Natural gas pipelines span millions of miles throughout the U.S., including across Ohio. If approved, several more could be on the way in the next few years.
Pipelines have caused controversy with Ohio landowners and environmental groups alike. Opposition to the Nexus pipeline, for example, led citizens of several Ohio counties to propose an alternative route of the pipeline, citing environmental and safety concerns. Eventually, these opponents along with grassroots groups filed a federal lawsuit against the pipeline, but the Federal Energy Regulation Commission (FERC) approved the pipeline in August 2017.
Despite backlash, energy companies and pipeline developers say pipelines are “extremely” safe and tout the benefits of pipeline projects, citing job growth and property tax revenue surpluses for schools and townships. A report by the American Petroleum Institute shows incidents involving corrosion of pipelines outside of the operating facilities — therefore having impact on people and the environment — are down 68% since 1999.
Curious if there are any pipelines near you? Listed in alphabetical order, here are current and proposed natural gas pipelines in Ohio, as well as any known safety threats related to them (if applicable):
- 1. Columbia
- Owner: TransCanada
- This 12,000 mile long pipeline carries natural gas from the state of New York to the Gulf of Mexico. It was acquired by TransCanada in 2016, and the company is currently in the process of an enormous modernization project that began in 2013. Currently proposed is the Buckeye Xpress Project, where Columbia Gas Transmission would replace 64 miles of the pipeline in Ohio with 36-inch diameter coated pipe, which the company says is a safer and more reliable coated pipe than the current 20 or 24-inch diameter coating. If the project is approved by the FERC, the section of the pipeline that would undergo repairs goes through four Ohio counties: Jackson, Gallia, Lawrence and Vinton.
- 2. Falcon
- Owner: Shell
- Status: Proposed
- The Falcon pipeline would stretch 97 miles through Pennsylvania, Eastern Ohio and West Virginia. The pipeline is currently proposed and waiting for necessary permits to break ground. The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) held a public hearing in Cadiz in May, and the pipeline is drawing controversy outside of the state, as protests recently took place in Pittsburgh, where the pipeline will be near if constructed.
- 3. Nexus
- Owner: Enbridge
- Status: Under construction; expected completion by end of 2018
- Nexus Gas Transmission broke ground on this 255-mile project in October 2017. Once completed, the pipeline will transport Appalachian shale gas from southeastern Ohio to Ontario. Though nearing completion, pipeline construction has not gone entirely without a hitch. In July 2018, the Ohio EPA fined Nexus after crews spilled 20,000 gallons of drilling liquid in a ditch north of the city of Bowling Green. Just over a month earlier, pipeline construction caused a road to partially sink in Green, a city just outside of Akron.
- 4. Rover
- Owner: Energy Transfer Partners (ETP)
- Status: Under construction; ETP says 99% completed
- The Rover pipeline will transport natural gas 713 miles from West Virginia to Canada, crossing through 18 Ohio counties. Like Nexus, pipeline construction for Rover hasn’t been smooth sailing, either. Just a month after the project was approved in March 2017, two separate spills dumped more than two million gallons of drilling fluid into Ohio’s wetlands. The first spill was discovered in Stark County on April 13, where two million gallons of drilling fluid spilled into a wetland near the Tuscarawas River. The next day, 50,000 gallons spilled into a wetland in Mifflin Township in Richland County. According to the violation notice from the Ohio EPA, both incidents resulted in “adverse effects to aquatic life” and “discoloration of water.”
- 5. Tennessee Gas
- Owner: Kinder-Morgan
- This 11,750-mile long pipeline transports natural gas from Texas, Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico to the Northeast. It stretches through Ohio with three compressor stations in the state. Although natural gas currently flows through the pipe, but the FERC recently approved Kinder Morgan’s request to abandon the pipeline. Kinder M
organ plans to sell the pipe to Utica Marcellus Texas Pipeline, where it would instead transport natural gas liquids.
- 6. Utopia East
- Owner: Kinder Morgan
- Completed in January 2018, the Utopia East pipeline stretches from Harrison County in Ohio to Ontario. The pipeline is 215 miles long and transports natural gas liquids. The pipe underwent restoration over the summer after winter weather delayed repairs.