GREEN The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has released an environmental impact statement that the NEXUS Gas Transmission line should remain on the northern route through Green and the Portage Lakes area.
The route would run 210 miles of 36-inch-diameter pipeline across the state of Ohio and carry 1.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day from the Utica and Marcellus shale regions. While the pipeline has not been approved, FERC’s three commissioners will decide if it should be built or not.
NEXUS Spokesman Adam Parker said the environmental impact statement is a major milestone that will keep the pipeline on track for final approval from FERC early next year. If approved, NEXUS plans to begin construction immediately and have the pipeline in service by November 2017.
The pipeline has been highly fought by the city of Green as Green GISP and GIS Administrator Chrissy Lingenfelter helped the city draw up a southern route through the more rural southern part of Stark County, which officials believe would have less environmental impacts.
Green also had an economic impact study done by Cleveland State University, which showed the city would lose $52 million in revenue over a 50-year period. The study also revealed that $120 million that would be lost in property taxes that go to other agencies in Summit County like the Metro Parks.
FERC examined 15 route alternatives, three of which were variations of the Green southern route.
Lingenfelter said the pipeline is proposed to run eight miles through the city and a quarter of the route in Green takes the pipeline through wetlands.
"We’re disappointed that FERC is giving more credence to the timetable established by the applicant than to making the project better with a route that clearly has fewer environmental and social impacts," Lingenfelter said. "It is important to understand that this development does not constitute an approval. The FERC Commissioners still must determine if the project warrants an approval to move forward."
Green Communications Coordinator Valerie Wolford said the city’s staff have been meeting to discuss the next steps moving forward. A few of the options include taking legal action and responding to FERC with the city’s continued concerns.
"We are still fighting for the residents impacted along with the concerns of the whole community," Wolford said.
Wolford said residents along the route can ask those from NEXUS to leave who want to survey their property. She said if they don’t leave, residents are encouraged to call the Summit County Sheriff.
So far, there have been no reports of those who are surveying not leaving upon request of the resident.
Wolford also encouraged those who are asked to sign easements to wait. She also said it is important to keep in mind the pipeline doesn’t only impact those along the route, but it impacts parks and other areas of the city that are utilized by everyone.