Pipeline rerouting bid gains traction

By Melissa Burnor
Efforts to reroute the proposed NEXUS natural gas pipeline has gained some momentum in Ohio and activists are seeing some results of their work.
CORN or the Coalition to Reroute Nexus has been suggesting alternatives throughout the Ohio portion of the proposed 250 mile, 42-inch project that may also come through Michigan in Lenawee County, then through Washtenaw County before hooking into existing the DTE Energy natural gas transmission system.
While CORN has garnered support by way of resolutions from several Ohio counties, townships and villages including Lucas County and Amboy Township just across the border from Ogden Township, they have yet to make a presence in Michigan.
DTE and Spectra Energy filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in December last year so that they can investigate a route from Kensington, Ohio, to the Detroit area with potential to transport natural gas into Canada.
Opposition to the pipeline stems from concerns over placement near residential areas and natural areas such as Oak Openings, an area in northwest Ohio covering about 130 square miles. According to the Natural Conservancy, its combination of wet prairie and oak savannah created by sand and clay deposits from Lake Warren makes it one of the most rare habitats in the United States.
CORN member Paul Wohlfarth said the group is looking at alternatives to routing the pipeline through the area.
Already CORN has made an impact in eastern Ohio, he said.
In Medina County, a suggestion was made to reroute the pipeline away heavily populated areas.
A letter from Green, Ohio, dated March 29 from Paul Gierosky stated concerns about the impact to heavily populated areas in Medina County, Ohio.
A suggestion from the City of Green, Ohio, has FERC’s attention as well as that of NEXUS. The City of Green has suggested an alternative route for a portion of the mainline around heavily populated areas. Green officials call the NEXUS plan hastily drawn and said it had little concern for the community. The reroute they propose is claimed to have less environmental impact and less social impact. According to Berk Donaldson, general manager, NEXUS Gas Transmission, LLC, in a letter to FERC dated April 3 of this year, the company is evaluating this suggested alternatives. FERC has also directed the company to look into the merits of the proposed reroute. The city has proposed moving approximately 103 miles of the pipeline away from the Canton/Akron area. Green is in the center of that area.
There is a meeting tonight, Tuesday, April 7, at the Swanton American Legion Hall where Dale Arnold, Ohio, Farm Bureau director of energy, will give a presentation offering background information on the proposed Nexus, ET Rover and Utopia East pipelines.
The Utopia Pipeline is a proposed project of Kinder Morgan Cochin company. This is a proposed 12-inch line from Harrison County, Ohio, to Fulton County, Ohio, and into Riga Township before moving eastward to Canada. This meeting was to give more balanced information including information on the need and benefit of the pipelines.
According to a September 2014 press release from Kinder Morgan Cochin, the company has an existing pipeline near Riga. The pipeline would transport previously refined or fractionated natural gas liquids including ethane and ethane-propane mixtures. According to the company, officials expect to begin surveying in May.
Ogden Township Supervisor Richard Marks said the township has not received any new information from either Nexus or any other opposition group since the Ogden board had a special meeting March 3.
“We are in a wait-and-see mode,” he said and doesn’t anticipate any discussion at the April meeting.
“Until there is something more concrete to bring forward there is nothing to do,” he said.
Wohlfarth, whose son lives in the Oak Openings area, said he thinks the pipeline coming through is more of a concern for the homeowners than the farmers because of the proximity to their dwellings.
Wohlfarth said CORN plans on keeping up with the issue.
“We are not going to roll over,” he said. “We will see it to the end.”
(Editors note: The Advance would like to hear from anyone who is in favor of the proposed pipeline. You can reach Burnor at news@blissfieldadvance.com or 517-486-2400)