OBERLIN — The city will continue to pay legal fees for representation against the NEXUS Gas Transmission pipeline.
Last week, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission gave the natural gas pipeline approval to move forward; construction is expected to begin within a month.
The 255-mile pipeline will begin in Hanover Township in Columbia County and go through Stark, Summit, Wayne, Medina and Lorain counties and on through Michigan to a hub in Canada.
Oberlin Council previously authorized $20,000 in 2015 to pay for the Law Offices of Carolyn Elefant to represent the city and on Monday authorized an additional $20,000 to continue with Elefant.
John Elder, vice president of Oberlin’s Citizens for Safe and Sustainable Energy, or CSSE, said Elefant is doing good work, but FERC has “disregarded” all of her requests for a rehearing.
“I think no one was surprised given the makeup of the commission,” Elder said.
“The Trump appointees to FERC were clearly people who were, if not previously employed in the fossil fuel industry, were clearly sympathetic to the fossil fuel industry.”
The city in 2013 passed an ordinance that bans fracking infrastructure.
Elder said CSSE believes NEXUS is “not economically viable, is intended to export gas out of the U.S., will harm the environment, does not serve a public use, and, in Oberlin’s case, violates a city ordinance.”
Both Elefant and attorney David Mucklow, who represent the Coalition to Reroute NEXUS, filed lawsuits in federal court on behalf of landowners challenging the issue of eminent domain.
“The NEXUS route, as approved by FERC, runs a few feet north of the backyards of residences in the Reserve Avenue development and, as the city of Oberlin filing points put, poses a blast risk not only to those homes but also the Splash Zone, Oberlin Fire Department and Welcome Home,” Elder said.
NEXUS, first proposed in August 2014, is a business partnership of Detroit-based DTE Energy and Spectra Energy, which is owned by Calgary, Alberta-based Enbridge Inc.
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