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Pipeline meeting July 24

'We are going to get a landowners group together to see if we can come up with a way to have the pipeline not come through'

July 16, 2014 - Brandon Twp.- A meeting for residents potentially affected by the proposed ET Rover pipeline is planned for 7 p.m., July 24, at the library, 304 South St., Ortonville.

"We are going to get a landowners group together to see if we can come up with a way to have the pipeline not come through," said Township Supervisor Kathy Thurman. "We'll see if we can get an alternate route or attempt to, but we'll see how much interest there is in that type of effort. There are a lot of property owners in the township who do not want to see another pipeline come through...Our thought is, if we band together, we might be able to accomplish more."

Thurman has heard from more than 20 township property owners who received letters last month from ET Rover, which has proposed putting in a 600-mile pipeline to transport natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica shale gas formations in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio through Michigan and into Canada. Construction would begin in early 2016. The pipeline is anticipated to be 42-inches in diameter and will transport 2.2 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day, but will likely be expanded to transport up to 3.25 billion cubic feet per day.

The natural gas pipeline would parallel the Enbridge petroleum pipeline, running through Brandon and Groveland townships, and affecting many of the same residents. Enbridge is currently replacing Line 6B and is leaving the original pipeline in the ground next to the new pipeline. If the proposed natural gas pipeline is approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Brandon and Groveland townships will have three massive pipelines buried here and property owners directly affected could have easements up to 120 feet.

Jeff Axt, who founded POLAR (Protecting Our Land and Rights) when Enbridge came through replacing Line 6B, has received a letter from Rover. He is the host for the July 24 meeting for residents concerned about another pipeline. He and Thurman attended an informational open house July 14 in Fenton at which Rover and FERC representatives were present to answer questions from residents.

"It was set up so that Rover could control the message," said Axt. "My biggest disappointment is if this is the period in the FERC process where you have ability to affect the route, you need to see the route and that wasn't available. You could see the route specific to your property, but it's hard to suggest to FERC or Rover an alternate route, without seeing a larger overview... I don't think you could have left that meeting feeling everything is fine."

The July 24 meeting will be the beginning of a dialogue for landowners, he continued, giving them the ability to organize and possibly make an impact on changing the route. Residents may be tired from the battle they have faced over the past few years with Enbridge, he noted.

"It's really unfair to ask landowners to give up another 50 feet of property and 100 feet of temporary workspace," said Axt. "They are asking the same landowners to do that again. It's an unfair burden."

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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