UTOPIA Pipeline Construction Begins, OSU to Study Hole-Digging

obviousKinder Morgan’s UTOPIA (Utica To Ontario Pipeline Access) pipeline is a 12-inch ethane pipeline that will run ~240 miles and will only be built in Ohio–therefore the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) won’t be involved in permitting the project. In September we noted that Kinder Morgan is still facing opposition from some Ohio landowners (see UTOPIA Pipeline Still Battling OH Landowners with Eminent Domain). Aside from a few holdout landowners, Kinder Morgan will begin building UTOPIA next month, with plans to turn it on in 2018. When Kinder begins to dig trenches next month to lay the pipeline, researchers from Ohio State University will be watching–conducting “research” into “soil disturbances caused by pipelines and its impact on farmland.” Kinder Morgan is helping fund the 3-year project–kicking in $200,000. Forgive us for saying so, but the entire premise sounds kind of dumb. Farmers dig holes and trenches in their fields all the time and nobody “studies” it to see what kind of impacts it may have. You dig a hole (or a trench), you put something in it, you cover it back up with the same dirt you just dug up and then replant grass or crops over top of it. Not a lot of mystery. It’s been going on for millennia…

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