- After years of controversy and struggle, a judge has put construction of the Duke natural gas pipeline project on pause.
- The plan to build the pipeline between Golf Manor and Sycamore Township was approved in November.
Although approved in November, an administrative law judge ordered Duke Energy’s pipeline project to be placed on hold until the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) thoroughly reviews the case again.
Neighbors Opposing Pipeline Extension (NOPE) and officials with Blue Ash, Cincinnati, Evendale, Reading, and Hamilton County filed an Application for Rehearing with OPSB at the end of December — a first step in the appealing process.
The administrative law judge approved the application on Jan. 17.
The group and community residents are arguing that the board did not consider all evidence fairly before approving the Central Corridor Pipeline project.
Sally Thelen, the spokesperson for Duke Energy Midwest, said the situation isn’t unusual for these types of projects.
“This is a very critical project that we need,” she told the Enquirer Tuesday. “We’re moving forward with the project with the order we received from the siting board. The application process itself is a marathon, not a sprint.”
Jared Newman, the spokesman for NOPE, believes the hold is a good sign.
“There’s been a lot of pipeline explosions,” Newman told Fox 19. “This is a very invasive solution for what is basically a small amount of additional energy.”
Thelen said the rehearing does not mean the process will start over or that there will be a new evidentiary hearing.
“We 100 percent are confident that we can construct and operate this pipeline safely and responsibly,” Thelan said.
What happens next?
There is no clear timeline for what is next. The board now has more time to decide whether they want to hear the case again. If the board chooses to stand by its original decision, then construction on the pipeline is expected to begin in late 2020 and conclude in 2021.
While the board reviews the evidence, Duke Energy plans to continue discussing initial pipeline designs and meeting with community leaders.