Letter to the Editor: Infrastructure commentary missed the mark

We can all agree that infrastructure upgrades are essential to Ohio’s future. Unfortunately, Craig Stevens’ June 19 column, “With American infrastructure lagging, pipeline projects in Ohio offer solutions” doesn’t focus on roads, water supply pipes, bridges or mass transit. Stevens paints oil and gas pipelines as some magic bullet to support our economy. He shines a light on the ineptitude-ridden Rover pipeline, which unfortunately the Canton area knows all too well through the spills in the area since construction began.

Stevens bemoans the “overly burdensome regulations” that “can stifle or completely derail much-needed projects” but neglects to mention that the Rover pipeline was derailed by the project’s own failures, spilling millions of gallons of drilling fluids containing diesel fuel into pristine wetlands adjacent to the Tuscarawas River. Regulations usually exist because something went wrong. Regulations exist to protect our families. Regulations exist to keep companies from damaging the environment, poisoning our water, and dirtying our air. When companies neglect to follow these public safeguards, they deserve to pay the appropriate penalty.

If we can’t trust Rover to even build the pipeline responsibly, how can we expect them to operate a finished pipeline with respect for Ohioans?

Ohio needs smart infrastructure development aimed at improving the lives of our people, not lining the wallets of bad acting Texas energy companies. We need improved roads, bridges and advancements in the clean energy sector — where more than 100,000 Ohioans are already working, with vast room for tremendous growth. Pipelines in Ohio have failed because they weren’t operated appropriately and the companies only have themselves to blame. Our leaders need to look toward the future if they want to find solutions.

Heather Taylor-Miesle, Executive Director, Ohio Environmental Council

Date Published: 

Thursday, June 22, 2017