When clients ask me what the region will look like with this boom in oil and gas pipeline infrastructure, I tell them to get a map of the greater Ohio Valley. Spread that map flat on a table and grab a couple of boxes of spaghetti. Dump the spaghetti on the map and spread it around a bit. That’s what the future looks like for oil and gas pipelines in Jefferson, Belmont, Monroe, Guernsey, Noble counties in Ohio, and Hancock, Brooke, Ohio, Marshall, Wetzel, Tyler, and Doddridge counties in West Virginia. Pipelines will soon completely crisscross Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania, and there will hardly be a speck of land that won’t be impacted by an oil and gas pipeline in some manner or other.
But, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Many people have benefitted from oil and gas production in our community, and, without oil and gas pipelines, there’s simply no production. The benefits to our economy and our people cannot be denied. However, these opportunities are not without their challenges. Along with increased truck traffic and crashes, and roads being destroyed, it’s scary to think that oil and gas pipeline explosions have become more common than we want to think.
By now most everyone has heard of the recent oil and gas pipeline explosion near Summerfield in Noble County, Ohio. According to reports flames reached 80 feet in height and scorched a wide swath of land that included three homes. Worst of all, two residents were injured and one was transported to a local hospital due to injuries. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident…
Just last year, myself and other attorneys from our firm, Gold, Khourey & Turak, represented landowners in Moundsville, Marshall County, West Virginia after Columbia Gas’ Leach XPress Pipeline exploded on their property. The explosion created an approximately 10-acre impact crater that reduced the landscape to little more than ash, dirt, and scorched timber. Damage from the explosion spread even further from the crater. While my clients’ land was irreparably damaged, fortunately, neither my clients nor anyone else was hurt in the explosion.
What many people don’t realize is that the oil and gas pipeline explosion was only the beginning—dealing with the company and various governmental agencies to make sure my clients and their land were taken care of was a long and arduous process that necessitated us filing a lawsuit. Above and beyond negotiating a monetary settlement with Columbia, we had to negotiate several other contracts to allow Columbia to perform its clean up and reclamation activities. We also contacted and gathered reports and other information from various state and federal agencies, including the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection and the Federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. We had to ensure that these agencies were holding Columbia accountable for the damage caused by the pipeline explosion.
Long story, short, after months and months of negotiations, we were able to achieve a favorable settlement for our clients. It was the result of knowing the “system,” doggedly pursuing every avenue with state and federal agencies, and a lot of hard work and perseverance. Nothing ever comes easy.
The unfortunate truth is that the Summerfield, Noble County, Ohio and the Moundsville, Marshall County, West Virginia explosions aren’t the only recent pipeline explosions in the Ohio Valley and around the country. Just last September, Energy Transfer’s Revolution Pipeline exploded in Beaver County, Pennsylvania. Many landowners in Ohio and West Virginia know Energy Transfer as the operator of the Rover Pipeline. Even more worrisome, since the beginning of 2010, interstate pipelines have exploded or caught fire 137 times according to a recent article. While nothing in life is certain, it’s not much of a stretch to say that oil and gas pipeline explosions will happen in the future.
Gold, Khourey & Turak is the Ohio Valley’s leading law firm representing landowners in all oil and gas related matters. When an oil and gas pipeline explosion occurs in your neighborhood, you can feel confident you have a law firm ready to stand up for you and your family and hold those accountable for the explosion. Gold, Khourey & Turak is a local law firm who knows oil and gas, and we are positioned and prepared to fight for the rights of landowners. We have the proven results, and no other law firm in the Ohio Valley matches our results. If you have been impacted by a pipeline explosion or any other oil and gas related incident, contact our office today at (304) 845-9750. We offer free consultations on all oil and gas matters, including pipeline explosions, oil and gas truck crashes, pipeline negotiations, lease negotiations, and more.