellus and Utica shale deposits in eastern Ohio, western Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, which are rich in natural gas.

Ms. Granado said that the pipeline would allow gas in those areas to be transported and sold to Canada, the Gulf Coast, and parts throughout the Great Lakes. The current pipeline transmission grid makes it hard to send Marcellus and Utica shale gas much beyond Ohio.

 

Contact Jon Chavez at: jchavez@theblade.com or 419-724-6128.

 

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