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NEXUS pipeline survey goes to court

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An alternative pipeline route, Chippewa D, in Seville is proposed for the NEXUS gas pipeline ASHLEY FOX / GAZETTE

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John Harvey Jr. said in Medina County Common Pleas Court on Friday that his family’s land was surveyed for the NEXUS Gas Transmission pipeline without their knowledge or permission.

Harvey Jr. testified during a 2ᄑ-hour hearing before Judge Christopher J. Collier as a defendant in a case opposing a restraining order filed Oct. 11 permitting surveyors for the proposed $2 billion pipeline to do work on private land. Harvey Jr. appeared in court with his father, John D. Harvey, and their attorney, Greg Huber.

As many as 24 NEXUS surveyors entered the property Wednesday on state Route 3 in Seville, Harvey Jr. testified.

Harvey Jr. said he was at work in Akron when he heard of the surveyors being on his property. Harvey Jr. called the Medina County Sheriff’s Office and was told deputies couldn’t do anything unless the family talked to a lawyer.

Harvey Jr. said the surveying stopped Wednesday morning after deputies spoke to Huber.

“My gut tells me they probably got most of their survey complete,” Harvey Jr. said.

Harvey Jr. testified that he never received a notice of an intent to survey. He said he owns the property but has tenants on the land and they have been in California.

NEXUS attorney Jim Hughes asked Harvey Jr. if it was possible the tenants could have received the letter but did not immediately tell Harvey Jr. about it.

Harvey Jr. acknowledged that may have occurred.

NEXUS lawyers showed the court copies of a letter that included a FedEx tracking number, which they cited as proof that notification had been carried out.

Financial commitments made by NEXUS for the project also came up during testimony.

Thomas Johnson of Spectra Energy said that NEXUS faces potential penalties of $7 million to $24 million if construction does not begin by February 2017. He said there would be additional penalties related to five parcels of land that are part of a restraining order allowing surveys to take place.

Spectra, based in Houston, is the business entity in charge of the pipeline along with partner DTE Energy of Detroit.

Johnson told the court that land surveys may only be done through mid-November because land will begin to freeze in late fall and winter weather conditions.

Spectra has filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission seeking approval to begin construction in the first quarter of 2017. Medina County groups have said they expect a decision from FERC, based in Washington, D.C., by Nov. 30.

After Harvey Jr. testified, Collier called the hearing to an end and asked attorneys to meet with him in his office. No notice was given in the courtroom as to the next step in the hearing.

Reached by The Gazette later Friday, NEXUS attorney Dan Gerkin said because the matter was in litigation, he could not comment.

Chippewa D revelation

The surveys are part of preconstruction work for the line that would transport natural gas from eastern Ohio along a route through Medina County, into northwest Ohio and Michigan and finally to a hub in Canada.

The land owned by the Harveys is along what is called Chippewa D, a new alternative route. An attorney for the citizens group Sustainable Medina County, Terry Lodge of Toledo, previously said the new route affects 50 property owners and another 700 are within a half-mile on either side of the possible route change and they would be affected.

Their land on the Chippewa D route was brought to light earlier this month when a new group of Medina County landowners received letters from FERC saying their property was under consideration for possible construction. Landowners were told they may file comments about the proposed route with a deadline of Nov. 7.

Landowners received a four-page letter from FERC dated Oct. 6 with four pages of maps. The letter explained that the route change was “suggested in response to a recommendation by FERC staff in the ongoing environmental review for the (NEXUS) Project.”

FERC also said that the “newly identified route alternative would affect landowners that have not been part of the FERC’s environmental scoping process” and that comments are invited.

Messages may be sent electronically to efiling@ferc.gov or call (202) 502-8258 for assistance. The docket number, CP16-22-000, is requested on all correspondence.

Contact reporter Ashley Fox at (330) 721-4048 or afox@medina-gazette.com.



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