While officials are objecting to a proposed gas line coming through Union County, Columbia Gas of Ohio says its plan meets the needs of the region.
In December, Columbia Gas submitted a Letter of Notification, indicating it intended to construct a natural gas pipeline, known as the Marysville Connector. The 4.78-mile line would begin at Watkins-California Road, between U.S. 42 and Derio Road, and ending on Industrial Parkway near Veyance Technologies.
“The Project will provide natural gas service to new industries and residential development along the route,” according to the letter.
County officials say they are not opposed to the plan, but believe it does not go far enough to help customers outside of Marysville.
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.
Eric Hardgrove, manager for communications and community relations at Columbia Gas of Ohio, said the company looked at 30-year growth trends and predictions for the region. He said the company is “committed to the communities we serve” as well as to “continuing to be a good partner.”
“We have done the studies and looked at a number of options,” Hardgrove said. “We have looked at how we can best meet the needs and we believe this plan will meet the needs of our current customers as well as future growth.”
He said studies from Union County and Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission have indicated the future growth will occur in the corridor along U.S. 33 between Dublin and Marysville.
Local officials are part of the Ohio Gas Access Partnership, Inc. (OGAP), a collaborative group of public and private entities in Union, Madison, Logan and Franklin counties. Members have agreed to oppose any plan that does not meet the needs of all members.
“We believe that the proposed project will meet the capacity needs and growth needs of Madison County,” Hardgrove said.
He said Logan County has not seen the same type of growth as Union County.
“If they start to see that kind of growth, we would be happy to look at options with them,” Hardgrove said.
Additionally, he said Columbia Gas is working with Logan County on two other projects to meet customer needs in that area.
Local officials are also contesting Columbia Gas’ application for an accelerated certificate on the project. Local officials say the accelerated process is not appropriate, claiming 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.”
“This is a separate plan from the Northern Loop,” Hardgrove said, adding that any claim they are connected, “is just not the case.”
While county officials have expressed frustration contacting and dealing with Columbia Gas, the utility provider and county leaders have a meeting scheduled for next week.
“Columbia Gas’ goal is to work with county officials on a solution that is feasible from financial and operational perspectives and serves the needs of the community,” Hardgrove said.
He added, “we will continue to have conversations to get a solution figured out.”
Columbia Gas says the majority of the 12-inch natural gas main will be constructed within permanent private pipeline easements, though paperwork from the company says it does not have any of those easements yet. Columbia Gas says it will also secure 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.
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