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Keystone XL: Not the Only Pipeline on Ohio's Radar

IMAGE: FracTracker has a new map highlighting current and proposed pipelines that would run through the Buckeye State. Image credit: FracTracker.
IMAGE: FracTracker has a new map highlighting current and proposed pipelines that would run through the Buckeye State. Image credit: FracTracker.
March 14, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio – While the nation has been focused on the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline, Ohioans may not realize how many other pipeline projects could be running across the state.

The group FracTracker has generated a map of the current and proposed pipelines that cross North America carrying hydrocarbon-based products.

Ted Auch, the group’s Ohio program coordinator, says the frequency of proposals or expansions of existing pipelines has increased in recent years, along with expansion of the shale gas boom in Ohio and other states.

"It's important for people to know where those are, and to understand that it's not just about the Keystone,” he says. “If you're concerned or if you're pro or against, you should know that all these other proposals exist, and they need to be on everyone's radar."

Pipelines on the map, include the larger Keystone and Bluegrass across Ohio, Pennsylvania and Kentucky and smaller ones, such as Rex Energy's Seneca Extension in Southeast Ohio.

Historically, the only source of pipeline data is the Energy Information Administration's Pipeline Network, but Auch says its last significant update was in 2011, and it's hard to get the details. His group's goal is to fill in the gaps.

"When you go to Energy Information Administration and ask for this kind of information, they invoke national security interests, which I understand,” he says. “But we think citizen right to know outweighs that."

Auch adds that increased transport of natural gas, oil and other products has resulted in accidents in Michigan, North Dakota and Quebec, which could increase pipeline demand.

"These incidents are really grabbing the political attention of folks in D.C.,” he points out. “So there's the concern that we will see pressure to move a lot of that material from train to pipeline, which I think is going to increase the number of pipeline proposals through Ohio."

Auch stresses more leadership is needed at both the state and federal level in engaging communities in pipeline proposals, so people can be better informed, and can plan and have procedures in place in case of a problem.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH