The opposition to pipeline projects is gaining steam and official support.
Commissioners will object to all pipeline projects proposed to run through Wood County until they get better answers about how they benefit the area.
Jim Carter, Doris Herringshaw and Joel Kuhlman announced their intent to pass a resolution in opposition to all currently proposed and future pipeline projects during their State of the County Address Thursday morning, with Carter reading a prepared statement.
“First, the routes of the proposed pipelines appear to be drawn randomly, with little regard for who or what, such as our fertile farm ground, might be disrupted if they are actually constructed,” Carter said. “Second, there appears to be little or no coordination or cooperation among the pipeline companies or the agencies that regulate them. Therefore, Wood County and our neighboring counties are subject to multiple pipeline projects, placed at the whim of these companies.
“Third, there is no direct benefit to the citizens of Wood County from any of these proposed pipeline projects.”
Commissioners said all pipelines should be placed within a defined corridor, which they said could include right-of-way near highways to minimize the impact on private property.
“The people of Wood County and the state of Ohio deserve much better than what has been proposed thus far,” Carter said.
“We believe that there is a better way.”
Several townships in the county which are reportedly in line to receive tax revenue from pipelines like Nexus and Rover have also objected.
Middleton Township passed a resolution in opposition Wednesday night “due to the potential negative impact on agriculture property and future land use,” according to Trustee Penny Getz.
“Nothing grows” once pipelines are installed, she said. “Now, the pipeline people will say it does. But the farmers have pictures, and it doesn’t.”
Commissioner Doris Herringshaw said a natural gas pipeline installed on her family’s farm 40 to 50 years ago still causes a noticeable drop-off in production.
“To this day you can see right where that pipeline goes across my dad’s field.”
Commissioner Joel Kuhlman said companies that have promised tax revenue have been so far unwilling to state how they generated their figures. That projects doubt upon all the other claims they’ve made, he said.
“After specific questions on where the numbers are coming from, they’ve been unresponsive to actually saying ‘This is how we figured it out,’ and avoided the question entirely at some times,” Kuhlman said.
“There’s been a number that’s been stated, but they’re unwilling to explain that number, which causes us concern that that number may be inaccurate. It’s our job to figure that out.”
Additionally, a claim that the presence of a pipeline has no proven decrease on property values seems disingenuous, Kuhlman said.
“We have much more concerns at this point than we have arguments that they are positive for the community, so it makes our decision at this point much easier.”
Any positive impacts on Wood County “need to be defined to us, and it just hasn’t been done,” he added.