Niles family battles oil pipeline companyPublished 5:35pm Wednesday, April 17, 2013
A Niles family says it’s between “a rock and a hard place” dealing with a Canadian oil company planning to install a pipeline 10 feet from their home.
Enbridge has offered to pay Kym and Shawn Reese just more than $6,800 to place the pipeline along the south edge of their 3-acre lot at 2115 S. 3rd St. in Niles Township.
A portion of the pipeline, which will carry crude oil and liquid petroleum, will be located 10 feet from the Reese home.
The Reeses are worried about the pipeline for several reasons, including that it could be unsafe for their four children and cause the value of their home to plummet.
“Even if they pay us good we are still screwed because this house will never sell, or if it does, it will be sold cheap,” Shawn said.
“No one will want this house,” Kym said. “We’ve invested so much into it already — we are stuck.”
Complicating matters for the Reese family is the fact they operate a used car business — Reese Auto Sales — from their property. The family’s entire income comes from the business.
During construction — which is expected to take from two to four months — the Reeses will have access to only half of their used car lot, possibly causing the family to reduce its used-car inventory. Shawn said the other half of the lot would be used as a place for Enbridge to store its equipment and machines during construction.
“Based on what they are offering us ($6,846.86), we would lose around $10,000 a month,” Kym said.
Jason Manshum, of Enbridge community relations, said compensation to all landowners for rights-of-way is based on the same factors, including fair market value of the land, loss of use, damage to land and disturbance and inconvenience.
“Our goal is to work with landowners to find an amicable agreement,” Manshum said. “We are continuing to work with the Reese family.”
The pipeline that will run through the Reese family’s yard is part of a 210-mile pipeline replacement project stretching from Griffith, Ind., to Marysville, Mich. Construction is expected to begin later this spring.
The Enbridge pipeline doesn’t currently run through the Reese property as it is located on a property immediately to the south. The replacement pipe is being moved north onto a portion of the Reese property.
“To expect a family to live with that is absurd. I would’ve never thought we would be asked to have a line that close to my house,” Kym said. “It makes me sick.”
The Reese family said it received a final offer from Enbridge Monday for just over $6,800. If they don’t eventually accept an offer, their property could be condemned.
Manshum said it rarely comes to that.
“It is the last possible option,” he said. “We will try every possible way to come to an agreement.”
Kym said she is unsure of what to do next.
“I feel like the only thing we can do is to get an attorney, and we don’t’ have the funds to do that, but it looks like we will have to,” she said.