Genesee County residents angered by pipeline

The Flint Journal

Flint, Mich. – — Genesee County residents continue to push back against a new natural gas pipeline company that’s surveying local properties, with two incidents this week that led to police involvement.

ET Rover Pipeline LLC might need to seek a court order to survey land since many people are refusing to allow crews on their property, the Flint Journal reported. Although Mike and Jennifer Austin of Mundy Township acknowledge they have received several mailings about the survey work, they said they won’t allow crews to look at their land without the legal document.

“It’s not about it being on my property,” Mike Austin said. “I don’t want it in my neighbor’s property either.”

Survey crews have made several attempts to access property owned by the Austins since they first heard of the proposal about a month ago. Jennifer Austin said she is nervous about the idea of the pipeline running though her 10-and-a-half acre piece of land.

Tammy Merkel, an Atlas Township resident, called the county sheriff’s department Monday when she said a survey crew came onto her property without permission. She said she has become increasingly frustrated because the ET Rover pipeline would complicate plans to build a home on the vacant lot she and her husband recently purchased.

“ET Rover doesn’t seem to be listening to me in the fact that I’m going to have a house on that property in less than six months,” Merkel said.

Survey crews called police Monday after they were confronted by a Mundy Township man with a shotgun who was upset they were on his neighbor’s land without her permission. The police report could be forwarded to the Genesee County Prosecutor’s Office after it’s reviewed by the township’s attorney, according to Mundy Township Police Sgt. Tom Hosie.

Mundy is one of two townships in the county that have voted to oppose the pipeline.

“We do have, under Michigan Compiled Law, the right to enter, knock on the door and, if the landowner isn’t home and we’re following specs, we do have the right to enter,” ET Rover spokeswoman Vicki Granado said. “Again, if the landowner tells us that they don’t want us surveying (we won’t survey).”

The $4.3 billion pipeline project was originally planned to go through Oakland County but has since shifted to Genesee County. It’s expected to begin in West Virginia and snake through Ohio and Michigan before ending in Ontario.