Infrastructure is the stuff that underpins the world, such as roads, bridges, water and sewer lines and other utility lines.
It's the stuff of life in the United States and other industrialized nations, and to survive and thrive requires infrastructure capable of serving the needs of citizens and businesses alike.
In terms of business infrastructure, the oil and gas industry is booming in the region, but it needs to get what it takes out of the ground to market. And to do that, pipelines from the fields to processing plants and from processing plants to other users are needed. To fill that need, longtime pipeline operator Spectra Energy is proposing a 70-mile pipeline from Columbiana County through Carroll, Jefferson, Belmont and Monroe counties. It would leave open the ability to extend through Mahoning and into Trumbull counties.
The line is an expansion of the Texas Eastern system, which Spectra said has been operating in Ohio since 1947, and would provide a link from the region's fertile energy production fields to markets in the Midwest, Southeast and Gulf Coast.
Spectra is in a voluntary pre-application process, holding public meetings and seeking public input on its plans for the pipeline, called the Ohio Pipeline Energy Network.
The pipe would also need a compressor station in Jefferson County. Spectra has a few sites under consideration but the final choices are yet to be made. The route of the line also is still being tweaked as engineers research the topography of the area.
For now, it's enough for residents there to realize that the proposal exists, that the company is open about discussing the project and is taking input and comment. For residents here, there's anticipation that so much energy will be produced that the line will eventually be extended, and that the Mahoning Valley would one day attract petro-chemical companies and other industries that use the resources being found in abundance here.
Information about the project is available for review on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission website, FERC.org. Look for docket number PF13-15-000.
The proposed pipeline would be a route for gas to get to market.
Spectra is not in the fracking business but the pipeline business.
The pipeline business is a necessary part of the equation as the area makes a transition to an energy-based economy for the foreseeable future.
The resources are not going to go away, and the need to transport them will be there so long as the gas and oil are able to be taken out of the ground.
Public input is being sought, and we encourage anyone with interest in the project to review the public documents that are available.