Category Archives: Oak Openings Region

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

 

 

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

What is the Oak Openings Region and Why Should Pipelines Avoid this Area?

The globally rare Oak Openings region is a sandy strip of land located in Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan.  At first glance it doesn’t seem like a grand or magnificent landscape.

However…

The Oak Openings is designated by the Nature Conservancy as “One of America’s Last Great Places”, putting the region on par with the Florida Everglades and rain forests of the Northwest. The sensitive habitats here contain one-third of Ohio’s endangered plant species and are home to a host of rare animals.

The Toledo Area Metroparks, the Nature Conservancy, and the “Wild Ones” are just some of the groups working to preserve and restore the Oak Openings.

Of note are glacial sand dunes, wet prairie and some of the last remaining oak savanna habitats in the world.  Oak savanna is known for its aesthetic appeal, with dappled light, flowers and grasses nestled between towering oaks.  This habitat is particularly supportive to wildlife.

Many local residents have been part of initiatives to restore native plants and habitats such as prairie and oak savanna on their own private land.  Property owners in both Lucas and Fulton County have re-established native plants such as Wild Blue Lupine, Little Bluestem, Blazing Star, Milkweed and Blue-eyed grass.

This in turn supports native animals such as Eastern Bluebirds, Red-shouldered hawks, Red-tail hawks, Bald eagles, Red-bellied woodpeckers, wild turkey and whitetail deer.  Also the federally endangered Karner blue butterfly, the Eastern prairie fringed orchid and other Ohio listed animals such as the spotted turtle, Blanding’s turtle, lark sparrow and blue-spotted salamander.

Travelers from across the USA and around the world come here for migratory bird watching opportunities, photography and hiking. This represents millions of dollars to the Northwest Ohio economy.

lupine 5 on dunes

Construction and operation of oil/gas pipelines would be harmful to these sensitive habitats. What damage could pipeline construction mean?

This area has unique geology and hydrology.  Globally significant biological diversity is currently present in this area, but it is threatened by fragmentation, development, invasive plant species and changes in hydrology.  Even tiny changes to these specialized habitats can result in significant outcomes – negative and positive.

The Oak Openings region has a unique variety of specialized soils that support rare plant communities.  Trenching will disturb the soil layers.  Changes in water flow and soil compaction may damage wetlands and wet prairie by restricting water or allowing too much.

Native plant communities would be hard to replace or restore.  It can take years for individual plants to become established, and it can take decades for the matrix of relationships to become established. These plants cannot simply be “re-seeded” like grass.

Introduction of invasive species or water contamination and effects of de-watering are also concerns.

The currently filed (Spectra Energy) Nexus pipeline route would cut through the center of the Oak Openings – their route would disturb approximately 180 acres of the Oak Openings in Lucas and Fulton Counties (calculation is based on a 100 foot wide construction zone).  Kinder Morgan Utopia also plans to trench through the Oak Openings region in Fulton County.

We continue to argue for routes that avoid the historic portion of the Oak Openings region.

oak openings twilight meadow and deer

 

Map of historic Oak Openings Region

oak openings landcover map

Well Testing Recommendations Before Pipeline Construction – Fulton County Health Department

Fulton County Health Department is recommending well testing in advance of any pipeline construction on or near your property.   In comments made to FERC by the Fulton County Health Department (April, 2015) Commissioner Cupp outlined the issues related to dewatering and potential damage to water quality, the Oak Openings sand aquifer and drinking wells.

Dewatering would occur when pipeline companies need to pump large amounts of water out of a trench during construction.  Contamination of the aquifer is also a concern.  The concerns about drinking water and wells apply to any pipeline proposal for this area of Northwest Ohio, for example the Nexus Gas Transmission pipeline or Kinder Morgan Utopia.

Baseline testing will help if you need to prove you had a clean and productive well.

We will post later with labs and companies you can contact to do the testing.  We will also follow up regarding any grants or financial assistance for well testing.   Questions?  Contact us.

 

Recommendations for well testing before pipeline construction by Fulton County Board of Health

Recommendations for well testing before pipeline construction by Fulton County Board of Health

 

Pipelines in NW Ohio: FERC Has the Final Say

We know that ET Rover and Nexus are working hard to get their permits and certifications so they can proceed with construction.  BUT that day is not here yet!

Public comment and opposition can still sway the outcome.

In the case of the Nexus pipeline, for example, we are continuing to argue for a re-route that is safer and smarter – a reroute that affects fewer homes and families, avoids the aquifer (which feeds drinking wells) and avoids the globally rare Oak Openings region. Our re-route proposals would also move the compressor station further from Whitehouse/Waterville OH.

The projects are still under review.  Now is the time to send your objections, comments and environmental concerns to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission  CLICK here for more instructions on comments to FERC

We hear it all the time…  “what can I do?”  WRITE!  Will a pipeline damage forest on your property?  Are you aware of any native or endangered species near your property or on the pipeline route?  Do you live in the Oak Openings region?  Are you concerned about water quality or wetlands?  FERC is considering environmental impact – and they have the final say on these pipeline projects.  

*Note:  Kinder Morgan Utiopia is not under FERC jurisdiction.

No Nexus Pipeline – No Kinder Morgan Pipeline in the Oak Openings

No Pipeline Construction through the Oak Openings - protect globally rare habitat wetlands, thel aquifer and local wells

We say NO Pipeline Construction through the globally rare Oak Openings, wetlands, forest, wet prairie, sand dunes, sand aquifer and local wells – No Kinder Morgan Utopia Pipeline and No Nexus Pipeline.

Nexus and Kinder Morgan Pipelines Aiming at the Oak Openings

Nexus Pipeline (Spectra Energy, DTE, Enbridge) and the Kinder Morgan Utopia pipeline – both of these proposed pipeline projects plan to trench through hundreds of acres of the globally rare Oak Openings region in NW Ohio. They would clear cut trees in a swath about 100 feet wide, trench it and pump out all the ground water as they dig.

Re-route the Nexus Pipeline and Kinder Morgan Utopia Pipeline OUT of the Oak Openings Region

Keep Nexus Pipeline and Kinder Morgan Utopia Pipeline OUT of the Oak Openings Region

This is unique habitat with glacial sand dunes, wet prairie, wetlands, oak savanna and other specialized micro-habitats. More than one third of Ohio’s rare birds, animals and native plant communities are found here in the Oak Openings region.

Also – Kinder Morgan threatens Bend View Metropark *Nexus would impact Farnsworth Metropark of the Toledo Area.

We are advocating a re-route of the Nexus pipeline and the Kinder Morgan pipeline so they are outside the historic portion of the Oak Openings and outside the associated sand aquifer that supports wetlands and drinking wells.

Please join us to keep pipelines OUT – Preserve the Oak Openings and support efforts to expand restoration and conservation.