Denial of blanket permit right move

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 6, 2001

The U.

Wednesday, June 06, 2001

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ decision to deny Marathon Ashland Petroleum a nationwide permit that would allow the company to proceed with its proposed 130-mile pipeline project was the right move.

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MAP applied for a nationwide permit that would allow the company to begin construction without public comment. These permits are generally granted to projects that will have little or no impact on the environment.

The Corps of Engineers, however, ruled MAP must apply for an individual permit, which would allow the public the opportunity to offer comment on the project. This could even include public hearings.

The project has been on the table for years, but has been held up in court due to lawsuits filed in Fairfield and Pickaway counties. Opponents of the project fear the pressure-operated pipeline – which would transport gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel and kerosene from the company’s refinery in Cattletsburg, Ky., to Columbus – could rupture, causing a catastrophe. Another concern is the pipeline would be buried just four feet under the ground.

In making its ruling, the Corps of Engineers cited the environmental impact the pipeline could have on the 318 streams and 53 wetlands it would cross in eight Ohio counties – including Lawrence.

Since the project’s inception, MAP has stated the pipeline’s purpose is to accommodate the supply and demand in southern and central Ohio. Officials have stated the pipeline would be much more economical than transporting the fuel by truck or other means.

If Marathon Ashland Petroleum is genuinely concerned about its customers’ needs, the company should have no quarrels about hearing what they have to say about the project.