The Rockies Express Pipeline that has caused so much trouble to our valley has yet another ptoblem.

I got this information from the Zanesville Newspaper:

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By BRIAN GADD Staff Writer November 16, 2009

"Nervous neighbors question REX response in pipeline leak"

HARRISON TOWNSHIP " A giant "whoosh," a cloud of dust, and cars streaming out of the Rockies Express Pipeline Compressor Station on Irish Ridge Road definitely caused some nervousness for Craig Elliott and his neighbors.

Living just across the road from the station property, Elliott and others have heard the sound before, when the compressor tanks are "blown."

But all of the activity surrounding the plant Saturday morning was another thing entirely.

"I started seeing them (pipeline employees or contractors) fly out of there like 100 miles per hour and knew that something wasn't right," Elliott said. "There was that big sound, and then dust or something up in the air. The thing that gets me is, they didn't warn us what was happening. They just took off."

What had occurred Saturday was apparently a leak in the REX 42-inch natural-gas pipeline that snakes its way across Muskingum County.

Harrison Township Fire Chief Joe Wilson said there was a hole 10 to 15 feet in diameter at the site of the leak, which was about a half-mile east of the compressor station, according to Allen Fore, director of community relations with Kinder Morgan Partners and spokesman for the REX project.

"The leak is under investigation. It is the first of its kind on our pipeline. Repair is under way and investigation is under way," Fore said. "We will complete a root-cause analysis to determine our course of action. We will replace whatever pipe is warranted based upon this analysis."

The local portion of the pipeline went into operation Nov. 12 but is shut down east of the outage area, Fore added.

The incident led to an evacuation of homes in the area and brought emergency personnel from four fire departments, the Muskingum County Sheriff's Office and the American Red Cross.

The sheriff's office was called by pipeline officials at 10:40 a.m., according to Sheriff Matt Lutz, and the sheriff's office sprung into action.

But the first call from a resident in the area reporting the incident was at 10:23 a.m.

Wilson said about 50 residents were brought to the fire station to shelter in place. The all-clear was given at 12:45 p.m. for people to return to their homes.

Next Page1| 2| 3Previous PageHARRISON TOWNSHIP " A giant "whoosh," a cloud of dust, and cars streaming out of the Rockies Express Pipeline Compressor Station on Irish Ridge Road definitely caused some nervousness for Craig Elliott and his neighbors.

Living just across the road from the station property, Elliott and others have heard the sound before, when the compressor tanks are "blown."

But all of the activity surrounding the plant Saturday morning was another thing entirely.

"I started seeing them (pipeline employees or contractors) fly out of there like 100 miles per hour and knew that something wasn't right," Elliott said. "There was that big sound, and then dust or something up in the air. The thing that gets me is, they didn't warn us what was happening. They just took off."

What had occurred Saturday was apparently a leak in the REX 42-inch natural-gas pipeline that snakes its way across Muskingum County.

Harrison Township Fire Chief Joe Wilson said there was a hole 10 to 15 feet in diameter at the site of the leak, which was about a half-mile east of the compressor station, according to Allen Fore, director of community relations with Kinder Morgan Partners and spokesman for the REX project.

"The leak is under investigation. It is the first of its kind on our pipeline. Repair is under way and investigation is under way," Fore said. "We will complete a root-cause analysis to determine our course of action. We will replace whatever pipe is warranted based upon this analysis."

The local portion of the pipeline went into operation Nov. 12 but is shut down east of the outage area, Fore added.

The incident led to an evacuation of homes in the area and brought emergency personnel from four fire departments, the Muskingum County Sheriff's Office and the American Red Cross.

The sheriff's office was called by pipeline officials at 10:40 a.m., according to Sheriff Matt Lutz, and the sheriff's office sprung into action.

But the first call from a resident in the area reporting the incident was at 10:23 a.m.

Wilson said about 50 residents were brought to the fire station to shelter in place. The all-clear was given at 12:45 p.m. for people to return to their homes.

Phil and Cheryl Crowder were among those evacuated.

"We have nothing against the guys who work there, but for them to run out of there without telling us anything isn't right. It would have been nice to have had a warning signal or siren or something," Cheryl Crowder said. "It was 45 minutes before the fire department came to our house to tell us. All we want is some cooperation from the company, some security, some peace of mind for our family."

Plan for emergency
The incident calls into question whether specific plans are in place to deal with potential gas leaks or fires spawned by the local leg of the $6.6 billion, 1,679-mile pipeline, which stretches from Colorado and Wyoming to eastern Ohio.

Bob Sharp, a Zanesville resident who led a public forum on pipeline issues earlier this year at Zane State College, said he has questioned several local officials and has not received a clear answer to the question.

"The residents out there have never been told what to look for. And they didn't know anything was happening until there were rocks in the air," Sharp said. "They have never been told who to call, or what to do before they call. Should they just leave their homes?"

He sent a letter to the county commissioners in February, proposing local officials develop a fire and safety plan specific to the pipeline.

He also called on REX to pay for equipment, trucks and supplies for both the Harrison and Wayne Township fire departments to help better prepare those agencies for potential problems involving the pipeline.
More openness sought
Wilson said he would like to have the equipment to be able to get to the hard-to-reach areas of the pipeline property, to be of assistance.

"We don't have the equipment to get to it. I have addressed that with the company. And I was told point blank, "It (a pipeline accident) will never happen,'" he said. "We're a rural fire department. We can handle everyday fire rescue, house fires. But this was bigger than we could handle."

