Portage County | Residents worry about pipeline safety

PORTAGE COUNTY -- Dozens of people living in Portage County are speaking out against expanding a pipeline that would carry refined products near their homes. Residents demanded answers and the assurance that they'll be safe.

Most of that pipeline already exists in Portage County.

Sunoco wants to expand it in parts, and that means using eminent domain if they have to.

Dennis Copley has been living in Mogadore for more than 60 years. He used to see 200-year-old trees out his front window, but now he looks at the construction of a 55,000-gallon storage tank.

"I'll tell you what, I get emotional, very emotional. I have a rough time talking about it," said Copley.

Copley already has three lines running around his property. One carries ethane gas.

"We are understanding more about ethane and how volatile it is, and, if there could be a leak, it could hover near the ground, and, if something could cause it to ignite, then it could explode," said resident Connie Waldeck.

Copley and Waldeck joined dozens of folks from Portage County.

They're concerned about Sunoco's plans to expand an existing pipeline called the Allegheny Access, which runs from Western Ohio into Pennsylvania.

The expansion would transport 85,000 barrels of refined products a day.

Folks question what those products will be, how it will affect their property values and what plans the company has to stop a leak.

"Safety is our most concern, and pipelines are the safest mode of transporting products like gasoline and diesel fuel," said Joe McGinn, a representative of Sunoco Logistics.

Sunoco says it is highly regulated and exceeds the requirements for building and maintaining the system.

Copley isn't so sure. He says he feels trapped in a house nobody would buy.

"I wouldn't be able to sell the place if I did want to sell it, so I'm kinda stuck. What am I going to do?" questioned Copley.

Despite some people not wanting to turn over their property to Sunoco, the company is planning to have the pipeline operational by June.


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