Pipeline Updates – Spring 2017

Catching up a bit, we’d like to offer some updated information on all three of the pipelines aimed at our NW Ohio area – Kinder Morgan Utopia, ET Rover and Nexus.  (for more updates on a daily or weekly basis please make sure you are following GPI on Facebook)

Kinder Morgan Utopia Pipeline Project

• The Utopia Pipeline Project is still progressing, albeit slowly. Kinder Morgan initially took the position that they automatically qualified for eminent domain. That was challenged and the pipeline was held up as a result of the Wood County Common Pleas Courts decision to not grant Kinder Morgan eminent domain.

• This pipeline’s original route impacted the Metropark’s Bend View property.

• They continue to work with landowners who are willing to sign easements and we understand Kinder Morgan is looking at a variety of re-routes.

NEXUS Pipeline Project (Spectra, Enbridge and DTE Energy)

• On November 30, 2016, FERC published the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the NEXUS Pipeline Project. The FEIS is one of last major hurdles prior to NEXUS receiving a FERC Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN).

Most of the findings in the FEIS were consistent with the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). The FEIS admits that there will be environmental damage related to construction and operation, but mitigation will be mandated. They concluded that there is no environmental advantage to moving the pipeline or the compressor station away from the Maumee River or the Oak Openings region.

• However, The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has been without a quorum since January. Trump named Cheryl LaFleur acting head of the energy regulatory board in January, and hours later the previous chairman, Norman Bay, announced he was leaving FERC. The five-member body currently has only two members and is short of a quorum.  Lack of a quorum prevents FERC from issuing further CPCN.

There is also a recent announcement by FERC Commissioner Colette Honorable said she will leave the board when her term expires in June.

• The White House has just tapped new commissioners. But, any new appointments will require Senate approval.

• A flurry of activity took place before Bay’s last day on Feb. 3, but several major natural gas pipeline projects, including Nexus, did not win last-minute approval before the quorum ended, and we see no such approval coming for right away. Yet, the company continues to say they will to achieve a targeted Q4 2017 in-service.

• Nexus partner DTE Energy had appealed to Michigan regulators to recover costs related to the pipeline by passing costs on to rate payers. Regulators denied the utility permission to recover power supply costs for the $2 billion project from its customers without an evidentiary hearing. This could impact the finances of the project negatively.

ET Rover Pipeline Project (Energy Transfer Partners)

• With a route to the south of Toledo, the ET Rover pipeline obtained a CPCN from FERC in February. This certification came in the last days of the FERC quorum. Tree clearing began in March along the route. Construction has started.

• Already there have been a number of incidents.  ET Rover Pipeline spilled millions of gallons of drilling fluids into Ohio’s wetlands. Construction of the $4.2 billion project only began last month and according to regulatory filings obtained by Sierra Club Ohio, on April 13, 2 million gallons of drilling fluids spilled into a wetland adjacent to the Tuscarawas River in Stark County. The next day, another 50,000 gallons of drilling fluids released into a wetland in Richland County in the Mifflin Township.

The spills occurred as part of drilling operations associated with the pipeline’s installation – drilling happens under roadways, waterways and wetlands. The 713-mile pipeline crosses three major rivers – the Maumee, Sandusky and Portage, all of which feed into Lake Erie.

This situation is something we argued to FERC and EPA regarding the Nexus pipeline proposal and the potential damage of wetlands in the Oak Openings region. There are a number of contaminants that could pollute wetlands, streams and rivers during construction or later during operation. These include drilling fluids, cleaning chemicals, hydraulic fluid or gasoline.

More on these spills and the extent of the damage in another post…

Kinder Morgan Utopia Pipeline Challenged

We’ve questioned whether Kinder Morgan should qualify for eminent domain rights for its planned Utopia pipeline. This issue has been now been brought to court and a Wood County Common Pleas judge ruled today that the company behind the Utopia East pipeline project does not have eminent domain rights, throwing a potentially expensive roadblock into the project’s path.

Toledo Blade report

“It’s probably the most important eminent domain case in the United States right now,”

Judge Robert Pollex ruled that Kinder Morgan’s plan to pipe ethane from the Utica shale region in eastern Ohio to a chemical company in Windsor, Ont., is not necessary and not for a public use, and thus the company cannot use eminent domain to force Wood County landowners to give easements on their property.

He ruled that Kinder Morgan’s proposed project is not necessary or for public use, and does not qualify as a common carrier, because only the Canadian company would directly benefit. He also expressed incredulity that state law allows private companies to essentially grant themselves eminent domain rights.

FERC Issues Final Environmental Impact Statement for Nexus Pipeline

Yesterday FERC issued the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Nexus pipeline proposal.

