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The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has decided against an alternate route for the NEXUS Pipeline that would have moved construction through southern and western Wayne County instead of through Chippewa Township, and the news was bittersweet.
The FERC released the final environmental impact statement, acknowledging, “the projects would result in some adverse environmental impacts; however, these impacts would be reduced to acceptable levels with the implementation of NEXUS’s and Texas Eastern’s proposed mitigation measures and the additional measures recommended by staff in the final EIS.”
The pipeline, if approved, will cut through 6.6 miles of Chippewa Township.
Gary and Deb Adkins’ home is within 100 feet of the proposed pipeline in Chippewa Township, and they have opposed the project. Deb Adkins said she had just heard the news Wednesday, and she and her husband are going to have to look into it further to see what else can be done.
Many, including Green officials, were opposed to the project because it was moving through more populous, suburban areas. A Green route alternative was proposed to go through more rural, less populous areas, and had the FERC approved it, the pipeline would have entered the county through Paint Township in the southeast corner, and worked its way west through Salt Creek and Franklin townships before moving in a northwesterly direction though Wooster, Plain, Chester and Congress townships.
Lenny Broome, president of the Chippewa Township Board of Trustees, said he was “very disappointed the FERC didn’t choose the southern route.”
“There are enough gas lines in Chippewa Township already,” Broome said. While he was not speaking on behalf of the other trustees, he said, “We’re not going to say ‘yes’ to them. They’ll have to come to the table. They need to come to the safety and park areas. We want them to come to the table.”
The 255-mile pipeline was originally designed to come up from Kensington and travel north to meet up with a pipeline in Michigan and eventually make its way to Ontario, Canada. The 36-inch line will be capable of moving 1.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day and will not exceed a pressure of 1,440 pounds per square inch.
John Fitzpatrick, organizational director of the Wayne County Farm Bureau Federation, had mixed feelings about the decision.
“It’s very good news,” on the one hand, Fitzpatrick said, because “we do not need many, many miles more of pipeline in Wayne County.” The fewer acres of farmland disturbed, the better it is for agriculture.
However, his daughter and her husband have a home, and the pipeline will come close to it.
“Residents (in Chippewa Township) would be impacted anyway,” Fitzpatrick said. Part of the NEXUS plan is to provide some gas to Wadsworth and Green. If the main pipeline were to be moved, then there still would have been laterals installed in the area.
“The primary advantages of the route alternative are that it would cross 11.8 acres fewer of wetlands, 1 less WHPA (wellhead protection area), no state parks/forest lands, five fewer county/metro parks and 35 fewer homes within 150 feet,” the FERC reported in their final study. “Conversely, the main disadvantages of the alternative are that it would have 16.2 miles more greenfield construction, 52.7 acres more forested land, 4.6 more miles of steep slopes and 5.8 more miles of sidehill construction.
“Rerouting the pipeline to less developed areas would shift impacts to other land uses, mainly forest/woodland, open land and agricultural land. Impacts on forest/woodland would constitute the most pronounced effect.”
Wayne County Commissioner Ann Obrecht said she appreciated how the FERC staff looked at the route and took farmland and the number of townships affected into consideration.
“They did their due diligence,” Commissioner Sue Smail said.
Reporter Bobby Warren can be reached at 330-287-1639 or firstname.lastname@example.org. He is @BobbyWarrenTDR on Twitter.