Sierra Club files opposition to NEXUS project

Staff Report

The Sierra Club has entered the battle over the NEXUS pipeline planned to pass through Oberlin, carrying fracked gas from Ohio to Canada.

Appalachian Mountain Advocates, a nonprofit law and policy center, filed a request on the Sierra Club’s behalf, calling for a new examination into whether the NEXUS pipeline is necessary.

It asks for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to reconsider whether the project is actually needed to meet regional energy needs.

FERC decided Aug. 25 that the NEXUS line is necessary, but the Sierra Club argues it’s “duplicative of other existing and proposed energy sources, meaning there is little need for it, and it will have higher transport costs than those alternative sources.”

The environmental advocacy groups contend NEXUS has “manufactured demand for the pipeline by steering its affiliate utilities companies, DTE Electric and DTE Gas, to agree to buy gas from NEXUS at above-market rates and then pass those excess costs onto their captive ratepayers.”

DTE Energy is a 50 percent shareholder of NEXUS and parent of DTE Electric and DTE Gas. A recent report by Oil Change International and the Sierra Club outlines how companies engage in self-dealing on pipelines.

The filing also argues FERC didn’t do enough to evaluate the environmental and health effects of greenhouse gases that would be produced by burning gas transmitted along the NEXUS route.

The Sierra Club also plans to ask for a stay while FERC reconsiders the gas line permit, saying its “members will suffer irreparable injury to their aesthetic and recreational interests in the parks, rivers, and wetlands that they use and enjoy.”

“Fracked gas pipelines like NEXUS are dirty, dangerous relics of the last century’s energy mix. FERC must conduct a thorough examination of NEXUS so they can see what Ohioans, Michiganders, and millions of Americans already do; the NEXUS pipeline is unhealthy and unnecessary for its customers and a big-time boondoggle for its owners,” said Sierra Club organizing representative Cheryl Johncox.

The proposed NEXUS line has angered many Oberlin residents in recent years. As planned, it will pass through the southern end of the city near Reserve Circle.

Voters here passed an Oberlin Bill of Rights in November 2013, banning the transmission of fracked gas through the city or operations of any sort linked to fracking.

City council voted earlier this year to join a lawsuit against the companies involved in the NEXUS project. Lawyers for the cities in its 255-mile path say the proposed gas line presents several legal and constitutional problems.

Staff Report