STEUBENVILLE - A Houston pipeline company filed for an injunction Friday in Jefferson County Common Pleas Court to force a property owner to give the company access to the property to do survey work in preparation for the installation of a pipeline to transport liquid ethane across Ohio.
Nancy M. Hyde of 3876 county Road 39, Bloomingdale, the owner of the property, and David Hyde of 2426 county Road 39, Bloomingdale, a relative who is authorized to make decisions for her, were named as defendants.
Enterprises Liquids Pipeline is conducting surveys for the construction of the Appalachia to Texas liquid ethane pipeline. The pipeline will transport liquid ethane produced from the Marcellus and Utica shale formations in Pennsylvania and Ohio westward across Ohio to ethylene manufacturing plants in Texas and Louisiana. Liquid ethane is a key component in the manufacture of various plastics.
The proposed pipeline will use part of existing pipeline corridors already in place, the lawsuit states.
Enterprises Liquids Pipeline has already made significant capital investments in the proposed pipeline, the lawsuit stated. The project schedule requires the company to begin construction of the pipeline no later than the first quarter of 2013 to take advantage of the construction season in Ohio. The lawsuit states the company will be financially impacted by a delay.
ELP will have to obtain rights of way on about 1,200 tracts of land in Ohio, the lawsuit stated. The company had a schedule to complete surveys by April 11, the lawsuit stated. The company has already obtained landowner survey permission for more than 93 percent of the tracts, and is currently conducting civil and environmental surveys.
The company claims in its lawsuit that, as a pipeline company, it has eminent domain powers under Ohio law.
The lawsuit states the company has successfully sued five times in Ohio for survey access in Warren and Butler counties.
David Hyde said Friday that the farm was set up as an agricultural district. He said pipeline companies have to find alternate routes to cross agricultural districts.
Hyde said a proposed law pending in Ohio would strip farmers of those rights, adding the property ELP wants is in his best hay field.
He said ELP could use an existing pipeline corridor near the Unionport Cemetery, but the company claims it is too close to the cemetery. He said he also owns property on the existing pipeline corridor and gave permission for the company to use that property.
ELP now is rerouting the proposed pipeline that will be located about 500 feet from his mother's house.
ELP said in its lawsuit that it has tried for months to secure the permission of the defendant to enter the property for survey work.
On April 4, workers for the company showed up at the Bloomingdale-area property seeking to survey it. David Hyde stated he wanted to see a copy of a map depicting an alternate route for the pipeline, and indicated access to the property would be denied until he was provided with the information, according to the lawsuit.
The company sent a final notice to the defendants on April 20, but has not received a response, the lawsuit stated,
"ELP is near the end of the window of time during which these survey activities can be completed without jeopardizing the overall project schedule. ELP thus needs to obtain survey access immediately in order to schedule survey crews," the lawsuit stated.
"The requested injunctive relief is in the public interest because without it, important rights granted by Ohio law will be violated, and because such violations, if ongoing, will threaten the progress and completion of a pipeline project that is in the best interests of the citizens of Ohio," the lawsuit stated.
ELP is asking the defendants be stopped from interfering with ELP's right to access to the property for surveys, soundings, drillings, appraisals and examinations needed to determine the suitability of the property for the proposed pipeline.
Common Pleas Judge Joseph Bruzzese Jr. scheduled a hearing on the request for 1:30 p.m. Thursday.