Supporters across the region testified in favor of natural gas pipeline infrastructure development during a string of public comment meetings held regarding FERC’s draft environmental impact statement for the Rover Pipeline. Supporters of the project spoke out last week in Fayette and Hamler, Ohio as well as in Chelsea, Michigan.
Jon Rosenberger, a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers testified that the project would provide “exactly the right kind of economic stimulus” for communities across Ohio still struggling to recover from the Great Recession. If approved, the proposed $4.2 billion pipeline is expected to create upwards of 6,500 new jobs in Ohio alone and generate an estimated $135 million in ad valorem tax revenues. In addition, manufacturing firms in Ohio such as Mount Vernon-based Ariel Corporation will play a central role in supplying the necessary materials for the project.
— Michigan Laborers (@MiLaborers) March 25, 2016
In Michigan, supporters from a range of different backgrounds gathered in Chelsea to discuss the merits of the pipeline and the benefits it will deliver. Allies included a large group of members from the Michigan Laborers’ District Council who favor the project for the thousands of new jobs it will create. “We need jobs in our region and we need a reliable supply of domestically produced energy,” said Mike Hayter, a spokesperson for the group. “This project will satisfy both those needs and do so with minimal impact to the communities along the pipeline route. I urge you to approve this important project for the good of the people of Michigan and for our economy.”
John Dulmes, executive director of the Michigan Chemistry Council also spoke to the importance of the project, noting “that about 76 percent of the Rover Pipeline will be made in the U.S. Overall, the majority of the equipment and greater than $1 billion in goods will be purchased from U.S. manufacturers, including businesses here in Michigan.”
Furthermore, the Ohio Farm Bureau has noted that the draft environmental impact statement addressed many of their member’s concerns about the pipeline. “FERC listened to landowners because their concerns are addressed in this draft statement,” said the Bureau’s Director of Energy Development Dale Arnold. “In many cases FERC recommended more stringent requirements than what ET Rover had proposed in its initial application.”
A study commissioned by the Ohio State Grange, Natural Gas Pipeline Infrastructure and Its Impact on Michigan and Ohio Agriculture, found that the construction of natural gas pipeline infrastructure will provide short- and long-term benefits to farmers across the region. Bob White, president of the Ohio State Grange further emphasized these findings in a recent opinion piece published in the Daily Digger.
“Ultimately, this construction process will result in access to natural gas for farmers and other consumers throughout Ohio. As a farmer myself, I can attest to both the safety and the benefits of natural gas pipelines,” said White. “A pipeline runs across my property, and I encountered no adverse effects during or after construction. Further, I am proud to use natural gas in my agricultural projects. Gas is a cleaner-burning, more environmentally friendly energy source than many other options.”