NEXUS Pipeline Faces Continued Opposition

A duo of environmental organizations — Appalachian Mountain Advocates and the Sierra Club — filed a rehearing request last week on the decision made by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to give the NEXUS pipeline project the green light to continue.

The pipeline will stretch over 255 miles across Ohio, Michigan, and Ontario, Canada. The pipeline is projected to pass through Oberlin — a move Oberlin City Council and many activist groups have actively fought for years.

City Council argues that the pipeline violates the Community Bill of Rights.

“The city has chosen to hire a lawyer to fight the pipeline [from] going through,” Vice President Linda Slocum said. “[The pipeline] is really undersubscribed. We don’t need it. The more attention that can be drawn to [the situation] the better.”

Oberlin voters amended the City Bill of Rights in November 2013, banning the transportation of fracked or natural gas through the city. Earlier this year, City Council joined a lawsuit against the backers of the NEXUS pipeline.

Appalachian Mountain Advocates is a nonprofit organization based out of Lewisburg, WV, that fights natural gas pipelines and specializes in law and policy. Appalachian Mountain Advocates argued in a statement that proper measures were not taken when evaluating the environmental and health consequences of greenhouse gases that will be produced by the pipeline. The organization asked FERC to reconsider whether the pipe is necessary.

“NEXUS pipeline is duplicative of other existing and proposed energy sources, meaning there is little need for it, and it will have higher transport costs than those alternative sources,” Appalachian Mountain Advocates said in its statement.

In its attempt to fight the project, Appalachian Mountain Advocates has teamed up with the Sierra Club, the largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization in the country with over three million members. Appalachian Mountain Advocates — acting on behalf of the Sierra Club — released a 35-page filing against the NEXUS pipeline Sept. 21.

“FERC must conduct a thorough examination of NEXUS so they can see what Ohioans, Michiganders, and millions of Americans already do,” wrote Organizing Representative of the Sierra Club Cheryl Johncox. “The NEXUS pipeline is unhealthy and unnecessary for its customers and a big-time boondoggle for its owners.”

The NEXUS Gas Transmission argued in a statement of its own that the pipeline has “secured significant market interest in new natural gas supplies in Ohio, Michigan, Chicago, and Ontario to provide increased energy diversity, security, and reliability across these regions.”

However, the Appalachian Mountain Advocates said that the way NEXUS went about gaining support was corrupt and inappropriate.

“NEXUS has manufactured demand for the pipeline by steering its affiliate utilities companies, DTE Electric and DTE Gas, to agree to buy gas from NEXUS at above-market rates and then pass those excess costs onto their captive ratepayers,” Appalachian Mountain Advocates’ statement read.

The question of how the demand for the pipeline formulated will be crucial in legal battles that could potentially pause the construction of the pipeline.

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency granted NEXUS Gas Transmission a water-quality certificate but is requiring NEXUS to prepare very detailed contingency plans should the pipeline have negative effects on the environment.