Oct. 31–Summit County is looking to create a special emergency response fund in case there’s a problem with the Nexus natural gas pipeline that runs through Green and New Franklin.
Summit County Council members Paula Prentice and Michael Soyars joined County Executive Ilene Shapiro to introduce legislation Monday for the fund, saying the proposal was prompted by concerns from citizens.
“The Nexus pipeline is now pumping natural gas through two of our Summit County communities and we must be proactive in preparing for the risks this pipeline presents to the health and safety of residents,” Shapiro said in a prepared statement.
The money would be raised through property taxes levied on the pipeline and paid for by the companies that own the pipeline. The county would then move the money from its general fund starting in 2021 to the new fund. The money would pay for safety planning, training and equipment for pipeline failures or similar emergencies.
The specific amount that would be raised isn’t clear, Shapiro’s chief of staff Jason Dodson said. The pipeline companies had estimated a couple of years ago that the county, including agencies such as Children Services and Developmental Disabilities, would split $4.3 million over the first five years, but Dodson said he expects the overall total to be less.
County leaders are estimating the county general fund could receive anywhere from $400,000 to $500,000 over the five-year period.
Dodson added that he is unaware of any other county government with such a fund.
“We probably are the first county that is doing this,” he said.
Nexus informed the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in a letter last week that mainline facilities previously approved by the commission had been in service since Oct. 13. Those facilities represent two-thirds of the pipeline’s capacity of 1.5 billion cubic feet per day.
The 36-inch diameter pipeline runs about 255 miles from Hanover Township in Columbiana County to southern Michigan and crosses Stark, Summit and Wayne counties. Detroit-based DTE Energy and Enbridge, a Canadian company, are partners in the $2.1 billion Nexus pipeline.
Prentice represents Green, while Soyars represents New Franklin.
“There were so many constituents in Green with serious concerns about this pipeline and rightfully so,” Prentice said. “We want to give them support and let them know there would be help if something would happen.”
The money would be set aside for the county’s Special Operations Response Team (SORT) or for grants for local police and fire departments as recommended by the SORT Board. The county will begin collecting taxes on the pipeline in 2020.
New Franklin Mayor Paul Adamson said he’s pleased with the proposal and hopes it’s approved.
“It makes a lot of sense to be proactive and make sure the training is in place,” he said.
County Council will discuss the legislation Monday in the Public Safety Committee.
Rick Armon can be reached at 330-996-3569 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @armonrickABJ.
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