Pipeline Altering Countryside

Pipeline altering countryside

Lou Whitmire , Reporter 4:04 p.m. ET April 22, 2017
Mansfield News Journal
MANSFIELD OH- Judy Handmaker says she has cried over the Rover natural gas pipeline cutting through her family's almost 80 acres of farmland on Ohio 545.
Handmaker, 73, of Louisville, Ky., said her ancestors including Samuel Osbun, who served in both the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, settled in Richland County after the war, having owned farmland stretching from Richland Shale Road to Franklin-Church Road.
"They came to Ohio because the land is good and rich," she said.
Handmaker said she and her sister, Beth Houston Statzer of Virginia, are very distressed about what has happened to their family farm because of the pipeline.
"We fought it. We hired an attorney to speak for us. I can't begin to tell you how much our family is linked to the area," said Handmaker.
Their property is located next to Dayspring, the county home.
"Our farm has been butchered. We are just heartsick. Our mother (Edith Reid Houston) died in November 2015 at the age of 100 and she was heartbroken," she said. Handmaker grew up here and lived on the farm at Epworth until 1965. "My mother's parents came to Mansfield during the Depression in 1931 from West Virginia. We won't give up the farm. It will go to our children," she said.
Handmaker said she and her sister won't be able to rent the land to a local farmer this year for crops since the pipeline cut through it. Next year she said the farmer will be able to plant, providing the land is not flooded. She said the family no longer has a timber crop since  the oak, walnut, maple and cherry trees were cut down.
"They paid you one time for trees which were not mature," she said. "We told them we'd rather have the trees, that we didn't want any money."
Handmaker isn't the only property owner affected by the Rover pipeline.
Sixty-one property owners in Richland County have easements for the Rover pipeline, according to the Richland County Recorders Office website. Richland County Engineer Adam Gove said there are 61 property owners but there could be multiple properties.

About 35 miles of the $4.2-billion dollar, 711-mile dual-pipeline between southern Michigan and western Pennsylvania and West Virginia runs through Richland County. The second 42-inch line, which will be installed about 20 feet from the first, is expected to be completed and operating by the end of November. 'An inconvenience'

While some lament its impact on their land, others view the pipeline construction as temporary inconvenience that will serve the greater good.
People traveling on Ohio 545 have been part of traffic snarls with one lane of traffic open at various times and waits of up to 20 minutes.
Wednesday afternoon, three  semi trucks brought over-sized construction equipment to the pipeline construction site on Ohio 545 near Dayspring. Two state highway patrol cars monitored the activity throughout the day.
Some homeowners reported that the pipeline construction has meant dirty windows on their houses, dirty cars in their driveways and lots of noise from construction equipment. There is a lot more traffic, with numerous trucks and vehicles back and forth on the roads in and around northern Richland County. Big machines sweep the mud from the trucks and construction equipment off the roads.
At Ohio 603 and U.S. 42, John Kamenick can view the pipeline construction from his front door.
Kamenik, a pharmacist, said the pipeline employees working on his land are doing a pretty good job.
Kamenik, who also farms with his brothers, said the pipeline construction has meant doing some things different this planting season in their fields.
He said usually he and his brothers would be planting corn in some fields but this year they can't.
"Some things are an inconvenience," he said.
While he doesn't really care for the pipeline being in his neighborhood, Kamenik said it will help people in the big scheme of things.


Environmental concerns

Rover Pipeline construction resulted in a spill of almost 50,000 gallons of a clay-based drilling fluid into a wetland on Pavonia Road East on April 14. It was in the very spot Kathy Wolfe was most concerned about - near a nesting pair of eagles.
Wolfe and her husband, James Wolfe, own 480 acres on the Ashland-Richland county line. The couple had purchased and preserved this land after falling in love with its biological diversity which included protected species of birds including the American bald eagle and sandhill crane.
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The Wolfes repeatedly requested an alternate pipeline route to bypass the area, talking initially to the News Journal in 2015 about the diversity of wildlife on their land. They refused to settle on the easement, fighting the pipeline until the last possible moment when their attorney began to prepare them to be summoned into federal court..
"I have no confidence they were able to adequately contain or remove the drilling fluid because that entire area is under water and I'm very upset they didn't have the courtesy to notify me as a property owner that this had happened," Kathy Wolfe said Thursday.
"They have continued to pump water off the right of way into my fields which I believe could be potentially contaminating other areas," she said. "They plan to go back there to lay a second pipe and I'm sure there will be another spill."

