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NEXUS pipeline: Construction plan is next step

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Now that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has approved construction to begin on the NEXUS Gas Transmission pipeline, what is the next step?

Company spokesman Adam Parker said via emails that work will begin “to develop a safe and responsible construction plan to meet the growing demand for natural gas in Ohio, Michigan and Ontario.”

The 255-mile pipeline will originate in Hanover Township in Columbiana County, southeast of Medina. Then it will travel through Stark, Summit and Wayne counties before proceeding through Medina and Lorain counties on the way to the Toledo area, into Michigan and then to a hub in Canada.

Asked if construction could take place at multiple sites simultaneously, Parker said: “It is possible and typical on projects of this scope.”

He added there are no plans for a ceremonial groundbreaking in any counties.

“Not at this time,” Parker said.

The Medina County portion of the pipeline will include construction of a compressor station planned for Guilford Township. The station will be built to help propel gas through the 36-inch diameter pipe.

Parker said information about the compressor station is covered in the 86-page FERC approval and is under review by NEXUS.

The company will provide “periodic updates,” Parker said.

For information on the project, visit www.nexusgastransmission.com. Parker said construction-related questions will be covered at nexusgastransmission.com/about/faqs.

The website, Parker added, also will offer information on the company’s plans for crossing water and restoring agricultural areas.

The $2 billion project was proposed in August 2014. On Nov. 30 last year, a final Environmental Impact Statement was submitted by FERC staff to the five-member board of commissioners for approval. But the change in federal administrations from President Barack Obama to President Donald Trump caused turnover on the commission and a delay in the approval request.

It took until Aug. 4 for the U.S. Senate to confirm two Trump nominees to fill vacant FERC seats and restore a quorum that then was able to make rulings and transactions. Two more nominees are awaiting confirmation to add to the three sitting commissioners and fill out the board.

NEXUS Gas Transmission is a business entity formed by investors DTE Energy of Detroit and Spectra Energy of Houston. Spectra is owned by Enbridge Inc., based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Asked on Monday if the hurricane and subsequent storm in Texas had affected NEXUS operations at all, Parker replied, “The majority of the NEXUS project team is located in Ohio and Michigan and has not been directly impacted by Tropical Storm Harvey.”

He added, “Our thoughts are with all of those impacted by the storm.”

Area reaction to FERC approval of the project continued Monday as York Township resident Paul Gierosky wrote a note to members and supporters of the citizens group Coalition to Re-route NEXUS, or CORN. Gierosky is a leader of the group that sought to have FERC direct the route away from populated areas. In the final recommendation Nov. 30, FERC approved the route originally proposed by NEXUS.

Gierosky called the FERC decision “a significant event,” but said “it is not the final step in the process” of getting the line built. He noted that NEXUS still needs a variety of permits regarding water and air issues.

Gierosky said CORN is working with more than 200 groups nationwide on informing Congress about regulatory concerns in the Natural Gas Act of 1938 that governs such business interests as the NEXUS plan.

He said the citizens groups believe the Natural Gas Act “is being misused by FERC … ” and added, “Our property rights shouldn’t so easily be usurped by a private company whose only motive is a profit.”

On page 58 of the FERC approval, the commission said it “acts on individual applications filed by entities proposing to construct interstate natural gas pipelines. Under NGA (Natural Gas Act) section 7, the Commission is obligated to authorize a project if it finds that the construction and operation of the proposed facilities ‘is or will be required by the present or future public convenience and necessity.’ ”

The FERC ruling is at https://www.ferc.gov/CalendarFiles/20170825170323-CP16-22-000.pdf.

Contact Managing Editor Lawrence Pantages at (330) 721-4065 or lpantages@medina-gazette.com.

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