Gas line explosion sparks fears regarding new Marthon-Ashland pipeline
By Randy Yohe

6 August 2002

South Point, OH, Aug. 6 - The natural gas line explosion has sparked fear in many people living along the proposed Ashland-Marathon pipeline route. The oil company says linking the two pipelines together is like comparing apples and oranges. But many believe those gas and oil apples and oranges may be put in the same dangerous basket.

Bill Ferguson says Marathon Ashland has staked out his yard as a pipeline route option. Bill lives right on the Ohio River where the pipeline will be buried 40 feet deep, so he feels safe. Bill Ferguson tells us he's not concerned because it will be too deep below the earth to make an explosion or anything.

Ann Lemley says the pipeline will run right in front of her house, and just three and a half feet deep. She says the federal pipeline studies she's read show cause for alarm. Ann says with the fuel and gas in those pipes, it would be a big explosion.

Unlike the Natural gas pipeline that exploded, The Marathon Ashland pipeline will transport liquid petroleum products, gasoline, diesel fuel and jet fuel. Marathon- Ashland folks say a natural gas pipeline like the one that exploded is under much higher pressure than their liquid pipelines. And they say any safety concern regarding a liquid pipeline would come from a spill, not an explosion.

South Point city councilman David Classing says the 149 mile liquid pipeline that runs from Kenova to Columbus will run parallel at more than one point to natural gas pipelines. David Classing says "Who's to say that when a gas line like the Poca line blows up, that the other one won't explode?"

A Marathon-Ashland spokesman says to the best of his knowledge, the pipeline will not run parallel to any natural gas pipes. But Ann Lemley says there's a natural gas line right near her yellow marker. And David Classing says Columbia Gas Workers tell him they are concerned about safety with the oil pipeline coming so close to their gas lines.

The US Dept. of Transportation says pipelines are safer than hauling oil products by truck, rail or barge.

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