Putnam County residents interested in the Rockies Express Pipeline proposed in the northern part of the county will get an opportunity to have their say during a public meeting scheduled for Wednesday evening.
Indiana Farm Bureau and the Indiana Ag Law Foundation have planned three meetings in the state for landowners regarding the pipeline, including one locally.
"It is important for landowners and tenants whose property will be affected to learn how to protect that property," Justin Schneider, IFB staff attorney, said. "These meetings will address those issues as well as provide insight on what additional considerations may be needed, such as negotiating an easement."
The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Putnam County Fairgrounds with representatives from REX and Indiana Farm Bureau who will answer property owners' questions one on one.
At 7 p.m., there will be a public discussion that will focus on issues related to the REX pipeline, but landowners facing other pipeline or underground utility construction are welcome to attend.
In September 2006, pipeline officials announced plans to change the original route of the pipeline north of Bainbridge due to concerns about a nature preserve located on the banks of Big Walnut Creek.
Originally the pipeline was proposed for the north side of U.S. 36 across the entire county, but the nature preserve forced officials to direct it south instead.
The pipeline is now proposed to cross south of U.S. 36 about two miles east of U.S. 231, or near what locals refer to as the shortcut road (CR 100 West), and continue east where it will pass south of Bainbridge and continue on toward Hendricks County.
The pipeline itself will be 42 inches in diameter and will carry natural gas from the Rocky Mountains of Colorado to the farmlands of Monroe County, Ohio, a distance of 1,663 miles.
Construction has already begun on the western leg of the pipeline with work on the eastern section scheduled for 2008.
Local residents and officials have expressed concerns about the depth the pipeline is to be buried -- a minimum of 3 feet.
Pipeline officials told the Putnam County Commissioners in November that federal law only requires 30 inches of cover.
Farmers also questioned how the pipeline would effect the drain tiles in their fields.
Pipeline officials said they will see that damaged tiles are repaired.
Also farmers asked if the pipeline company would ensure that soil is returned to its original condition.
Pipeline officials said they would take care to ensure the valuable topsoil is put back in place once the pipeline has been buried.
In addition to the meeting in Greencastle Wednesday evening, two other meetings are scheduled outside Putnam County.
One is tonight at North Decatur Elementary school cafeteria, 3300 N. Ind. 3, Greensburg, Ind. (just north of Interstate 74) and Feb. 5 at the Johnson County Fairgrounds, Scott Hall, 101 Fairground St., Franklin, Ind. (one block west of U.S. 31 and one block north of Ind. 44)
For more information about the meetings or other information regarding easement concerns, contact Schneider at (317) 692-7835 or e-mail jschneider @infarmbureau.org.
More information about the pipeline is available at the REX website, www.rexpipeline.com
Information is also available on the website of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, www.ferc.gov.