NEXUS route mutates as FERC approval nears

A map of the three proposed routes for the NEXUS gas transmission pipeline. The black line is NEXUS’ proposed route, the green line is CORN’s alternative route, and the purple line is NEXUS’ southern althernative route.

One hundred and twenty-nine changes have been made to the proposed 250-mile NEXUS gas transmission pipeline’s path since January.

Despite the constant tweaking, the natural gas channel is still expected to pass through Pittsfield Township and Oberlin’s southern border.

The 36-inch proposed line is expected to carry 1.5 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas to lines servicing Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, and Canada.

Spectra Energy pre-filed a draft report with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission this month that addresses the use of land, water, wildlife, and soil as well as hiring practices and two alternate routes.

Spokesman Arthur Diestel said Spectra filed the report to allow the public and stakeholders to weigh in on the proposed route.

“FERC wants to work with communities and the companies to put together a win-win route for everyone,” he said. “The final route for the NEXUS project has not been determined.”

The report stated NEXUS’ route will cross 30 active railroads and four abandoned railroads, two in Lorain County — the Conrail and Norfolk & Western railroads.

The project is expected to stretch 21 miles through the county crossing two Christmas tree farms, 23 public roadways, and construction will be within 50 feet of 17 residential properties.

Diestel said the 129 changes made were to avoid environmental constraints and based on stakeholder concerns.

“The proposed route was selected to serve the growing gas needs in Northern Ohio,” he said.

The report said the main market areas in Ohio are located near Lake Erie or to the south in Medina, Lorain, Erie, and Lucas counties.

Spectra is evaluating its own southern alternative route and a route proposed by the city of Green and members of the Coalition to Reroute NEXUS.

Both alternative routes move the line through open, agricultural, and forested lands.

The gas company’s southern route moves the pipeline out of Lorain County and adds 2.7 miles to its length.

Green’s route moves the gas line away from Oberlin’s southern border and passes close to the village of Wellington. It would add 9.9 miles to the route.

Diestel said neither alternative route meets the project’s target needs for hitting target markets.

Spectra’s proposed route is expected to bring added tax revenues and construction and operation jobs, according to the socioeconomic portion of the report.

The pipeline is expected to generate $2.1 billion in property taxes over its 60 year lifespan, the company claims.

“Thirty-six (full-time) workers will be employed for operation and maintenance by the project,” the report states. “All of these workers will be employed in Ohio.”

Roughly 22 of the 36 people will be local workers and the project is expected to hire 2,316 construction workers with 1,560 in Ohio.

Diestel said Spectra will file its final application with FERC in late 2015 with its proposed route and begin construction in 2017.

Once underway, each section of the pipeline is expected to be completed within four to eight weeks.

Valerie Urbanik can be reached at 440-775-1611 or on Twitter @ValUrbanik.