City councilors in a northeastern Ohio community have voted narrowly to approve a settlement with Nexus Gas Transmission LLC, clearing yet another roadblock for the 1.5 Bcf/d pipeline project that was announced more than five years ago.
Construction is underway, and the project is still targeting a 3Q2018 in-service date. But work was halted in November on an eight-mile stretch in the City of Green after a federal court ordered a stay to review the pipeline’s water quality certification, which the city had challenged. After councilors on Wednesday voted 4-3 to approve the settlement, attorneys involved in that case in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit filed to dismiss it and lift the stay.
Under the terms of the settlement, Green would receive $7.5 million and 20 acres of land next to a city park. According to media reports, the vote came at a meeting in which tensions ran high and residents continued voicing their dissatisfaction with the pipeline.
Green officials have opposed the project for years, filing for a reroute at FERC in 2015 that identified wetlands, abandoned mines, parks and open space areas that the city claimed were threatened by the project’s path.
The vote to proceed was another setback for Nexus opponents. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has denied several motions to stay the pipeline’s certificate order, which was approved last August.The Sierra Club had also sued late last year in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to stop all Nexus construction but the challenge was later dropped.
It’s unclear how long it might take to transfer the land to Green or when Nexus would pay the city. Nexus spokesman Adam Parker said the company is targeting a swift resolution of the settlement, but the company won’t speculate on the timing. Nexus intends to work with community officials during construction in the city, he said.
Members of an opposition group in the community told news media that because there wasn’t a majority vote approving the settlement, a petition could be filed to put the issue before voters. However, those efforts have been largely unsuccessful in the state and in courts there.
The 257-mile Nexus pipeline would move Appalachian shale gas to markets in the Midwest and Canada. The bulk of the project would be constructed in Ohio and move gas to Michigan, where it would send volumes north and west.