Property owners express concern over pipeline projects

Construction on the Rover natural gas pipeline is scheduled to begin in January of 2016.

BOWLING GREEN -- Construction of the 711-mile Rover natural gas pipeline is scheduled to being in January of 2016. There are future plans for the Nexus and Utopia pipelines.

The Rover pipeline will run through Fulton, Defiance, Henry, Wood, Hancock and Seneca counties in Northwest Ohio as well as Lenawee and Washtenaw counties (among others) in Southeast Michigan. Early proposals have the Nexus pipeline running through Washtenaw, Lenawee, Monroe, Fulton, Lucas, Wood, Sandusky and Erie counties. The map provided on Utopia's website does not list counties, but the pipeline runs through sections of Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan.

"I wish it weren't in my backyard," said Tom Carpenter. "However, if it's going to come through we want to be compensated for it."

Carpenter is a farmer in Center Township, just east of Bowling Green. He was one of about 30 stakeholders attending a meeting Thursday led by attorney Michael Braunstein to discuss land owner rights.

"The purpose of the meeting was to education people about their rights, what they can do to protect themselves," Braunstein said.

Many of the property owners feel their concerns aren't full being heard. A spokesman for the Nexus pipeline said in an e-mail to NBC 24's Jim Nelson that "NEXUS makes every effort to communicate, work with, and seek input from each and every landowner, local governments and other stakeholders. All stakeholders are encouraged to participate early and often during the pre-filing process to share any questions or concerns so they can be addressed prior to submittal of the Certificate Application."

On the Rover project website, the company says "Rover is committed to working with individual landowners to make accommodations, minimize disruptions, and achieve full restoration of impacted land."

"It's the life and blood of what most American producers do -- to produce a good crop and market it at the best price we can and avoid issues like pipeline companies coming through and affecting that production."

The primary concerns are related to compensation and not safety. Braunstein told the attendees of the meeting that safety is rarely a concern with natural gas pipelines, though they are capable of extensive damage if a leak causes an explosion, which he said happens infrequently.

Goldman and Braunstein have filed a motion to intervene with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in an attempt to slow the process of the Rover project.

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