Canton Repository

June 6, 2001

Pipeline builders given second extension to file plan 

Copley Washington correspondent 

WASHINGTON — The companies that plan to build a 400-mile natural gas pipeline through Ohio and Pennsylvania have received a second six-month extension for filing an environmental plan with the federal government.

In a letter transmitted early this week, a top official with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission gave Independence Pipeline Co. and ANR Pipeline Co. until Nov. 1 to file the plan, which lays out how the companies will meet federal requirements to protect and restore the environment during and after construction.

J. Mark Robinson, director of the office of energy projects at the regulatory commission said in the letter that “some additional time will allow for the continued development of survey information necessary to complete mitigation plans.”

The extension prompted howls of protest from opponents, including Gary Carter, a dairy farmer in northern Stark County, which the pipeline will cross.

“That’s absolutely absurd. That’s absolutely ridiculous,” said Carter, vice president of the Stark County Landowners Association, which opposes the $678 million project. That group is part of a larger association of Ohio-Pennsylvania landowners who contend the pipeline is unneeded and worry about losing their property to the project.

Plans are to build a 36-inch diameter pipeline from Defiance, southwest of Toledo, across Ohio to Leidy, Pa., crossing through Marlboro, Nimishillen, Washington, Lake, Plain, Jackson and Lawrence townships in Stark County. 

Joe Martucci, spokesman for ANR Pipeline in Detroit, welcomed the
extension, which he said provides time to complete surveys of land along the proposed path. ANR and Independence Pipeline are collaborating on the project.

“We are going about that (surveys) right now and making steady progress, and we’re hoping to work with landowners in a cooperative way to gain access to their land to complete all the survey work, which is required for the implementation plan,” Martucci said.

Federal officials received an implementation plan from the project last Oct. 10 but said more information was needed, and gave the pipeline until May 1 to provide it.

Last November, Daniel M. Adamson, former director of the office of energy projects under President Clinton, said if the companies missed the deadline their federally granted authority to build the pipeline “could be in jeopardy.”

Martucci said the companies have surveyed about 50 percent of land for the pipeline in Ohio and about three-fourths in Pennsylvania. Although the companies contend that Ohio and Pennsylvania laws allow them to survey land without permission from owners, Martucci said surveyors are skipping property where they don’t have permission and “hoping to work with landowners in a cooperative way.”

The companies plan to begin construction in late summer 2002 and have the pipeline in service by July 2003.