It seems that Nexus will not be forced to make any major re-routes and re-route proposals were disregarded, ignored or decided against, even though they represented clear benefits to local residents and protected land and water resources.

The EIS is a major milestone for the project and suggests construction will begin as planned in early 2017.   According to the Toledo Blade FERC concluded the pipeline and its associated projects will “result in some adverse environmental impacts.” But the regulatory commission, which oversees interstate pipeline projects, said those impacts will “be reduced to acceptable levels with the implementation of NEXUS’s and Texas Eastern’s proposed mitigation measures and the additional measures recommended by staff in the final EIS.”

FERC said the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency assisted with the document. Each will present their own their own conclusions and recommendations, but FERC has jurisdiction over the project.

The current Nexus route represents approximately 200 acres of the Oak Openings region where clear cutting of trees and trenching activities will disturb globally rare habitat.

Click here to download the EIS

 

 

August 10 FERC Comment Meeting Swanton OH

This is our last chance to voice our opposition to the Nexus pipeline and compressor station.

FERC will be holding a series of meetings throughout Ohio and Michigan – Swanton OH will host the first one.  Toledo Blade Article  Please come, even if you don’t plan to speak – join us in opposing this unnecessary and dangerous project.

FERC is primarily focused on environmental concerns… that means Air Quality/ Air pollution, Water Quality, Wetlands, Drainage, Flooding, Drinking wells, any issues related to de-watering, Native Plants/Animals, Endangered Species, damage to the Oak Openings Region.

*FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) has the final say.  They alone have the power to deny or approve the Nexus project

Please tell all your neighbors along the route and invite them to come: Waterville, Whitehouse, Neapolis, Swanton, Metamora.

FERC Comment meeting August 10 at Swanton High School 5pm Please come and show your opposition to the Nexus pipeline and compressor station

FERC Comment meeting August 10 at Swanton High School 5pm Please come and show your opposition to the Nexus pipeline and compressor station

 

 

5K Walk/Run/Bike “Move Against The Route” and Say No to Nexus

Grab you family, friends and neighbors and join us on August 7th to show your opposition and raise awareness about the proposed Nexus pipeline and compressor station.

12:00 to 5:00 p.m.

Get information about the upcoming FERC public hearing on August 10.  View recent route maps. Pick up extra yard signs. Get a very cool t-shirt!  Enjoy FREE food and entertainment all day long.   You can also “Move Against The Route” – walk, run or bike a 5k loop that goes by the proposed site of the Waterville Compressor station.

REGISTER

Community Event in Waterville to show our opposition to the proposed Nexus pipeline and compressor station

Community Event in Waterville to show our opposition to the proposed Nexus pipeline and compressor station

Nexus Pipeline: FERC Releases Draft and Schedules Hearings for August

NEXUS PIPELINE UPDATE:  FERC has issued the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS).   READ THE DEIS

We will have a short window of time to review it and reply to FERC with any comments. Comments will be accepted through August 29

This is the FINAL comment period for the Nexus pipeline proposal.  FERC has scheduled public hearings as well.  SAVE THE DATE – August 10 is the meeting for the NW Ohio area – Swanton, Whitehouse, Waterville, Neapolis, Metamora.  Location:  Swanton High School. You may arrive at any time after 5:00 PM and FERC will stop taking comments at 10:00 PM.

Our primary goal is to fill the room to capacity and to get effective comments on the draft Environmental Impact Statement documented in the public record. Your presence matters.

Please share this with your neighbors.  Even if you don’t wish to speak, please plan to come and support your community in saying NO to this destructive project.

Here are the dates and locations:Below is the schedule for FERC’s upcoming public comment hearings:

August 10, 2016
Swanton High School
604 North Main Street
Swanton, OH 43558
(419) 826-3045

August 11, 2016
Tecumseh Center for the Arts
400 North Maumee Street
Tecumseh, MI 49286
(517) 423-6617

August 15, 2016
Quality Inn, Fremont
3422 Port Clinton Road
Fremont, OH 43420
(419) 332-0601

August 16, 2016
Elyria High School Performing Arts Center
601 Middle Avenue
Elyria, OH 44035
(440) 284-5209

August 17, 2016
Wadsworth High School – James A. Mcilvaine Performing Arts Center
625 Broad Street
Wadsworth, OH 44281
(330) 335-1369

August 18, 2016
Green High School
1474 Boettler Road
Uniontown, OH 44685
(330) 896-7575

No Pipelines and No Toxic Emissions – Get Your Yard Signs!

Get in touch and we’ll arrange for you to get yard signs!

yard sign 2 OOR    aw residents yard sign no nexus crop

Let us know how many you need… if we are out, we’ll get more!
At least one more theme coming soon.

