Overview of Central Corridor Pipeline Extension:
In March 2016, Duke Energy quietly announced a plan to install a 30 inch diameter steel pipeline through Hamilton County that will run from an existing gas transmission line near the intersection of Hamilton, Butler, and Warren counties and end in either the Norwood or the Fairfax area. The line will transverse approximately 12 miles through northern Cincinnati/central Hamilton County. The project is part of Duke Energy’s larger Plan to Improve, Protect and Expand our System (PIPES) project that is intended to expand its current gas supply, as well as its reach and flexibility across the existing piping system.
Route(s) in Question:
- All three possible routes will run the transmission line directly through densely populated areas. This pathway is highly atypical. The planned routes pass through Blue Ash, Evendale, Madeira, Cincinnati, Reading, Golf Manor, Amberley, Symmes Twp., Columbia Twp., and others. Each of the routes include Jewish institutions and community members.
Concerns about the Project
- It is rare that this kind of pipeline is slid through a densely populated, residential neighborhood.
- Pipelines of this type have been shown to be dangerous. The pressure (measured in pounds per square inch) on these trans-misson lines is 720 psi. (The pressure on pipes to homes is less than 1 psi.) When there is a rupture or failure, it is never small. These failures make national news. Just a few weeks ago, there was an explosion in Pennsylvania. Leaks also can cause serious health issues.
- Other pipeline projects around the country have used chemicals to facilitate construction, and herbicides to keep the area clear for ongoing inspection and maintenance. Questions remain about the use of contaminants in residential areas, and potential risks to waterways.
- Large swaths of land must be completely cleared of all trees, plants, and vegetation and physical structures. Mature trees, animal habitats, public parks, and residential backyards, all fall in the pipeline’s path.
Jewish Community Concerns
- In addition to the general security concern, these pipelines, which run only 3 to 4 feet underground, could easily become a target for someone wanting to harm the Jewish community. While the risk cannot be quantified, the impact and devastation could be enormous. Outside the U.S., pipelines have been targeted by terrorists.
- As of May 13, there were more than 100 letters in opposition on the Ohio Public Utilities Commission website.
- State representatives Denise Driehaus and Jonathan Dever, both, have actively voiced concerns about the project and all of the Hamilton County Commissioners are concerned about the project in Hamilton County.
- The Blue Ash community has been extremely active and has formed a group called Neighbors Opposed to Pipeline Extension.
- In March 2016, an initial letter from Duke was sent to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio Siting Board stating its intent to submit a proposal for the project.
- At the end of March, Duke sent notifications to property owners who be directly impacted by the pipeline and hosted two open houses.
- In June, Duke plans to submit a project proposal to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio with two different route options identified for the pipeline.
- If approved, Duke plans to begin the project in the summer of 2017 and complete it by fall 2018.
- Pipeline construction on each property is estimated to last 3 to 6 weeks.