MEDINA, Ohio – With final approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in hand, construction on the controversial Nexus pipeline has begun with surveys, and clearing of brush and trees.
FERC issued its order on Oct. 11 and residents along the 255-mile proposed natural gas pipeline from Kensington, Ohio, to Ontario, Canada, have reported seeing surveyors along their pipeline path in recent days. Two surveyors were spotted along the pipeline path on Ohio 58 in Oberlin Friday.
Adam Parker, spokesman for Nexus, said construction began last week with surveyors marking the route, which will be followed by clearing the brush and trees. The pipe will be laid out and welded together, then the trench will be dug. The pipe will be laid and the trench backfilled. Parker did not speculate when the actual trench digging would begin, though such work usually is done in the spring.
Paul Gierosky, co-founder of the grassroots opposition group, Coalition to Reroute Nexus, said his group does not consider the approval final. They are still waiting for federal court judge John Adams to rule on their motion filed in May to stop FERC from issuing the permission.
“Yes, we know the permission has been given, but we still want the judge to rule,” he said. “We are preparing another motion asking for a stay to prevent NEXUS from being worked on.”
The lawsuit was filed May 12 against the Nexus Gas Transmission company and FERC and it asks the court to order FERC to overturn the final environmental impact statement submitted by Nexus last November for the route.
The suit, filed by more than 60 residents of Medina, Lorain and Summit counties, asked the court to prevent FERC from allowing construction of the pipeline to begin. Further, the suit asks the court to order Nexus to stay off homeowners’ properties and to cease attempting to negotiate with them.
Attorney David Mucklow of Akron, who represents 20 property owners on the proposed path, told them not to allow surveyors on their property without a court order.
He said a hearing that would allow Nexus to use eminent domain to enter properties where the landowners have not given permission is scheduled for November.
Residents in Medina, Lorain and Summit counties who have fought the $2 billion project for three years, said the fight will continue.
Residents have argued that the pipeline is not necessary and that it would disrupt the environment in Ohio and Michigan and harm the value of the private properties it crosses.