County opposing natural gas pipeline


Columbia Gas of Ohio is asking to build 4.78 miles natural gas pipeline beginning at Watkins-California Road, between U.S. 42 and Derio Road, and ending on Industrial Parkway near Veyance Technologies. The red line indicates the proposed route of the line. (Photo submitted)

The Union County Commissioners are filing an appeal to a project that would bring nearly five miles of gas line from Jerome Township and into Marysville.
“While we are not so much opposed to what they are doing, we just don’t feel it goes far enough,” said Tim Hansley, Union County Administrator.
In December, Columbia Gas submitted a Letter of Notification, indicating they intended to construct a 4.78 miles natural gas pipeline, known as the Marysville Connector, beginning at Watkins-California Road between U.S. 42 and Derio Road and ending on Industrial Parkway near Veyance Technologies.
While Columbia Gas says the majority of the 12-inch natural gas main will be constructed within permanent private pipeline easements, paperwork from the company says it does not actually have any of those easements yet. In addition to the 4.78-mile length of the pipeline right-of-way, Columbia Gas says it will obtain land rights for staging areas that will be situated along the pipeline right-of-way and other areas needed during construction.
According to paperwork from the company, the gas line will need to cross public rights-of-way at Watkins-California Road, U.S. Route 33, Beecher Gamble Road, Adelsberger Road and Industrial Parkway.
If approved, Columbia Gas says it intends to begin the pipeline construction on Feb. 21, 2022, and have the project completed by the end of that year.
“The Project will provide natural gas service to new industries and residential development along the route,” according to the letter.
Rather than go through the typical approval process, Columbia Gas is applying for an accelerated certificate. Local officials are saying the accelerated process is not appropriate for this project.
Officials say the Marysville Connector is part of the much longer Northern Loop.
The Northern Loop Project is “designed to bring natural gas from pipelines on the eastern side of Franklin County, where supplies are abundant, to areas north and west of Columbus.”
In his response to the notification, Michael J. Settineri, an attorney for the Ohio Gas Access Partnership, Inc., argues that the Northern Loop, “will likely connect with the Marysville Connector.”
“Columbia itself refers to the Northern Loop and the Marysville Connector as a single project,” Settineri wrote, noting that the overall project should not qualify for the accelerated project due to its size.
The Ohio Gas Access Partnership, Inc. (OGAP) is a collaborative group of public and private entities in Union, Madison, Logan and Franklin counties, “and have an interest in pursuing long-term regional solutions to current natural gas capacity concerns.”
“OGAP appreciate Columbia’s recognition that there are natural gas supply constraints in western Central Ohio, but believes that the project is not an effective or correct way to address those concerns,” according to Settineri’s comments.
Hansley said OGAP entities are working together to benefit not just one community, but customers in the entire region. He said that while the Marysville Connector will likely meet the natural gas needs of customers in Marysville and Jerome and Millcreek townships, it will not meet the needs of customers outside that area.
“Why stop there?” Hansley asked. “Why not go with a plan that would serve everybody and meet all the needs?”
He said there is a different route that could meet more needs, but likely would be more expensive for Columbia Gas.
“That really is our contention, that there is a better way to serve the needs we have,” Hansley said.
Settineri explained that “long-term solutions will require significant capital investment by many entities, including Columbia and other natural gas utilities.”
“The project…is not a long-term solution and if implemented will result in capital being diverted to build a pipeline that will not meet the needs of the region and will not be in the public interest.”
Hansley said the process has been difficult because, “we have had a really hard time getting answers from Columbia Gas.”
He said the county commissioners are meeting with Columbia Gas next week.
The Ohio Power Sitting Board is in the process of reviewing documents and comments on the matter.

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