To Stop a Pipeline, Citizens Deploy Hundreds of Letters, and a Shotgun

'My brother in law told [the pipeline survey team] to leave and they did. He had a shotgun with him so they left quickly.'

Graphic credit: Paul Horn/InsideClimate News

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People living along the proposed route of a natural gas pipeline through Michigan have been bombarding federal regulators with letters opposing the project planned by ET Rover Pipeline Company LLC. 

In the face of mounting opposition in one county, ET Rover, a subsidiary of Houston-based Energy Transfer Partners, quietly revised its plan and rerouted the pipeline north though two counties that were surprised to suddenly be dealing with the project. 

READ: Michigan Citizens Rise Up and Force a Gas Pipeline to Skirt Their County

The letter-writing campaign was directed at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the federal agency that will decide the project’s fate. FERC is the lead agency responsible for conducting environmental reviews of proposed interstate pipelines, and as part of the process it allows time for the public to weigh in with comments. 

The following letters were among hundreds FERC has received since ET Rover announced its plans in June. Although ET Rover is not required to respond, it, too, has filed correspondence with FERC that sheds light on the issues. Excerpts from that correspondence are included below. 

Sandra Skubik

Holly, Mich.

I oppose the proposed route for the ET Rover pipeline because it will barrel through my parents’ living room, topple the fruit trees, raze the barn, crush the rasberries, fell the pines, disturb the bones of my favorite dog, and smoosh the green guts out of at least eight species of frogs in Papa’s Swamp.

ET Rover

Where residences are located in close proximity to the edge of the construction right-of-way, ET Rover will reduce construction workspace areas as practicable to minimize inconvenience to property owners.

Michael E. Davis

Lapeer, Mich. 

This project was originally slated for Oakland County, where ET Rover met with such stringent resistance that they cancelled their plans and turned their attention north to Lapeer County. It is imperative that Lapeer residents push back as well and tell ET Rover that we DO NOT want our lifestyles disrupted in order for a large power company to make more money. I (on behalf of my Lapeer residents) vow to fight this to the end.

ET Rover

The revised route is located in areas that are less populated and allowed ET Rover to reduce the number of residences that would be in close proximity to the Project.

Kendall and Stacy Peake

Romeo, Mich. 

We have already been inundated with pipeline projects that have not even been finished and now we have yet another pipe line trying to come through. When is enough??? Why must we go through this again?? We are offended as a property owner and tax payers that this project will take away our property rights once again, enough is enough. 

ET Rover

The Project will result in the temporary disturbance to existing land use during construction and, to a lesser degree, in the future during operation and maintenance of the Project.

Stephanie Stevens

Swartz Creek, Mich.

We don’t need more toxic fracking, chemical spills, accidents, or destruction; there is no reason to continue using unsustainable methods and materials when we have an abundance of wind and sun to take advantage of. This project isn’t going to help anyone except the few people who own the company, please reject this proposal and all others that involve oil or natural gas.

ET Rover

Assuming the means of providing sufficient transportation for this gas production is not developed (i.e., the Project is not constructed), drilling activities for natural gas could decline in these producing regions, resulting in reduced natural gas production from new wells and stranded natural gas supplies due to lack of takeaway capacity. Unless natural gas demand is reduced to offset this reduction in supply, higher natural gas prices will result. 

Dennis & Sharon Galbreath

Metamora, Mich. 

We are writing in opposition to the proposed pipeline by the ET Rover Pipeline LLC being routed through Hadley Township and Lapeer County. We live within 500 feet of where this proposed 42″ high-pressure pipeline would be located and that causes great fear in us as to the potential danger it would have on us if ever there was a leak or God forbid a full explosion.

ET Rover

All pipeline facilities and associated appurtenances will be designed, constructed, tested, operated, and maintained to conform to or exceed the requirements of the USDOT Transportation of Natural and Other Gas by Pipeline, Minimum Safety Standards, 

Melissa Berndt

Waterford, Mich. 

Do not approve this pipeline! It would be economically and ecologically catastrophic for struggling Lapeer County. ET Rover cannot be trusted with the lives of my family. We will be forced to leave the farm that I hoped to share with my children.

ET Rover

Following construction of the Project, the areas disturbed by construction will be restored to their original condition and use, to the greatest extent practicable. 

ET Rover (more):

ET Rover will employ full-time Environmental Inspectors for each construction spread for the duration of Project construction, and one Chief Environmental Inspector for the entire Project.

ET Rover (more):

Segregated topsoil will be returned to its original horizon, unless otherwise requested by the landowner. Temporary and permanent erosion and sediment control measures, including silt fencing, diversion terraces, and vegetation, will be installed at that time. Private and public property, such as fences, gates, driveways, and roads that have been disturbed by the pipeline construction will be restored to original or better condition.

Richard Cory

Romeo, Mich.

I am the township Supervisor, recently we had a town hall meeting and 160 residents were in attendance. Only one person was in favor. Many were farmers expressing that when other pipelines came through our township it took years to bring the soil compaction back to make the earth healthy.

Our board on Aug. 20, 2014 passed a Resolution opposing ET Rover’s project in our area. 

ET Rover

Following construction of the Project, the areas disturbed by construction will be restored to their original condition and use, to the greatest extent practicable.

Rudy Jabouri

Almont, Mich. 

Survey teams showed up to our home walked onto our property, drove their vehicles onto our property & we were never given any notice or warning of them wanting to do this.  ET Rover has shown that private land & citizens rights mean absolutely nothing to them. The fact that they continue to use strong arm tactics is what is so concerning to us. If this truly is an honest project for the good of the American people than why all the bullying? 

Sally Loasching

Grand Blanc, Mich.

Then on September 29, 2014, the surveying crew showed up. The Mundy Supervisor was there because I had the township asking what my rights were. The Supervisor tried to get information from the ET Rover head representative. The ET rep became irate and ranted about how we land owners were being unreasonable.

After the Supervisor left to consult with the township attorney, ET’s crew showed up and the representative came to my door again. I stayed inside and said that I couldn’t physically stop him, but I did not want them on my land. The crew, including a female “Security Officer” preceded to come onto the land. My brother in law told them to leave and they did. He had a shotgun with him so they left quickly. 

ET Rover

In June 2014, ET Rover began contacting landowners regarding the Project and began to request permission to conduct field surveys along the preliminary route. In June 2014, ET Rover also invited landowners within a 0.5-mile of the preliminary route to attend Open Houses.

The Open Houses provided information on the Project, its purpose and preliminary design, as well as answers to questions that are most commonly asked regarding the proposed route, safety, and protection of sensitive resources.

Teresa Preble

Fowlerville, Mich.

What happens to all of the letters that are filed on here?? Is someone supposed to respond to them or do they just get scanned on here and forgotten? None of the questions or concerns that I submitted have been answered or addressed. Actually I get at least 10 emails a day of people protesting this line and I have yet to see anyone with authority respond.

What is the purpose of this website? It seems like a lot of people are not in favor of this but you are going ahead with it anyway. A response would be greatly appreciated.

You can call me at any time, I’ll be waiting.

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