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
2 re-route proposals for the Nexus pipeline