A new ruling in the continuing legal battle in Medina County over property surveys for a gas pipeline project favors a landowner.
Medina County Common Pleas Judge Christopher J. Collier denied a request this week by NEXUS Gas Transmission for an injunction seeking the right to survey land owned by John D. Harvey, of Seville.
Referring to other cases on the same issue, Collier said: “Had this Court granted the plaintiff’s motion for a preliminary injunction, the remaining causes of action would have become moot.”
NEXUS spokesman Adam Parker told The Gazette in an email that the company “is reviewing the Medina court’s decision and evaluating its options. In the meantime, NEXUS will continue to engage in cooperative dialogue with stakeholders and continue to pursue its lawful survey activities.”
Medina lawyer Greg Huber, who represents a group of landowners opposed to allowing surveys, said the court will now be asked to review a previous ruling that had authorized the work.
Huber said Monday’s ruling in favor of Harvey “means the judge will look carefully at what we’re filing today (Thursday) and will look at what NEXUS responds,” Huber said.
The proposed $2 billion 36-inch in diameter pipeline would transport natural gas from Columbiana County in eastern Ohio to Michigan, then Canada.
The company is awaiting a decision by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for permission to begin construction in the first quarter of 2017. An announcement is expected by Nov. 30.
On Oct. 11, NEXUS asked the Medina County Common Pleas Court for a restraining order against property owners to gain access to land along a newly proposed route in the county called Chippewa D.
During a 2ﾽ-hour hearing Oct. 28, Harvey testified that he never received a notice of intent to survey.
His property is on state Route 3 in Seville.
The Chippewa D route, an alternative route to NEXUS’ proposed route, would go through a pasture on Harvey’s land where horses and cattle roam.
Harvey told The Gazette on Thursday in an interview that Collier’s ruling has provided “short-term relief.” He said NEXUS has been calling his neighbors, trying to gain access for surveys.
During the Oct. 28 hearing, Thomas Johnson of Spectra Energy said that NEXUS faces potential penalties of $7 million to $24 million if construction does not begin by February. Spectra, based in Houston, Texas, is a business entity created along with DTE Energy of Detroit to construct the line.
Johnson testified that surveys need to be completed soon before the ground freezes.
Parker also stated that “the project remains on schedule to begin construction and be placed in service in 2017.”
Huber said it is unknown when Collier will rule on his motion.
Contact reporter Ashley Fox at (330) 721-4048 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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