Beyond construction phase

Richland County Emergency Management Agency Director Mike Bailey said as the pipeline goes from the the construction phase to the operational mode, the EMA will continue to monitor and work with pipeline officials and make sure pertinent information is shared with first responders.
Bailey said he has been working even before the spill to setup a meeting w with area fire chiefs from Cass, Weller, Jackson and Franklin townships who are affected by both the Rover and Utopia pipelines on the operational phase issues
Bailey said his office and Rover officials have had ongoing meetings.
"They've been good about sweeping debris off the roads," he said. "We have had no complaints.

ATC: Mountain Valley Pipeline an unprecedented threat to ALL national trails

Many small pipelines currently cross the Appalachian Trail, but they are nothing like the proposed new Mountain Valley Pipeline that would be built by a consortium led by EQT, a fracking company based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The latest edition of AT Journeys, the magazine of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, has a major article on the threat of this pipeline to all national trails.  "Cutting to the Core:Setting a Precedent for Pipeline Proposals" by Jack Igelman. 
(if you have trouble getting this link to open properly, please right click, copy the link, and paste into a new tab)
Unlike existing pipelines, this one would be visible off and on for almost 100 miles of the Appalachian Trail in Virginia. In Giles County, the pipeline would cut an ugly swath that would be visible from Kelly Knob on the AT, only about 2 miles away. Even worse, the project would create a 500-foot utility corridor through the national forest that would invite co-location of two or three equally large projects immediately adjacent to this monster.
Gary Werner, executive director of the Partnership for the National Trails System based in Madison, Wisconsin, says the project would set a precedent for lowering the status of all national trails, including the Pacific Crest Trail and many others. Construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline would ignore established scenic standards that required decades of work and massive financial expenditures by citizens, nonprofits, the US Congress and government agencies.
Yet the applicant contends that the project would have almost no impact on scenic values, public safety or the water supplies to both groundwater wells and public drinking water for Roanoke, Virginia and a host of other places. Andrew Downs, ATC's Regional Director in Virginia, expresses frustration at the extremely poor quality of the pipeline's documentation, noting that, "It's almost comical. The document is missing huge and important pieces of analysis." Diana Christopulos, President of the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club, was unconcerned about yet another pipeline until she learned the facts about this one. Now she describes is as "a total trainwreck." Here are some of the reasons:
  • The Mountain Valley Pipeline would measure 42 inches in diameter, more than twice the size of the large transmission pipelines that currently supply the East Coast. It would be under 1,440 pounds of pressure per square inch, with a blast zone (where everything is destroyed) of about 1,000 feet on each side (based on recent explosions of large pipelines, the distance might be closer to 1,600 feet) and an evacuation zone (where anyone present would suffer serious injuries) of about 3,600 feet on each side.
  • Instead of following roads, railroads and rivers like existing transmission pipelines, it would climb steeply up and down almost 225 miles of slopes with significant landslide potential, including 120.0 miles of extremely steep slopes (grades >20%)
  • Over its 300-mile length, it would cut through almost 250 miles of forested land (over 80% of the total route), including an Old Growth Forest in Jefferson National Forest. It would pass directly through the Brush Mountain Inventoried Roadless Area, which has been declared eligible for Wilderness status, and directly next to both the Peters Mountain Wilderness and the Brush Mountain Wilderness.
Oh, and the pipeline would tunnel through the epicenter of the Giles County Seismic Zone, scene of the largest earthquake in recorded Virginia history, with an estimated magnitude of 5.9. What could possibly go wrong?

