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Pipeline project open to comment


Friday, September 28, 2001

SOUTH POINT – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has opened up Marathon-Ashland’s 149-mile petroleum products pipeline proposal for comment, unveiling maps of its route from Kenova, W.Va., to Columbus.

Although the 14-inch pipe enters Ohio in South Point, its route no longer travels underneath a large amount of village land.

It enters near McGinnis Road and travels parallel to the railroad, then crosses County Road 1 near the beginning of the old ethanol plant property. It travels across U.S. 52 just north of Highland Memorial Gardens.

The company decided to move down to the McGinnis Inc. property, Mayor Bill Gaskin said.

They probably think it’s easier than to bother property near the village’s water wells and to deal with easements from objectors, the mayor said.

Marathon promised to contribute dollars to the village park, and will keep that promise, he said.

The company will spend $50 million to build the pipeline, crossing eight counties in Ohio.

In Lawrence County, the pipeline crosses one wetland and 64 streams, including the Ohio River, Solida Creek, Lick Creek, Little Ice Creek, Neds Fork, Deloss Creek, Sharps Creek, Symmes Creek, Long Creek, Buck Creek, and several tributaries.

Ohio River Pipe Line LLC of Findlay submitted its permit application under the Rivers and Harbor Act of 1899, Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. The application also serves as a request for Ohio EPA water quality approval.

The Corps of Engineers, Huntington, W.Va., District filed its public notice Sept. 21, opening up a 30-day comment period.

The pipeline can deliver about 80,000 barrels per day of refined petroleum, such as gasoline, diesel or jet fuel.

Marathon calls it a safe and economical transport method that will help meet fuel demands in Ohio. The company has sought permits and rights of way for the pipeline since 1998, and has battled lawsuits along the way.

The Corps denied a nationwide permit to install the pipeline last summer, forcing MAP to seek the Corps permit being reviewed now.

About 60 pages of maps filed with the permit application show the specific stream crossings, and how they will be done.

The pipeline crosses a total of 363 streams and 55 wetlands. The Ohio River, the Scioto River, 12 streams and one wetland will be crossed by boring underneath them.

Other stream crossings will be done with a dam and pump, flume or open-cut method.

The Corps’s Huntington office determined that the project is not likely to affect any endangered or threatened species.

To offset loss of wetlands, Marathon will restore 7.7 acres of wetlands at the Slate Run Mitigation Bank.

Two public hearings about the project will be scheduled jointly with the Ohio EPA. Times and places are to be announced.

According to the permit application, the decision whether to issue a permit will be based on probable impact and public interest.

"The benefit which reasonably may be expected to accrue from the proposal must be balanced against its reasonably foreseeable detriments," the application states.

The Corps is seeking comments from the public until Oct. 21. Official comments may be sent to:

– U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Huntington District, 502 Eighth St., ATTN: CELRH-F, Huntington, W.Va., 25701-2070. Refer to Public Notice No. 199800424-4.