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On Tuesday, September 26, 2017, the City filed an action with the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals challenging the issuance of an environmental permit by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to NEXUS. The permit is called a Water Quality Certificate and is necessary for nexus to proceed with construction of the line in Ohio. The permit is issued to address the pipeline's environmental impacts on surface waters like wetlands and streams. The City also appealed the issuance of the permit by filing with the Ohio EPA's environmental review appeals commission (ERAC) which rules on action by the director of the Ohio EPA.
Based upon the city's research, in coordination with its outside environmental legal counsel, this approach provides the City with the highest probability of allowing a court to consider arguments to oppose the pipeline. In the last 15 years, 14 interstate pipeline projects have been stopped. Six of those projects were stopped by challenges to the state-issued environmental water quality certificate. In 2017, the only successful challenges involved state water quality permits.
In February 2017, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which is the commission that issues approvals for interstate pipelines, no longer had a quorum to conduct business. FERC did not have a quorum until early August when new members appointed by the President were confirmed by the United States Senate. FERC issued its approval to NEXUS on August 25, 2017.
Between February and August, the City worked with its legal counsel and environmental consultants and filed additional comments and documentation with Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) detailing environmental issues that should have been addressed during the permitting process. The City also obtained copies of the Ohio EPA and Army Corps files on the NEXUS permitting process. In August 2017, the City met with the director of the Ohio EPA and his staff about the City's concerns.
The City is aware 6 to 7 other interested parties and entities have challenged the FERC approval by filing a request for rehearing before FERC. This is an administrative proceeding in which Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) reviews its own actions. The City will continue to collaborate with those groups, such as CORN, the City of Oberlin and the Sierra Club. However, the City chose not to appeal to FERC, but instead chose to concentrate its efforts on challenging the state permit. This decision was based on case law research indicating that challenging the issuance of a certificate before FERC has never been successful.
Through the end of August 2017, the City has spend approximately $67,000 on legal and environmental consultant fees and provided a payment to CORN of an additional $10,000.
No, it is not.
It was filed by CORN in an attempt to stop Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) from issuing the certificate (approval) to NEXUS. FERC subsequently approved the pipeline on August 25, 2017.
A magistrate who reviewed the case has recommended to the judge that the case be dismissed in full. The court asked for additional briefings to be submitted by September 15, 2017, at noon. Court records appear to show that the CORN briefing was not submitted by the deadline.
No. The City has not provided the three easements NEXUS has requested. Nor has the City provided permission for the 14 necessary right of way crossings NEXUS has requested.
If NEXUS has requested an easement from you, one option is do not give them the easement. We anticipate that if you do not sign an easement agreement NEXUS will be filing an eminent domain action against you. NEXUS will also be filing an eminent domain against the City of Green. This will likely happen very quickly. The City understands that NEXUS has only secured 65% of the easements needed in the city, even though NEXUS claims to have over 90% of the easements for the whole project.
Please contact the office of the mayor, Gerard Neugebauer at 330-896-6602.