Tuscarawas and Harrison County public pipeline briefing set for Dec. 13

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Tuscarawas and Harrison County business and community leaders, as well as interested residents are invited to attend a special pipeline construction issues briefing, sponsored by the Tuscarawas and Harrison County Farm Bureaus.

The briefing will be held at the First Christian Church (corner of West high and Fourth Street in New Philadelphia) on Thursday, Dec. 13, 7 p.m.

The program will be facilitated by Ohio Farm Bureau Federation Director for Energy, Utility and Local Government Issues, Dale Arnold.

"Long-term energy demand and new drilling technology have sparked interest in tapping into the Marcellus and Utica Shale deposits in parts of the Appalachian plateau. Other energy service providers are revisiting many areas of western Ohio that saw oil and gas development in the twentieth century, too." Arnold said.

It is estimated that methane and methane liquids in these deposits can address major requirements for fuel for several decades.

Arnold continued, "While farmers and rural residents in some parts of the state are working with developers to access these resources, many farmers in this area will be working with other service companies to deliver some of these resources to refineries and markets."

Pipeline development is becoming a major issue. During the briefing Arnold will discuss developments involving interstate, intrastate and local collection pipelines, energy market trends, pipeline construction and remediation standards, the work of the Ohio Power Siting Board and other regulatory agencies governing pipeline development.

Issues concerning eminent domain and farmland preservation will be explored, as well as what landowners should consider in negotiating effective easement agreements with pipeline developers involved in interstate, intrastate and local collection network projects.

"Representatives from pipeline and energy development companies are contacting residents in the region and many folks have a number of questions and concerns," said Steve Quillin, President of the Tuscarawas County Farm Bureau. "We understand that these representatives are requesting to work with landowners to conduct preliminary surveys and environmental evaluations across farm ground. The Tuscarawas and Harrison County Farm Bureaus recommend that landowners contacted by pipeline and energy development companies schedule a time for the company to survey the property when the landowner can accompany them in the process."

The initial survey is an important time where the landowner can meet additional company representatives, write down names and contact information, discuss the farm's specific soil and water conservation requirements and note all farm resources and infrastructure that could be impacted during a possible construction project.

If asked to sign complex agreements and associated paperwork, landowners have the right to have their legal counsel examine all materials. "Take your time - it is still early in the project development process," Arnold said. "Farmers are realizing that many aspects of a pipeline easement agreement are not boilerplate, but highly negotiable." George and David Mizer, Harrison County landowners who recently have had a pipeline placed on their property and Tuscarawas County Engineer, Joe Bachman will be on hand to answer questions.

Harrison and Tuscarawas County Farm Bureau Public Policy Action Teams are sponsoring the briefing on the issue. The organization will be working to sponsor additional briefings where residents can meet project developers as well as representatives of state regulatory agencies governing pipeline development to examine issues and share concerns.

Arnold has been involved in energy and utility related issues since 1995. He represents farm and rural residential energy consumers on a variety of government working groups and public utility advisory boards concerning energy development. He has extensive experience working with county Farm Bureaus and local residents, helping communities evaluate construction projects concerning electric transmission line and pipeline infrastructure.

The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation is the state's largest general farm organization, encompassing 87 county Farm Bureau organizations and over 225,000 member families statewide. Harrison and Tuscarawas County Farm Bureau leaders are active on state and local action teams working on legislation, regulations and issues that impact agriculture and its relationship with rural, suburban and urban communities.

Locally, over 2,000 member families belong to the Tuscarawas County Farm Bureau and over 600 are members of the Harrison County Farm Bureau.

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