Commissioners support gas pipeline proposal
Trumbull trio sent letter to DeWine asking for study
WARREN — Trumbull County commissioners on Wednesday approved a letter to Gov. Mike DeWine, asking him to conduct a feasibility study on a lake-to-river natural gas pipeline.
The proposed project, according to the letter signed by commissioners Frank Fuda, Mauro Cantalamessa and Dan Polivka, was initiated at an Aug. 23, 2019, meeting among DeWine and Mahoning Valley political and business leaders. During that time, DeWine held a cabinet meeting in the Valley and attended events at other sites here.
“Four organizations at the forefront of the fundamental economic development efforts in the Mahoning Valley shared with you the key public public policy priorities for the community,” the commissioners’ letter begins.
One of the priorities was “strategic management of shale gas development in the lake-to-river region” specifically using a public-private partnership to build a pipeline along the state Route 11 corridor from Columbiana County on the Ohio River to Ashtabula Harbor on Lake Erie.
The commissioners ask DeWine to grant the right-of-way, if the feasibility study determines significant job growth will occur with the private sector developing the pipeline. The proposal talked about a revenue-sharing agreement that includes the Ohio Department of Transportation as well as the port authorities and metro chamber of commerce along the pipeline’s path.
The letter cites a U.S. Department of Energy report released in June that finds “outside of Appalachia, few other regions have the same potential for not only recovery, but for new growth at a scale not seen since the Industrial Revolution.”
The opportunity has grown since the onset of COVID-19 because, the commissioners write, “the personal protective equipment that protects first responders and health care workers are largely constructed from petrochemical feedstocks.” These feedstocks are found in abundance in the Appalachian basin.
Commissioners also cite the location of Route 11, with plenty of miles of flat land to support a pipeline and “its access to two of the most prolific bulk transportation waterways in America.”
Route 11 runs almost unimpeded 100 miles from Lake Erie to the Ohio River.
“The ability to pipe all forms of natural gas to Lake Erie shores from southeast Ohio would give a competitive advantage to Ohio for the construction of a cracker, processing plant, NGL (natural gas liquids) facility or natural gas power generator,” the letter states.
Commissioners said they would welcome the opportunity to discuss the issue further with DeWine.
Polivka said he supports the proposal — especially because of the high number of construction jobs this would create.
In other action, commissioners:
• Hired Shannon Stewart as a utility clerk with the Trumbull County Sanitary Engineers Department, water / sewer accounting division. Stewart will start Feb. 16, 2021 and make about $16 per hour.
• Appointed Kent attorney Eric Fink to represent Portage County on the governing board of the Northeast Ohio Community Alternative Program (NEOCAP) facility. The facility, located in downtown Warren, provides an alternative rehabilitation and life-skills program for low-level felony offenders.