STEUBENVILLE - A common pleas court judge ruled a pipeline company will be allowed to do survey work on farmland off county Road 39, Bloomingdale, following a brief hearing Friday.
Enterprise Liquids Pipeline of Houston filed for an injunction on May 4 seeking a court order to enter the property. 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 survey work for the location and construction of a liquid ethane pipeline that would run from Appalachia to Texas. The proposed 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 manufacturing of plastics.
The company claims in its lawsuit that, as a pipeline company, it has eminent domain powers under Ohio law.
ELP has to obtain rights of way on about 1,200 tracts of land in Ohio, and is under a tight schedule so construction of the pipeline can start early next years, the lawsuit stated.
The company has already obtained permission from nearly all landowners for the survey work.
David Hyde told Jefferson County Common Pleas Judge Joseph J. Bruzzese Jr. that he has an agriculture district that he believed protected his farmland from eminent domain. But the judge told Hyde the section of state law on agriculture districts doesn't apply to the installation of utility pipelines. The judge said there is nothing in state law to prevent Enterprise Liquids Pipeline from entering the property to do survey work.
Bruzzese put in his order allowing the survey work that Hyde can remove the survey stakes as soon as the survey is completed so as to not interfere with his farm field work.
Workers for the company showed up at the Bloomingdale-area property on April 4 seeking to survey it. 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.
Bruzzese told Hyde, who didn't have an attorney representing him at the hearing, that he could challenge the amount the company is willing to pay for the easement for the pipeline across the field. The judge said the cost of the easement could be set by a jury after an appropriation trial.