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FERC nomination hearings set for next week


A U.S. Senate committee will hold a hearing Thursday to fill two vacancies on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which holds the future of the proposed NEXUS Gas Transmission project.

The natural gas pipeline is proposed to be built through Medina County.

Neil Chatterjee, an energy policy adviser to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Robert Powelson, a Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission member, have been nominated by President Donald Trump to fill two of three vacancies for the FERC board.

The Committee on Energy & Natural Resources also will hear the nomination of Dan R. Brouillette as deputy secretary of energy.

NEXUS was awaiting a final certificate of approval from FERC for the gas pipeline when FERC commissioner Norman Bay resigned after Trump replaced him as chairman with fellow commissioner Cheryl LaFleur.

The departure left the five-member panel with only two commissioners, meaning it did not have a quorum to take action.

The 10 a.m. hearing will be streamed on under the “live webcast” tab.

Archived video will be available after the hearing is completed.

Paul Gierosky, leader of the Coalition to Reroute NEXUS, urged people to contact senators on the committee to oppose confirmation in a message Friday from his citizens group. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Cincinnati, is among the members of the committee that has 12 Republicans and 11 Democrats.

Members of the Medina County-based CORN have joined with other homeowners from Summit and Stark counties who are opposed to the construction of the pipeline. Gierosky, of York Township, and more than 60 people in the three counties last week filed a federal lawsuit, which names NEXUS and FERC as defendants, to stop the pipeline.

NEXUS is a consortium of Spectra Energy, based in Houston, Texas; DTE Energy of Detroit; and Enbridge Inc., an energy company based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The pipeline was first proposed in August 2014 and last year NEXUS asked for FERC approval to begin construction by the fourth quarter of 2017.

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