OFBF will represent landowners and small business owners as part of judicial proceedings in the project, making it the first time the organization has pursued being an active participant in an interstate pipeline case. This brings a new level of representation for members, said Dale Arnold, OFBF’s director of energy policy.
OFBF noted in its filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that it has worked for several years with pipeline and energy service providers to address the special needs of Ohio’s farm and pasture land including topography, soil types, drainage requirements and water resources.
“We’re doing this to make sure farmers, rural residents and small businesses have a seat at the table during the judicial process in this pipeline proceeding,” Arnold said. “OFBF has extensive experience at the state level with Ohio Power Siting Board proceedings concerning wind energy development and electric transmission line projects. We will be using this experience for the first time at the federal level.”
OFBF examined FERC rules and determined that it could file a motion to be recognized as an active participant in the proceedings about the Columbia project. That ruling allows Ohio Farm Bureau to participate in judicial hearings, settlement discussions, negotiating stipulations and reviewing agreements concerning construction and operation of the project.
OFBF has filed a similar motion to be an active participant in the $4.3 billion ET Rover pipeline project, which would run from southeast Ohio west to Defiance County and up into Michigan and Canada.