John K. Manna
New Castle News
NEW CASTLE —
Essroc Cement Corp. is attempting to prevent a company from running a gas pipeline through its property in Lawrence County.
The company, which ceased operations at its Bessemer plant in 2009, filed a lawsuit this week in U.S. District Court against NiSource Corporate Services Co. of Columbus, Ohio, and two other firms.
In the suit, Essroc said the natural gas pipeline would prevent it from extracting coal and limestone from its property and impede its ability to sell the property.
The suit also names Hilcorp Energy Corp. of Houston and Pennant Midstream of Columbus.
Last year, NiSource and Hilcorp announced a joint venture to construct a 50-mile, 20-inch pipeline in northeast Ohio and western Pennsylvania to remove gas from Utica shale and deliver it to a processing plant in Ohio.
Essroc, which is based in Nazareth, Pa., owns approximately 1,700 acres in Bessemer and in North Beaver Township in the vicinity of the plant.
The suit says NiSource has filed rights of way agreements with owners of six parcels where Essroc owns subsurface rights. It added the companies either knew or are charged with knowledge of Essroc’s exclusive subsurface rights when they entered into the rights-of-way agreements with the owners of the surface parcels.
The company says in its suit that the pipeline, at a depth of 20 feet or more below the surface, would create “a permanent trespass and encroachment” upon Essroc’s subsurface property to which Essroc has exclusive rights.
When it closed the Bessemer plan, Essroc cited a poor economy and a declining demand for cement products as the reasons. The closing impacted 113 employees.