LAFAYETTE TWP. — “This is where I have coffee in the morning and this is what I was watching,” said Elinor Judson, as she pointed out the window of her sunroom toward toppled trees.
Judson said the trees, which are not on her property, have been cleared as part of the NEXUS Gas Transmission project.
The $2.1 billion, 255-mile natural gas pipeline will pass through 11 Ohio counties, including Medina, before traveling into Michigan and eventually Canada.
Judson said she doesn’t understand why the pipeline has been rerouted closer to her property, who noted none of her land was taken through eminent domain for the project, and her property is not in the pipeline’s right-of-way.
“It was going to go behind those houses across (Ryan Road) and out across (state) Route 162,” Judson said.
The original proposed route of the pipeline would have crossed her son’s (Tom Judson) property at the corner of Chippewa and Ryan Road, just more than a mile south of the her property, Lafayette Township Trustee Lynda Bowers said.
Judson said she did not attend public meetings regarding the route change, and believes those changes to the NEXUS pipeline were made after local public meetings with representatives from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which approved the project, had concluded.
“This was done after the meetings stopped,” Judson said. “Everyone else had a chance to talk face-to-face and we (she and husband James) didn’t.”
Bowers said it is possible the FERC meetings concluded before the route was finalized, but residents had ample time to voice any concerns.
The finalized route, which also travels across park land, was one of four alternative routes proposed during meetings with FERC, Bowers said.
“We filed an objection, but ultimately that is the route that FERC approved,” she said.
Bowers, who said she has her share of concerns, said the pipeline will pass through property owned by her husband and his sister.
“As I understand it, where that route was located had a lot to do with (Medina Country Club) and the topography of Ryan Road,” Bowers said. “It goes across the golf course, and it goes across the street to the county commissioners’ land (Innovation Park), and then it goes to the park district and cuts through.”
Bowers said the wooden stakes placed near Judson’s property where trees have been removed represent a temporary easement for construction, not the permanent right-of-way required for the pipeline.
A permanent right-of-way is the area where the pipeline is constructed and eventually operated. This area is typically 100 feet wide, and is reduced to
50 feet after construction concludes, NEXUS spokesman Adam Parker said in an email.
Parker also said that following construction, the temporary right-of-way typically ends and the actual right-of-way is “as close as possible to its original condition.” Parker also said that beyond that, NEXUS does not comment on an individual’s property.
The NEXUS pipeline has generated controversy throughout the areas affected, with grass-roots organizations including CORN, the Coalition to Re-route NEXUS, making an effort to have the pipeline routed away from populated areas, while others such as Sustainable Medina County are making efforts to stop the project.
The 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals granted the city of Green in Summit County a temporary stay that halted work on the pipeline in Green last month.
In May, residents from Medina, Summit and Stark counties filed a 50-page complaint with the U.S. District Court for Northern Ohio that named both NEXUS Gas Transmission and FERC as defendants. The case is pending.
“The project has been under review for more than three years, including more than 20 public meetings and other public comment periods which solicited stakeholder feedback,” Parker said in his email. “The NEXUS team will continue, as it has over the past three years, to communicate with landowners, public officials and permitting agencies during the construction process.”
Contact reporter Nathan Havenner at (330) 721-4050 or email@example.com.
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