Initial land surveys for a natural gas pipeline proposed to run through northern Putnam County have been completed, but discussions about a supporting facility to be built near Bainbridge are ongoing.
A spokesman for Rockies Express Pipeline, developers of a 1,679-mile underground line set to run from Colorado to Ohio, said the company is continuing to make plans for an above-ground compressor station that will be built on land east of Bainbridge.
Allen Fore said the proposed compressor station, which aides in the process of moving the natural gas through the line, is the only one of its kind to be built in Indiana for the project. The others will be in Missouri, Illinois and Ohio.
He said compressor stations typically require several acres of land and that Rockies Express has purchased about 10 acres for the Bainbridge area facility. Some sites are as large as 15 acres, Fore said. The company is still in discussions about the Bainbridge station.
"We're still talking about how we're going to do that," he said.
While the eastern leg of the cross-country pipeline, which includes Putnam County, is still awaiting its environmental permit from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the western leg is much further along.
About a month ago, FERC granted Rockies Express an environmental permit for the western leg and now the project is awaiting authorization to begin construction.
Fore said he anticipates the eastern leg of the pipeline, which includes Indiana, Ohio, Illinois and parts of Missouri, may receive an environmental permit next spring. The company filed for the permit a little more than a month ago. If the permit is granted, REX would then apply for permission to begin construction of the eastern leg, Fore said.
"We don't expect a decision until late spring next year," Fore said.
Since filing with FERC about a month ago, REX has been asked to provide additional environmental information to the agency. Fore did not seem to think this would cause a major delay in the project and said there is plenty of time for REX to provide all the information.
"That gives lots of time to get our I's dotted and our T's crossed," he said.
Fore said there are 99 parcels of land in Putnam County that will have to be crossed by the pipeline and that all of the initial surveys having been completed. Additional surveying will follow as the project moves closer to construction.
Fore said property owners can expect to be visited by a REX official soon to begin discussion on purchasing right-of-way for the pipeline. He said REX would pay the fair-market value price.
"If it's not going on already, it will be very soon," Fore said of the purchase offers to property owners. Property owners should expect a personal visit by REX personnel regarding their land and not simply a written or telephone contact.
During construction of the pipeline, the company will require an easement of 125 feet wide. After construction, it will be reduced to a permanent width of 50 feet, Fore said.
Residents who still have questions or concerns about the pipeline still have an opportunity to speak with officials. Last fall the public was invited to several scoping meetings. There will be other meetings before FERC makes its decision.