Deal to Re-Route Lake Leon Pipeline in the Works

After nearly a year, the controversial pipeline proposal in Eastland County may be laid to rest.

Several area water districts in Eastland and Ranger have banded together recently to come up with just over $156,000 to purchase the part of the line running under Lake Leon from Hanlon Gas Processing, according to the company's attorney, James Freeman.

As part of the deal, Hanlon has essentially agreed to go around the lake, Freeman said, and the funds from the water district will go toward defraying the cost of re-routing the pipeline.

Now, attorneys from both sides are working on a settlement agreement to cement the deal, which Freeman said could be complete as early as the end of next week.

"Keeping our fingers crossed, we hope we've reached that agreement. Hanlon has been open to that idea and we've been working toward that common purpose for quite a while now," said Ron Holliday, City Manager of Eastland.

This all comes after several court hearings late last year, when concerned residents and city leaders packed the Eastland Co. courtroom and voiced their concerns about the safety of using the 93-year-old line to pump natural gas.

At that time, a judge granted a temporary restraining order that prohibited Hanlon from doing any further work on the line -- and both sides seemed destined for a court battle in March.

But now there's a deal that makes it all seem like water under the bridge.  

"That's the successful end, I guess, to a negotiation -- when everybody can walk away with their interests satisfied," Holliday said.

There were also four cases at play during the ordeal -- two lawsuits and two appeals.

As part of the settlement, both parties would work to get a judge to dismiss those cases.

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