Public tells FERC what it thinks of NEXUS pipeline route

By Eric Poston
Repository correspondent

August 19. 2016 11:24AM

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GREEN  Property owners, businesses and community leaders had the opportunity Thursday night to tell the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) they want the 36-inch-diamenter NEXUS Gas Transmission Pipeline re-routed.

A public meeting at Green High School allowed for comments to be recorded by FERC representatives to help them determine the finalized route. The meeting comes in light of FERC filing a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) on the NEXUS project, which was released in early July.

Prior to the meeting, Adam Parker, spokesman for NEXUS Gas Transmission released the following statement: “On July 8, 2016 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a DEIS as a part of its formal environmental review of the NEXUS Gas Transmission Project. FERC’s DEIS found the potential environmental impacts of NEXUS’ proposed route acceptable and requested an analysis of minor route modifications in the city of Green, Ohio. FERC also notified landowners along the city of Green alternative and requested further information and public comments regarding both routes. Overall, the DEIS is favorable for the project and NEXUS agrees with FERC that there are no significant impacts if normal mitigation measures are adopted. NEXUS anticipates the Final Environmental Impact Statement by Nov. 30, 2016 and the FERC Certificate in the first quarter of 2017. NEXUS remains on target to place the project in service by November 2017.”

The goal of the pipeline by Spectra Energy and DTE Energy would transmit 1.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day to markets in Ohio, Michigan and Canada.

Green GISP, GIS Administrator Chrissy Lingenfelter said she hopes FERC will take into consideration the alternative route through southern Stark and Wayne counties. She said this route will have fewer environmental, social and economic impacts.

Green resident Ted Dudra is one of many residents who are in the blast zone of the pipeline and he estimates he is only 100 yards away from the pipeline.

“I am not fond of it (the pipeline) because the safety factor is very low,” Dudra said. “The city of Green has a good plan to move it south.” Dudra is also concerned about possible explosions and the placement of the pipeline and the Portage Lakes Career Center. Attorney David Mucklow has been fighting the pipeline since the project was first announced and has led up the Coalition to Reroute NEXUS group. He said he has had hundreds of property owners on the route come to him asking what they can do and how they can fight it.

“We believe what we are doing may produce results,” Mucklow said. “People absolutely don’t want this in this community.”

Mucklow said the pipeline is all for private gain and said the majority of the natural gas will be shipped to Canada and then sold overseas. He also stressed the environmental and economic impacts the pipeline will have.

Mucklow encourages people to submit comments and if the pipeline is approved there are still steps property owners can take. He encouraged property owners not to take easements because he feels property owners are being taken advantage of.

Green Mayor Gerard Neugebauer also made a comment during the public meeting.

“We need our federal government to stand up for its citizens,” Neugebauer said. “We need them to force Spectra to analyze the Green southern route with due diligence.”

Neugebauer is concerned about the economic and quality of life impacts the pipeline would bring to the city.

Jimmy Stewart, president of the Ohio Gas Association, said he fully supports the pipeline project. He said he liked the layout of the FERC meeting because it allowed people to give comments in private rather than in a public setting.

“Not everyone is a public speaker,” Stewart said. “Everyone is well aware of what their neighbors think.” Stewart approves of the NEXUS route and doesn’t like the re-route, which has been proposed. “It’s very nice they volunteered some other people’s land without asking,” Stewart said.

Stewart feels the pipeline is the most energy efficient way to move natural gas.

“Every one of us walks and drives over pipelines every day,” Stewart said. “It is nothing new.”

Washington Township resident John Destefano is also in the blast zone in Stark County. He went to court along with several of his neighbors to fight survey crews from coming onto this property, but was denied. He also proposed an alternative route away from his property, but that was also denied.

“If we look at 20 years down the line, how much is it going to take from our property values,” Stewart said.

Green Councilman Ken Knodel said the pipeline would have impacts on the city, especially when it comes to income tax and future growth. “It is very important we continue to grow our income tax and this particular project hampers that,” Knodel said.

The city had a study done earlier this year by Cleveland State University, which revealed the city would lose $52 million over a 50-year period if the pipeline were to be built on the current route.  Much of the lost money would be because of income tax not being collected on potential business growth where the pipeline will be located.

Comments can still be made until Aug. 29 by mail or online. The project’s FERC docket number is CP16-22-000. FERC plans to release the final route of the pipeline in November.