City to feds: Let our NEXUS opposition be heard

By Valerie Urbanik -

A long line of dissenters has formed to make the case against the NEXUS gas line as plans for its construction are weighed by the federal government.

Among them are Oberlin law director Jon Clark and interim city manager Sal Talarico, who filed a “motion to intervene” Dec. 28 with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, seeking to be heard.

Communities for Safe and Sustainable Energy has also filed to make comments in the review.

FERC allows anyone desiring to protest in its proceedings to file. The deadline was Dec. 28: “Intervenors become participants in a proceeding and have the right to request rehearing of commission orders and seek relief of final agency actions in the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal.”

CSSE has requested all communications, pleadings, and orders with respect to the proceedings be sent to members John Elder and David Ashenhurst.

Oberlin filed to intervene in opposition to the NEXUS gas transmission pipeline. If the commission does not reject the project altogether, city officials want FERC to adopt a proposal by the city of Green to force the gas company to build along a different course that would take the line outside the city limits.

That route would move the NEXUS pathway closer to the village of Wellington, adding roughly 10 miles to the route.

Spectra Energy, the company seeking permission to build the 256-mile pipeline, has shown no interest in the alternative route, saying it does not meet the project’s target needs or markets.

It filed a Nov. 20 proposal with FERC to review its 36-inch diamater pipeline from Ohio to Michigan and the construction of four compressor stations.

The gas company wants government approval to build by November 2016.

Oberlin city council voted this fall to do everything in its power to stop Spectra from getting that approval.

“The proposed NEXUS project will directly and adversely impact the city,” Oberlin’s intervention filing stated.

The city argues the gas line route will cross three parcels of land within city limits, pass through several wetlands, a land conservancy, and a municipally-owned parcel, grazing the edge of Reserve Avenue where there are 75 dwellings.

Oberlin’s document says the pipeline will pass within 95 feet of the homes on Reserve Avenue, roughly 1,100 feet from the Lorain County Metro Parks Splash Zone, nearly 1,800 feet from Oberlin’s fire station, 4,200 feet from the Lorain County JVS, and 2,000 feet from Welcome Nursing Home.

“In addition to putting city residents at risk the NEXUS project will damage naturaly resources in and around the city,” Oberlin’s filing stated.

CSSE was the group that drafted the Oberlin’s Community Bill of Rights, which voters adopted in November 2013 to ban hydraulic fracturing and associated activities. It also prohibits all oil and gas extractions, transporation, and storage in Oberlin or within a 20-mile radius of the city limits.

The city’s filing states officials will briefly summarize its objections to the project, followed by a more detailed set of comments that will be filed within the next six to eight weeks.

Oberlin and CSSE are not the only groups opposing NEXUS. Green and many other cities lying in its path have publicly taken sides against Spectra’s plans.

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

By Valerie Urbanik