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Resident questions officials

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

By Sean Barron


Patti Gorcheff has enjoyed her West South Range Road home for eight years, but now fears that a proposed pipeline to carry natural gas will disrupt the tranquillity she’s accustomed to.

Exacerbating the Beaver Township woman’s worries is an inability to get answers about the project, she said during Monday’s Mahoning County commissioners meeting at the Springfield Township Hall, 3475 E. South Range Road.

“We have a right to know what’s going on in our neighborhoods. We need hearings on this,” said Gorcheff, a member of Frackfree America National Coalition, an anti-fracking group.

Gorcheff was upset by what she sees as a lack of regulations and oversight pertaining to the pipeline that makes up part of the Hickory Bend Pipeline System, which is about 50 miles of wet-gas lines being built in Northeast Ohio and western Pennsylvania.

Also to be constructed is a cryogenic gas-processing plant, possibly off State Line Road near the Ohio-Pennsylvania line. Such plants reduce the temperature of natural gas to roughly minus 120 degrees Fahrenheit to separate certain hydrocarbons.

No official announcement has been made, however, regarding where the plant and pipeline will be.

Questions Gorcheff said she wants addressed include who would be responsible for issuing permits and who would inspect and monitor the pipeline and how often.

Springfield Township Trustee Robert Orr told Gorcheff that his hands were tied because the situation is between Hilcorp and NiSource, the companies in charge of construction, and private-property owners.

Commissioner Carol Rimedio-Righetti suggested Gorcheff contact the Mahoning County Health Department as well as state Sen. Robert F. Hagan of Youngstown, D-60th, among others.

In other business, commissioners approved the vacation of a portion of Paulin Road in Springfield Township near The Lake Club.

The move will convert the affected part into an access road to the private golf club at 1140 Paulin Road, which abuts Lake Evans.

Ed Muransky, the club’s owner, will be responsible for maintaining the vacated portion, Commissioner Anthony T. Traficanti noted, adding that Muransky plans to elevate part of the road and build a catering hall on his property.