Virginia Supreme Court hears pipeline cases

RICHMOND - The Virginia Supreme Court heard two cases Wednesday challenging a controversial state law that allows surveyors to enter private property without the owner's consent to study their land for a possible natural gas pipeline route.
The law has stirred fierce opposition along the routes in Virginia of two separate but similar interstate pipeline projects: the Mountain Valley Pipeline and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Each project would build and bury a steel pipeline that would transport natural gas at high pressure.
Both of the cases heard Wednesday stemmed from appeals of earlier circuit court decisions - one in Augusta County and one in Buckingham County - along the route of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
Foes of the law and the pipelines contend that the survey statute violates constitutional protections of private property and fails to clearly spell out how landowners should be informed about when surveyors will be on their property.
The pipeline companies and the state counter that the law is constitutional and similar to right-of-entry laws in all 50 states.
One case argued Wednesday focused on constitutional issues raised by the lawyer for an 83-year-old widow in Augusta County who initially resisted the Atlantic Coast Pipeline's efforts to survey her property, which has been in her family since 1880.
In that case, Henry Howell argued - or attempted to argue - that the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a Delaware limited liability corporation, is a foreign corporation and thus not entitled to protection from trespass laws granted by the survey statute.
The other case centered on controversy about how notice was given in 2015 to Buckingham County landowners about when surveyors would be on their property. Isak Howell, a Roanoke-based lawyer for Appalachian Mountain Advocates, represented several landowners in the appeal of a circuit court case that found the notice provided by the company was adequate.
The justices did not rule Wednesday on either case. Their questions and comments gave no indication they agree that the survey law violates the state constitution. Separately, at least one justice found fault with how Atlantic Coast Pipeline had notified landowners about when surveyors would be on their property.
Justice Arthur Kelsey asked Benjamin Hatch, a lawyer representing the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, whether property owners should be compensated for surveying activities. Hatch responded that surveying is not a "taking," a position both Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast have articulated before, noting that surveyors simply visit a property temporarily to collect information about a possible route.
Earlier, during the hearing of the Buckingham County case, Kelsey had asked Hatch why Atlantic Coast continued to assert that proper notice about surveying could be as ambiguous as saying the activity would occur "on or after" a certain date - a range that essentially allows for infinite possibilities, Kelsey said.
Hatch said Atlantic Coast still believes that language is adequate but had changed both policy and practice to provide more detailed dates.
Ultimately, Isak Howell acknowledged that the revised procedures adopted by Atlantic Coast were reasonable. But he objected to the company's continued refusal to agree that "on or after" is insufficient notice.
The hearing occurred at a time when most surveying along the pipeline routes has been completed. Aaron Ruby, a spokesman for Atlantic Coast Pipeline, said the company has completed about 98 percent of route surveying. Natalie Cox, a spokeswoman for Mountain Valley Pipeline, said about 97 percent of its centerline surveying is completed.
Carolyn Reilly, a co-owner of a farm in Franklin County that is on the pipeline's route, attended Wednesday's court session.
She said afterward that it is sobering that private corporations can run roughshod over property rights and be protected by the government and courts.
"This is eminent domain for private gain," she said. "How can this be?"

Virginia DEQ to require reviews of pipeline permits

"Democrat Tom Perriello suggested last week that his progressive campaign for governor helped push Virginia officials to conduct more in-depth reviews of a pair of natural gas pipelines he opposes.  The agency's decision (is) 'the product of a bold, people-powered campaign' driven by environmental advocates and landowners."

Local Water Protection Event 

When: April 27, 2017
Time: 5pm- 7pm
Where: 709 2nd Avenue, Marlinton, WV 24954-1112

A free community meeting on local watershed protection efforts. Hear from presenters who are working on projects that protect local drinking water sources. Provide input on the projects discussed and suggest future projects to expand drinking water protection.

Refreshments, kids activities, door prizes, and displays from local groups.

Sponsored by: WV Rivers Coalition, The Town of Marlinton and Greenbrier Valley Conservation District.    

On behalf of West Virginia Rivers Coalition:

Bring your family to the Best of Birthplace of Rivers Weekend, May 20-21, 2017 in Slatyfork , WV !
Join West Virginia Rivers to explore some of the best West Virginia's public lands have to offer during our Best of Birthplace of Rivers Weekend in the Monongahela National Forest! This weekend is designed to get families outside enjoying and learning about public lands!
Space is limited, so make sure you register for the Best of Birthplace of Rivers Weekend soon!
Adult registration is $20/adult and youth registration is $5/child under 15 years old. Registration includes Saturday dinner, Sunday lunch, and all programming. Saturday lodging and Sunday breakfast are not provided.
Register for the Best of Birthplace of Rivers Weekend here.

Great Greenbrier River Race

When: April 29, 2017

Time: 11am

Where: Marlinton, WV.  

WV DEP Sets ACP 401 Comments Due Date

Comment deadline is
April 29th. No public hearings are listed.

Powerful Video from a Nelson County Virginia Landowner
Richard Averitt, a Nelson County landowner who would be adversely affected by the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.



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To do this, sign up for a Kroger Plus card and then sign up for the Community Rewards program, naming Greenbrier River Watershed Association as the organization you want contributions to go to.  This must be renewed once a year for Kroger to continue making these contributions.
To sign up:      (If you already have a Kroger card, go to step 2.)
1)  Get a Kroger Plus card, either, a) by going to a Kroger store and asking for one at the customer service desk, or
b) Go to Kroger.com and click on "Register" and fill out the information and click "Create Account."  Next, add a Plus Card by clicking on "Get a Digital Plus Card online today," fill in your name, and enter your ten-digit phone number where it says "Alt ID", and click "Save."
2)  If you already have Kroger Plus card, but have not created an account on-line, go to Kroger.com and click "Register" and enter your existing Kroger card number, the number below the bar code on your card.  Click "Save."
3)  After you click on "Save" in one of the above, an "Account Summary" screen will come up.  At the bottom of that screen is "Community Rewards."  Click "Enroll" and fill out the required information there, click "Save", and it takes you to a new page, where you enter83802,  the number of Greenbrier River Watershed Association, then click "Search" and click on button in front of Greenbrier River Watershed Association, then click "Enroll." You're done!
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