(02/04/2016)
Pipeline builder seeking tax breaks; counties could benefit too

By Andrew Brown, Business Reporter for the Gazette-Mail

As Columbia Pipeline Group continues to plan for the proposed Mountaineer Xpress Pipeline, the company is eyeing possible tax deals for at least two of the gas compressor stations that would be built as part of that $2 billion project.

The Charleston-based pipeline company has approached county leaders in Doddridge, Calhoun and Jackson counties proposing agreements known as PILOTs or payment in lieu of taxes, which would allow Columbia Pipeline to make annual payments in place of the normal property taxes that would be owed.

No deals have been struck yet, but conversations with county commissioners suggest that the agreements, as discussed, would allow Columbia Pipeline to pay several hundred thousand dollars less annually than it otherwise would over the next 10 to 30 years.

Scott Castleman, a spokesperson for Columbia Pipeline, could not confirm the details of the suggested tax deals because nothing has been finalized, but he said the company has continued to negotiate with the Jackson and Calhoun county commissions.

"It isn't uncommon for companies investing in natural gas facilities, wind farms, solar farms and other large scale energy infrastructure projects to seek incentives," Castleman wrote in an email response. "Columbia Pipeline Group works with the appropriate officials at the local level to come up with a proposal that is acceptable to both the company and local government."

The deals would reduce the amount of money the counties collect from the multi-million compressor stations, which will help ship gas south to Cabell County and on to the Gulf States, but they could end up benefiting the county governments and local schools too ...

Read more Pipeline builder seeking tax breaks; counties could benefit too By Andrew Brown, Business Reporter for the Gazette-Mail


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