Wilson added that although his firefighters have a certain amount of training to assist with large-scale disasters, he wished his crews had been given a little more information before arriving on the scene

Next Page1| 2| 3Previous PageHARRISON TOWNSHIP " A giant "whoosh," a cloud of dust, and cars streaming out of the Rockies Express Pipeline Compressor Station on Irish Ridge Road definitely caused some nervousness for Craig Elliott and his neighbors.

Living just across the road from the station property, Elliott and others have heard the sound before, when the compressor tanks are "blown."

But all of the activity surrounding the plant Saturday morning was another thing entirely.

"I started seeing them (pipeline employees or contractors) fly out of there like 100 miles per hour and knew that something wasn't right," Elliott said. "There was that big sound, and then dust or something up in the air. The thing that gets me is, they didn't warn us what was happening. They just took off."

What had occurred Saturday was apparently a leak in the REX 42-inch natural-gas pipeline that snakes its way across Muskingum County.

Harrison Township Fire Chief Joe Wilson said there was a hole 10 to 15 feet in diameter at the site of the leak, which was about a half-mile east of the compressor station, according to Allen Fore, director of community relations with Kinder Morgan Partners and spokesman for the REX project.

"The leak is under investigation. It is the first of its kind on our pipeline. Repair is under way and investigation is under way," Fore said. "We will complete a root-cause analysis to determine our course of action. We will replace whatever pipe is warranted based upon this analysis."

The local portion of the pipeline went into operation Nov. 12 but is shut down east of the outage area, Fore added.

The incident led to an evacuation of homes in the area and brought emergency personnel from four fire departments, the Muskingum County Sheriff's Office and the American Red Cross.

The sheriff's office was called by pipeline officials at 10:40 a.m., according to Sheriff Matt Lutz, and the sheriff's office sprung into action.

But the first call from a resident in the area reporting the incident was at 10:23 a.m.

Wilson said about 50 residents were brought to the fire station to shelter in place. The all-clear was given at 12:45 p.m. for people to return to their homes.

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Phil and Cheryl Crowder were among those evacuated.

"We have nothing against the guys who work there, but for them to run out of there without telling us anything isn't right. It would have been nice to have had a warning signal or siren or something," Cheryl Crowder said. "It was 45 minutes before the fire department came to our house to tell us. All we want is some cooperation from the company, some security, some peace of mind for our family."

Plan for emergencyThe incident calls into question whether specific plans are in place to deal with potential gas leaks or fires spawned by the local leg of the $6.6 billion, 1,679-mile pipeline, which stretches from Colorado and Wyoming to eastern Ohio.

Bob Sharp, a Zanesville resident who led a public forum on pipeline issues earlier this year at Zane State College, said he has questioned several local officials and has not received a clear answer to the question.

"The residents out there have never been told what to look for. And they didn't know anything was happening until there were rocks in the air," Sharp said. "They have never been told who to call, or what to do before they call. Should they just leave their homes?"

He sent a letter to the county commissioners in February, proposing local officials develop a fire and safety plan specific to the pipeline.

He also called on REX to pay for equipment, trucks and supplies for both the Harrison and Wayne Township fire departments to help better prepare those agencies for potential problems involving the pipeline.
More openness soughtWilson said he would like to have the equipment to be able to get to the hard-to-reach areas of the pipeline property, to be of assistance.

"We don't have the equipment to get to it. I have addressed that with the company. And I was told point blank, "It (a pipeline accident) will never happen,'" he said. "We're a rural fire department. We can handle everyday fire rescue, house fires. But this was bigger than we could handle."

Wilson added that although his firefighters have a certain amount of training to assist with large-scale disasters, he wished his crews had been given a little more information before arriving on the scene.

"They (the company) could have been a little more open," he said.

Bo Keck, director of the Muskingum County Emergency Management Agency, said he would be holding "after-action" sessions with fire and emergency medical personnel to discuss the incident.

"We enacted normal incident procedures, but we should really know more about the dangers of this kind of thing happening," Keck said. "But we did have air monitoring going on, because of the vapor plume. I hate to say it, but when it's a vapor, there's not a lot we can do, but go out and standby. When there's a fire, at least you know where it is at."

Keck said he is not aware that the EMA office " he was hired by the county to take over the EMA office earlier this spring " received any information about the potential dangers of the pipeline from officials during construction.

He said he would ask REX officials and those from the contractors responsible for the installation and welds on the pipeline to take part in the after-action discussions.

He would also address why EMA Deputy Director Jeff Jadwin was not permitted on the property to take photos of the scene.

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I asked that the Rockies Express Pipeline give the Belmont County Emergency Management Agency information on what to do in a disaster situation, including who to call, Allen Fore of REX said he never heard such a request. So I asked the same question again at another meeting with REX, Mr. Fore said the exact same thing, he had never heard such a request before.

I asked the federal authority over this project, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission the exact same question, they did not respond.

As far as the pipeline is concerned until they put up a cash bond, they have put us in fear and will never know when this happen again, but I know it will.

Instead of REX inspecting this pipeline, there should be a third party doing the inspection, from the inside of the pipeline to trench on the out side.

Here in Somerton, the fire department is on one side of the pipeline and the Fire Chief's home is on the other side.

So until REX puts up a substantial cash bond, I figure my home is pretty worthless on the housing market.

Jerry Smith, PhD.
Somerton