A conference call among attorneys is scheduled today in a federal lawsuit seeking to stop the NEXUS Gas Transmission pipeline.
Attorney David Mucklow of Green said Tuesday that U.S. District Court Judge John Adams of the Northern District of Ohio has referred the case to a magistrate, Kathleen Burke, to “prepare a report to provide to the judge.”
He said the issues were “complicated” and “very few” district courts have had such cases.
Today’s conference call will not be in open court or available to the public.
The 50-page suit, naming NEXUS and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as defendants, was filed collectively in May by more than 60 residents from Medina, Summit and Stark counties.
It asks the U.S. court in Akron to vacate and overturn a “final draft impact statement” from a FERC unit recommending a pipeline route that travels through Medina and Lorain counties as originally proposed back in August 2014.
It also asks that FERC be prohibited from approving the project and that NEXUS be ordered to stop attempting to access properties and communicate with owners and not to reach any legal agreements with them.
On June 20, attorneys for the commission asked that the case be dismissed.
FERC spokeswoman Tamara Young-Allen said Tuesday the agency does not comment on legal cases.
Spokesman Adam Parker of NEXUS said Tuesday in a statement:
“While NEXUS’ certificate application remains pending before the FERC, the record supporting the FEIS and application are complete and ready for prompt FERC approval once a quorum is restored. We are currently working with our contractors to develop a safe and responsible construction plan in order to meet our targeted in service date.
“The NEXUS project would drive $830 million in economic activity and support nearly 7,000 good-paying jobs. Re-establishing a quorum at FERC would unlock significant economic value.”
The FERC board presently has one commissioner — acting chair Cheryl LaFleur — and without a quorum is unable to issue orders and approve transactions.
Four nominations have been made by President Donald Trump to fill the vacant seats.
The latest occurred July 13 and proposes that Kevin J. McIntyre be designated as new chairman of the agency upon confirmation, replacing LaFleur.
Trump has made three other nominations — Neil Chatterjee, Robert Powelson and Richard Glick.
Chatterjee and Powelson have advanced through confirmation by the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee, but still must be confirmed by the entire Senate. McIntyre is now beginning that process.
A White House news release on McIntyre said he is “co-leader” of the worldwide energy department at the law firm Jones Day, where he has practiced for nearly 30 years.
The White House said he has experience in the areas of natural gas, conventional electricity, oil, hydropower, wind power and other renewable resources, and energy marketing and trading.
NEXUS is a business consortium made up of Houston, Texas-based Spectra Energy, DTE Energy of Detroit, and Calgary, Alberta-based Enbridge Inc.
Contact Managing Editor Lawrence Pantages at (330) 721-4065 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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