Friday, October 26, 2001

Natural gas line planned

Possible routes traverse Mason, West Chester

By Richelle Thompson
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A proposed natural gas line through Mason and West Chester would help meet demands caused by rapid growth in the suburbs and give Cincinnati Gas and Electric better buying power, a Cinergy spokesman said Thursday.

        The power company hopes to build a gas line from Ohio 63 to just south of Fields Ertel Road. It has proposed two routes: a 10.7-mile line following Butler-Warren Road and a 13.6-mile route to the east of Butler-Warren that would parallel a railroad right-of-way.

        CG&E prefers the Butler-Warren route, said Bob McElfresh, a senior environmental scientist. Not only would it be cheaper — an estimated $10.6 million compared to $14.5 million for the alternate route — but it would be easier to construct, he said.

        With the existing line near capacity, the new pipeline would benefit customers by providing them with a more reliable gas source and better pressure, Mr. McElfresh said.

        “Just as if you open all the taps on a water line, the pressure drops. The same thing happens with a gas line,” he said. “With all the growth in that region, we need to do something to bolster the pressure for all the homes and businesses in the area.”

        The city of Mason averages 500 to 600 new single-family homes a year, compared to about 80 a year before 1992, said City Manager Scot Lahrmer. Natural gas is popular among new homeowners because it is an efficient and clean source of energy, he said.

        Plus, gas heat feels warmer.

        “I had a heat pump before and you got a constant supply of air, sometimes warm and sometimes not,” Mr. Lahrmer said. In his new home, “when the (gas) heat is on, it's constant warm air.”

        Mr. McElfresh said the new and bigger pipeline also would enable the power company to save money by buying natural gas in larger quantities.

        Construction on the project, if approved, would take about 12 months and could begin late this year.

        The Ohio Power Siting Board, which reviews permits for new pipelines, will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Mason Public Library, 200 Reading Road, allowing public comment on the proposal.


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