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Kinder Morgan officials have seen the kind of news coverage another pipeline project has received, and they are hopeful they can avoid some of it as the Utopia project continues through Wayne County.
The Utopia and Rover projects are much different in scope and size. The Utopia will be a single 12-inch line running for 215 miles. Rover is two 42-inch pipes. Utopia will carry ethane and ethane-propane mixtures from the Harrison County area through Ohio, cutting through Wayne and Ashland counties. The product will ultimately reach Windsor, Ontario, where it will be used in making plastics. Because the Utopia Pipeline runs entirely within this state, it falls under the jurisdiction of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Rover, a multi-state project, falls under the supervision of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Utopia’s route through Wayne County is final, and it involves 157 tracts of land and 110 landowners. Crews are currently installing the pipe. Kinder Morgan has reached agreements with all of the property owners in Wayne County, said Allen Fore, vice president of public affairs Kinder Morgan. A small percentage of property owners had not reached an agreement along the pipeline, and compensation is a big part of it.
“It’s in everyone’s best interest to get everything done up front,” Fore said. “They will be part of our system for a long time.”
Fore said he believes Kinder Morgan has done a good job preparing for the project, and even though construction is underway, public awareness and education is still important.
While Kinder Morgan is hoping for everything to go smoothly, Stuart Mykrantz has had an issue on his property. His agreement reads he will have access to the back part of his property. However, the pipeline on his property has not yet been buried, meaning he does not have access to that back area.
“You can’t get from one side to the other,” Mykrantz said. “The pipe should have been buried.”
However, Mykrantz said he was told the order in which the pipe was being buried was changed, and it would take a few weeks before it is done on his property. He was also told the company would compensate him for his troubles.
Hay grows in the back section, and “The longer it stays in the field, the less it is worth,” he said. “The longer it takes to get it off, then you get into the summer days, and as it gets hotter, it does not grow as fast. ...
“But, my contract says ‘You will have access.’”
“A successful project ... is when you make people whole,” Fore said. He recognizes issues will arise on a project, “but it is how you address it and fix it.”
Fore did not know the particulars of Mykrantz’s situation, “But, if we agreed to unfettered access to his property 24/7, we either need to give it to him or compensate him for it,” Fore said.
The project is expected to be in service by the first quarter of 2018. For more information, call 800-652-2155 or visit www.utopiapipeline.com.
Reporter Bobby Warren can be reached at 330-287-1639 or firstname.lastname@example.org. He is @BobbyWarrenTDR on Twitter.