These cost us $5 each… so we love donations!  Thanks.

 

 

Pipelines through the Oak Openings region – no thanks.

cbeyl-Cartoon-for-pipeline-protest

 

Thank you to cartoonist/illustrator Charles Beyl for this wonderful cartoon!  We oppose oil or gas pipelines trenching through the globally rare habitats of the Oak Openings region or under the Maumee River – NO Nexus pipeline and no Kinder Morgan Utopia.   Find out more

Nexus Pipeline Re-route Proposals

We’ll preface this post by saying:  We don’t want pipelines anywhere near homes or towns or in the Oak Openings region or under the Maumee River.

No one does.

But, if we can’t manage to stop pipelines, we want to see them put where they would have the LEAST possible impact to both the environment and local residents.

Our efforts to re-route the Nexus Gas Transmission pipeline is an example of this.

Looking at the first Nexus maps we saw their planned route was unnecessarily close to towns, subdivisions, schools, nursing homes and parks.  At that time, Nexus pipeline was to be 42” diameter (now reduced to 36″).  The blast zone was approximately 1400 feet on either side of the pipe.

In Lucas and Fulton counties, the Nexus route would mean trenching through approximately 180 acres of the globally rare Oak Openings region and numerous wetlands.

So, we worked with the Coalition to Re-route Nexus, CORN (Medina County, OH) to propose a viable alternative route that was safer, with less environmental impact.

The Western Re-Route was created by Swancreek Township Trustee Rick Kazmierczak with Walter Lange and Deborah Swingholm – all Founding Members of Green Pipeline Initiative.  The reroute was submitted to FERC on April 28, 2015.

The proposed Western Re-route would stay south of the Maumee River moving west parallel to St. Rt. 6, crossing the Maumee River and turning north near St Rte. 109.  The Western Re-route continues north along the Detroit Toledo and Ironton Railroad.  The southern portion of the railroad is seldom used and the northern portion is only used occasionally by Northstar Bluescope Steel.  The re-route avoids Evergreen schools and the village of Metamora.

The Western Re-Route Benefits

The Western Re-route was carefully considered using local knowledge of the area – residential concerns, soil, water table, drainage and unique ecological issues.  The re-route accomplishes a number of important objectives:

  • Impacts fewer homes and structures (64% fewer in Fulton County)
  • Impacts fewer wetlands and water bodies
  • Avoids the historic Moseley area of the Oak Openings Region, including the Maumee State Forest.
  • Reduces impact to the Oak Openings sand aquifer and more than 536 shallow drinking wells (less than 25 feet deep) in Fulton County OH.  Reduces the chance for these wells to be de-watered or contaminated during construction.
  • Reduces the potential for water pollution or wetland contamination during construction
  • Locates Nexus in soils that will be dryer and more stable for construction, reducing the need for large-scale dewatering due to the extremely high water table.   This means less impact to the aquifer and it reduces potential drainage issues.
  • Locates the pipeline and compressor station further away from the Bowling Green water treatment plant, the town of Whitehouse and the city of Waterville.
  • Follows or parallels existing ROW as much as possible.

*We provided FERC a map for the Fulton County segment; CORN was to map the segment in Wood and Henry County.  This was not completed and we are working to finish mapping that segment.  Without this, Nexus drew their version of the re-route through the Oak Openings region – clearly the opposite of our intention.  We have addressed this with FERC – January, 2016.

Oak Openings Avoidance Re-route

In response to requests from conservation groups such as the Nature Conservancy and comments by many concerned residents, in November 2015, Nexus proposed something called the “Oak Openings Avoidance Re-route”.  This route also accomplishes the above objectives.        Nexus even suggested in May, 2015 they would route the pipeline around the Oak Openings region – article Toledo Blade

However, in the same set of documents Nexus immediately gave a list of reasons why they would not be pursuing it.  They dismissed the Western Re-route as well.   *Nexus Resource Report June, 2015 *Filing Report November, 2015

Essentially the Nexus argument against both reroutes boils down to this:  too costly, too long, wouldn’t make much of a difference anyway.  They state MORE impacts, instead of less.  We disagree.

What Nexus did NOT offer:  a detailed map of their versions of the re-routes, the specific parcels studied, soil sampling data or anything else.  We have requested this information through FERC but have received nothing in response.  We want to do our own independent analysis of their data.

We firmly believe that IF the Nexus pipeline is approved for construction, these re-routes must be incorporated.  The re-routes are viable and constructible.  Populated areas should be avoided, the Oak Openings region should be avoided, wetlands and the Oak Openings aquifer should be avoided.

Please – continue to send your comments to FERC

 

Nexus pipeline reroute map Oak Openings Western sm

2 re-route proposals for the Nexus pipeline