BG planning pipeline panel to clear up questions

Bowling Green City Council meeting Monday evening

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN

BG Independent News

 

Bowling Green officials want to dig deeper into the Nexus pipeline proposed near the city water treatment plant.

On Monday evening, Mayor Dick Edwards talked about his continued efforts to contact people with geological expertise about the project. And he supported a suggestion by council member Daniel Gordon to host a public forum with experts on the topic. Gordon noted the different perspectives presented to city council by various geologists, and the need to find facts.

“We will proceed on that basis to look at the science and the facts,” Edwards said to city council. “There are a bunch of unknowns out there.”

No date or location has been set yet for a pipeline panel discussion. Council member Bruce Jeffers asked if Nexus officials might attend the meeting.

Edwards said the pipeline company has had ample opportunity to make its pitch for the natural gas line. He added that “it’s been frustrating,” getting information from the company.

“They’ve had every opportunity to make their case in Washington,” the mayor said, adding that the purpose of the panel discussion will be to sharpen the focus on facts. “They’ve had every opportunity to come in and share information.”

Council member Bob McOmber echoed that inclination.

“I’m not particularly inclined to want them” at a panel discussion, he said.

The public event is not intended to be a debate between advocates of opposing sides, but a panel discussion to get to the facts, McOmber said.

Edwards suggested that an impartial moderator be used for the discussion.

“I think we need to be open and objective,” he said.

The primary concern of Bowling Green officials is the water treatment plant near the proposed route of the natural gas pipeline.

“We want to keep it healthy and on the right track,” the mayor said.

“We want to have assurances and reassurances” that the city’s water supply will be safe, he said.

Council member Sandy Rowland agreed that more questions need answered.

“I just want to know about safe water,” she said. “How high are the risks?”

Gordon agreed. “If there is a risk, we need to do something about it.”

Edwards said he recently had a conversation about the pipeline with a representative of U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown’s office. He suggested another letter to FERC may be needed to raise further questions about the pipeline.

Also at Monday’s meeting, City Council President Mike Aspacher explained a change in the council’s agenda with the “lobby visitation” time for public comments being moved up close to the top of the meeting. People wanting to make comments were also asked to sign in prior to the meeting.

“This is going to allow us to be more accurate with the minutes,” and help the city do follow up with people voicing concerns, Aspacher said.

By moving the public comments closer to the top of the agenda, it will allow city officials to address those comments during their portions of the meeting, Aspacher added.

One of those citizens speaking at Monday’s council meeting expressed his concerns about cars being parked on lawns in the community.

“It really doesn’t give a good picture,” said David Pflegar, who lives on North Prospect Street.

The city has “no true mechanism” to address the issue since the code enforcement officer handles vehicles in yards – but the officer isn’t on duty at night or on weekends when the infractions are most likely to occur.

Pflegar asked council to consider moving enforcement over to the police division, which would be available at any time.

Also at Monday’s meeting:

  • Wendy Chambers, of the Bowling Green Convention and Visitors Bureau, presented the organization’s annual report. She noted the city had 2,250 more hotel rooms booked in 2016 than the previous year. She also reported the city now has 500 hotel rooms available for booking on a regular basis.
  • Kristin Otley, city parks and recreation director, said outdoor programming starts next week. She also mentioned that the brown bag lunch concert series continues to draw more than 90 people each week.
  • The mayor noted that reservations for the Interfaith Breakfast are due by Friday.
  • Edwards also reported that a Wooster Green planning meeting will be held Thursday at 4 p.m., in the city building.
  • Council passed a resolution supporting the establishment of U.S. bicycles routes by the American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials and the Ohio Department of Transportation.
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