Oct. 30–AKRON, Ohio — Summit County officials want to create a fund to cover any emergencies caused by the Nexus natural-gas pipeline, which cuts through Green and New Franklin in the southern part of the county.
County Executive Ilene Shapiro and County Council members Paula Prentice and Michael Soyars announced Tuesday they are introducing legislation that would set aside money for planning, training and equipment in case a pipeline-related emergency occurs.
“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 news release.
The 36-inch pipeline was activated in late September and now carries two thirds of its capacity of 1.5 billion cubic feet per day, the county reported.
“My constituents in Green are rightly concerned about the potential consequences of a natural gas pipeline running through their backyards,” Prentice stated in the release.
According to Nexus, the pipeline is monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week via a system that can react to anomalies in operations and dispatch workers if necessary. Sensors and remote control shut-off equipment were also installed on the pipeline, and aerial and on-the-ground inspections are performed regularly, the company reports.
If the legislation is approved by County Council, money for the Pipeline Emergency Response Fund will come from property taxes the pipeline is expected to generate. A report by Public Finance Resources, which provides financial forecasting for governments, estimates Summit County’s portion of tax revenues at nearly $21 million in the first five years. The first taxes will be collected in 2020 and would be available for the proposed fund in 2021.
The fund would be used by Summit County’sSpecial Operations Response Team, which is specially trained to respond to an array of hazards, emergences and disasters. Grants from the fund also would be awarded to local police and fire departments based on recommendations by the Special Operations Response Team board.
“As the council representative for New Franklin, I am committed to the health and safety of my constituents,” Soyars said in the release. “We have to be prepared for a potential pipeline malfunction or related disaster and this legislation will allow us to do just that.”
The Public Safety Committee of County Council is expected to discuss the new legislation at its regular meeting on Monday, Nov. 5.
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