Originally posted on September 8th, 2018 by Mark Todd

NORTH KINGSVILLE — Representatives of a Pennsylvania company spearheading an $86 million natural gas pipeline expansion project into Ashtabula County have told North Kingsville officials that construction could begin soon.

Mayor Timothy Zee this week said officials with RH energytrans of Erie, Pennsylvania, obtained permit applications needed for the North Kingsville portion of the Risberg project. Some of the permits deal with boring work in a right-of-way area, while others are zoning-related and deal with the construction of storage buildings.

The RH energytrans representative also told village officials pipeline construction of the expansion is expected to start in early October, with completion scheduled for early summer 2019.

“We’re looking forward to seeing that coming through,” Zee said. “It’s a nice infrastructure project.”

North Kingsville will serve as terminus for the project, a 28-mile expansion of a pipeline that now ends in Meadville, Pennsylvania. New, 12-inch pipe would stretch in a northwestern direction through Pennsylvania before

entering Ohio in Conneaut near Baldwin Road. Once in Ohio, the pipe would extend another 12 miles through stretches of Conneaut and Kingsville Township before reaching its end in North Kingsville near the CSX Railway crossing on Route 193.

Some 30 percent of the pipe will parallel existing roads and railroads, officials have said.

Dennis Holbrook, RH energytrans spokesman, could not be immediately reached for comment regarding the North Kingsville permits. In July, however, Holbrook said the company was optimistic the project would receive the certificate needed from the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

This summer FERC issued an environmental assessment that said the project would not significantly affect the quality of the environment. A 90-day public comment period followed, and FERC is expected to give a final answer before the end the of this month.

The positive environmental report was encouraging, Holbrook said in July.

“That’s your hope and that’s the expectation, yes,” he said at the time. “But the process does allow them to send out to any agencies they haven’t heard back from. We’re cautiously optimistic we will soon have our certificate.”

Holbrook has said construction could begin immediately, with work pushing into 2019.

Local and county officials have said the pipeline will be a boon to economic development, provide a source of natural gas for business and industry that is sorely lacking. The pipeline would deliver an estimated 55 million standard cubic feet of natural gas per day, according to FERC. Dominion Energy would be the primary beneficiary of the pipeline.

“I think it’s going to help meet natural gas needs here in Ashtabula County,” Ashtabula County Commissioner Casey Kozlowski said in July. “I think it’s something that’s desperately needed as we look to bring new business into Ashtabula County. Having this critical infrastructure is a must.”

Conneaut City Manager James Hockaday has called the Risberg pipeline the biggest economic development project he’s seen while in Ashtabula County.

Construction of the pipeline would affect about 242 acres of land for above-ground facilities, access roads and the line itself, according to the FERC document. Once the pipe is in place and operational, RH would retain about 171 acres “for permanent operation of the project’s facilities,” while the balance of the land would revert back to its original use.

The project touches more than 100 privately-owned parcels in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

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