Residents, politicians turn out for Duke Energy pipeline meeting

Posted at 6:15 PM, Jun 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-15 18:15:12-04

CINCINNATI – Officials with Duke Energy met with residents opposed to their proposed high-pressure pipeline Wednesday.

The company has proposed three different routes for a 30-inch pipe that would be used for transporting natural gas in northern Hamilton County and replace a pipe that has been in place since the ‘50s.

RELATED: Duke's proposed 30-inch gas pipeline ignites firestorm of opposition

The plan has drawn criticism from residents who live in the areas around the proposed routes. Organizers of Neighbors Opposed to Pipeline Expansion (or NOPE) said the pipeline would create a mess and could potentially lead to an explosion.

“This is not the right answer for the gas problem,” Pleasant Ridge Community Council President Bill Frost said. “There are multiple better answers than this, and we’d like to work with Duke and everyone to find the best route.”

Sally Thelen with Duke said a study from last year found the current line in Hamilton County is nearing the end of its useful life.

“We want to make sure that we’re able to continually, safely and reliably meet the energy needs of our natural gas customers in Hamilton County, which is ultimately who this line is being designed for,” Thelen said.

Representatives from the company met with the concerned residents in an effort to put their fears at ease. They have more than 250 miles of high-pressure pipeline that they have operated in Ohio and Kentucky for decades, according to Thelen.

“We have a very solid safety record with our natural gas system, and we feel confident we’re going to be able to put a new pipeline in Hamilton County and operate it reliably and safely not only for our employees, but our customers of that areas,” Thelen said.

Still, residents – and some officials – expressed concern about the pipeline being build in a densely populate area.

“God forbid if what happened in other cities happened in Cincinnati,” Councilmember Wendell Young said, referring to pipeline explosions elsewhere. “If this happens in one of our neighborhoods … how are we going to forgive ourselves?”