BGSU environmental group protests Nexus pipeline

Protesters stand outside the overflowing city building last year during vote on pipeline.

(Submitted by BGSU Environmental Action Group)

Bowling Green State University students with the Environmental Action Group marched through campus Friday, ending at the I-75 overpass, with their banners calling attention to the Nexus Pipeline. The pipeline is scheduled to cross the Maumee River in close proximity to the Bowling Green water treatment plant. If constructed, the pipeline would endanger the drinking water of Bowling Green residents, including the 17,000 students who attend the University, along with the roughly 40,000 people in 12 neighboring communities who also rely on the treatment plant for drinking water.

The BGSU students who planned the march are part of the Environmental Action Group, a student organization that has been active on campus since 1977. EAG has been fighting the Nexus pipeline since November of 2016.

“The Nexus pipeline will affect everyone in our community. It is our responsibility as students to leave the town in better shape than we found it,” said sophomore EAG member Gabby Ysassi.

EAG first got involved in the fight against Nexus when they heard about the City Council vote to accept or reject the $151,000 easement, which would have allowed Spectra Energy, the company seeking to build the pipeline, to start construction. On the day of the final vote, they helped to turn out enough citizens in opposition to the easement to fill the council room and the overflow room, in addition to forming a large crowd outside the building.

Senior Alexis Kuch added, “Change can only happen when recognition happens. That’s why we are organizing to inform and involve the community, and that’s why we marched today.”

Following the council’s unanimous vote to reject the easement from Nexus, EAG has been collaborating with community partners to collect enough signatures to pass a community bill of rights that would block any further attempts to force the pipeline through. The bill of rights would incorporate the community’s right to a healthy environment, right to enforcement, and right to self government.

EAG members feel that their state and local governments will not, and have not, put up an adequate fight to protect their citizens from the threat that the fossil fuel industry poses to drinking water, land, health, and the future. Said senior Michael Butler: “We are learning that we cannot depend our government at the state or local level to protect us, and that it’s up to us to stand up for ourselves.”

The march took place in conjunction with the Ohio Student Climate Resistance statewide week-of-action. Ohio University, University of Cincinnati, Kenyon College, and Ohio State students also participated in the week-of-action, as part of campus campaigns that range from fossil fuel divestment to stopping fracking in the Wayne National Forest. The Ohio Student Climate Resistance is a new, student-led network that fights for a just transition to renewable energy.