Mayor Stands Up to Gas Pipeline Build

May 4, 2017

Green City, Ohio, sits midway between Akron and Canton; has a population around 26,000; and has been named a Best Places by Sperlings website. The city also has Mayor Gerard Neugebauer, who is filing a lawsuit to stop Nexus Gas Transmission from burying 8 miles of pipeline in the middle-class community.

Neugebauer told The Associated Press that he will exhaust all options to stop Nexus Gas Transmission. He said the pipeline could cost the city millions of dollars annually in tax revenues from lost economic development opportunities, lead to the abandonment of city parks, and harm environmentally fragile wetlands.

Neugebauer has the backing of the Green City council, which authorized $100,000 to hire a Cleveland firm that specializes in environmental law.

The high-pressure natural gas pipeline proposed by Nexus Gas Transmission would be 255 miles long and would carry up to 1.5 billion cubic feet of gas per day from the Utica and Marcellus shale areas to the company's Dawn Hub in Ontario, Canada.

Nexus Gas Transmission is a partnership of Canadian Enbridge and Detroit's DTE Energy. Enbridge merged this year with Houston -based Spectra Energy, DTE's original partner.

Pipeline opponents argue that a Canadian company like Enbridge shouldn't be allowed to take property from U.S. landowners. An unknown number of property owners have refused to allow surveyors onto their property or negotiate easements for the pipeline and construction period.

"I don't have animosity toward foreign companies," Neugebauer said. "But our government shouldn't be giving a foreign company more rights to property than the people who own the property."

Under the proposed pipeline route, Green City would have only 8 miles of underground pipeline, but the route cuts through city parks and runs next to a 150-acre zone designated for a planned business park. Neugebauer said he was concerned about citizens using public spaces that are inside the 1,500-foot blast zone should a pipeline explode.

The city proposed alternate routes for the project that would take the pipeline under farmland. Nexus had hoped to start construction in early 2017, however the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) commissioners have not yet approved the developers Application for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity, required before the company breaks ground. At this time, FERC can't approve and issue the required certificate until the President and U.S. Senate confirms a new commissioner to complete the three-commissioner panel.

Green City's mayor is prepared to wait out the delays, hoping the longer construction approval is put off, the better the chance the pipeline will be moved or canceled.

The Nexus website does not have any information posted regarding where it stands in the FERC approval process.