MOUNT VERNON — Work continues on obtaining approval for the Marcellus Lateral Pipeline across Ohio, a spokesman for Kinder Morgan Cochin told the Mount Vernon Rotary Club on Tuesday. If all goes smoothly, final approval from the Ohio Power Siting Board could come in the fall and the way would be clear for the company to begin obtaining easement rights of way.
It is possible some construction could begin before the end of the year, company spokesman Allen Fore told the Rotarians.
Currently, the company is working on gathering additional information sought by the siting board after the permit application was initially filed. This was expected, as some of the environmental studies could not be done until spring, Fore explained.
One of those was a survey of the pipeline route for the presence of the endangered Indiana bat. Fore said one specimen of the rodent has been found and showed a picture of one displaying its fangs for the camera. He then added that the bat is tiny, not much bigger than your thumb. An adult weighs about a quarter of an ounce and it has a 9-inch wingspan.
An adjustment was made in the proposed pipeline route where the bat was found.
Environmental issues have caused some adjustments in the pipeline route, Fore said, and the company wants to avoid such problems as much as possible, but other issues are considered as well. As an example he mentioned the proposed industrial park site near Fredericktown they have been asked to avoid as well as a quarry site in the area. He urged anyone who is contacted by the company or its survey crews to talk to them and show them where there might be concerns about the pipeline’s path.
Fore said the stretch through Knox County is the longest section of pipeline in a single county and includes 45 road crossings, one railroad crossing and 185 tracts of land. Crews building the pipeline will bore under all the roads, causing no disruption of traffic, and the pipeline will be at least 35 feet below river bottoms.
Fore also touched on the economic impact of the pipeline, how it fits into the existing network of pipelines operated by the company and how what they will be transporting is often burned off at gas wells, but now will be taken to processing plants and rendered into propane, butane and ethane.
He also said additional public meetings are planned by Kinder Morgan and another public hearing will probably be held this summer.