Pipeline

Tax revenue promised from Rover pipeline falls short

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   From the very start, local township trustees suspected the promise of millions of dollars from Rover pipeline into their township coffers was too good to be true. Pipe dreams. More than three years ago, officials from Rover pipeline met with county and township officials to explain the windfall they would be receiving from the double pipeline being constructed across the southern five townships of Wood County – Bloom, Henry, Jackson, Milton and Perry. All of the townships were promised at least $1 million a year. Two of them – Bloom and Henry townships – were promised as much as $3 million a year. The real numbers have now been reported by the Wood County Auditor’s Office. Rather than $3 million a year, Henry Township will get $143,245 this next year. That amount is expected to double next year when the second Rover pipeline goes into operation. That means about $286,000 for the township – a far cry from the original estimate from pipeline officials. In 2015, when the initial promise was made by Energy Transfer which constructed the Rover pipeline, then Wood County Auditor Michael Sibbersen questioned the estimates. Current Wood County Auditor Matthew Oestreich shared those concerns about inaccurate estimates being given to township officials. “I was skeptical for sure. Absolutely,” Oestreich said on Monday. “They were throwing around some rather large numbers,” Oestreich said. “I don’t think they understood Ohio taxation at all.” In 2015, Sibbersen said his office had to work with limited information, since the company would not provide the estimated value it used for the pipeline in its own estimates of total tax revenues. Also in 2015, Jackson Township Trustee Brendyn George demanded answers and said residents believed the townships are in for a windfall – over $1 million for his township, according to Energy Transfer. Henry Township Trustee John Stewart said Monday that his township also didn’t put much faith in those initial numbers. “At that point, they didn’t understand,” Stewart said of the pipeline officials. Townships operate on small budgets, and most trustees know better than to bank on big promises. “We don’t depend on that,” Stewart said. “Whatever we get is a plus. It will be invested in the roads,” he said. “I’m just happy we’re getting something for it.” Stewart said Rover pipeline officials repaired most of the Henry Township roads torn up…

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Last pitch made for BG charter amendment proposal

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   On the eve of the Tuesday’ election, proponents of the Bowling Green charter amendment made one last big pitch for the proposal to City Council Monday. And city officials, whose efforts had been questioned and criticized by the proponents for the past year, ended up thanking the college students behind the proposal for their passion and sincerity. The evening ended with a handshake between Mayor Dick Edwards and Brad Holmes, one of driving forces behind the charter amendment. On Tuesday, Bowling Green voters will determine whether or not the anti-pipeline amendment becomes a part of the city charter. Three BGSU students stood up Monday to defend the charter amendment. Alex Bishop, who is originally from Mansfield, said the Rover pipeline runs about a half mile from her home and spilled thousands of gallons of hazardous material that destroyed a wetlands. She doesn’t want to see something similar happen near her “second home” of BGSU. “This issue is really important to me,” Bishop said. “I wanted a chance to come here and talk about it.” Holmes said the charter amendment proposal had to jump through several hoops to even get on the ballot. “I’m just very happy we made it this far,” he said. Though the wording of the charter amendment has been criticized, the purpose of the proposal is to empower city officials and the community to reject plans for a pipeline that could be potentially dangerous, he said. “We’re very confident, if passed,” the wording would help the city put a stop to a pipeline. With the power of eminent domain, “communities are at the negative receiving end” of pipeline projects, Holmes said. Another BGSU student, Ross Martin took the podium next and questioned the value of Nexus’ offer to pay the city about $80,000 to go across city land located in Middleton Township near the Bowling Green water treatment plant reservoir. Even if that amount were $1 million, divided among the city’s 30,000 residents, that would be like saying “we would like to endanger your water for $33.33,” Martin said. Martin said fighting for health and safety, and inspiring others to do the same, are “noble” efforts. “We have that opportunity to inspire others,” he said. After the students completed their comments, Mayor Dick Edwards offered an impromptu response. “I understand your passion. I understand it totally,” said Edwards, who…


Statement by Mayor Richard Edwards on the Nexus Pipeline

Statement by BG Mayor Richard A. Edwards November 1, 2017 No one single issue has caused me more distress in my role as Mayor than the Nexus pipeline issue. As a person who has long been sympathetic with environmental causes and concerns, I personally have developed a huge distaste for more and more pipelines as a matter of course and I understand fully the passion of individuals who feel the same way. Since first being made aware of the NEXUS pipeline routing, my personal concern, and a concern shared by all members of City Council, has been to protect in every way possible the City’s state-of-the-art water treatment plant on the Maumee River in Middleton Township which processes drinking water for residents of Bowling Green, much of Wood County and the City of Waterville. That has been our focus all along knowing that a local government cannot override a decision made by the federal government. Good, bad or otherwise, its basic government. We have tried as best we can to heighten public awareness and raise concerns about potential threats to the water treatment plant. I’m grateful to some invaluable assists from any number of thoughtful scientists and citizens in this regard. I’m also grateful to the Director of the Ohio EPA, Craig Butler, and his senior staff and water resource specialists for their cooperation and understanding of BG concerns. When construction begins, near the water treatment plant with a pipeline going under the Maumee River, I have been assured and re-assured by the EPA and other agencies of government that every effort will be made to monitor the project to ensure public safety and our drinking water. Sadly, the promoters of an amendment to the City Charter are attempting to mislead voters into believing that adoption of the amendment will prevent construction of the pipeline. Nothing could be further from the truth. The pipeline project has nothing to do with the physical boundaries, i.e., the city limits of BG proper. The issue is with Middleton Township and the crossing of the pipeline there some 9 miles from BG but within 700 feet of the NE corner of the reservoir. The real challenge for us all is to apply every effort possible to ensure strict compliance with all of the 39 conditions set forth for the project by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).


‘Does anyone represent the voters in Bowling Green?’ – Paul Wohlfarth

Bowling Green City Attorney Mike Marsh silently signed away the city’s easement rights to the Nexus pipeline on October 11th. Then later Mayor Dick Edwards publicly decreed that he and his team will be watching the NEXUS pipeline river crossing as if NEXUS cares. Congressman Bob Latta, the absent representative to all this, signed a letter along with 83 other well oiled representatives to call on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to prosecute any pipeline protestors as terrorists. Does anyone represent the voters in Bowling Green? https://buck.house.gov/sites/buck.house.gov/files/wysiwyg_uploaded/Protecting%20Energy%20Infrastructure.pdf Paul Wohlfarth Ottawa Lake, Mi


Nexus pipeline offers BG $80,000 to cross city land

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Earlier this month, Nexus pipeline officials filed a lawsuit against all holdout property owners. Bowling Green was one of those communities that had refused to grant the pipeline an easement to cross its land. This time around, the pipeline company was armed with eminent domain. On Oct. 11, Bowling Green agreed to a magistrate’s order to join in settlement discussions. And on Friday, the city received an offer of nearly $80,000 from Nexus to cross city-owned land in Middleton Township. “They were granted eminent domain powers. Now they’re exercising it,” said Bowling Green City Attorney Mike Marsh. But local pipeline protesters see it differently. They see it as the city selling out. “This morning we checked court records and found that on October 11 Mike Marsh silently signed away the city’s easement rights to Nexus pipeline,” Lisa Kochheiser stated. “The city has betrayed citizens’ trust and has scandalously kept it to themselves.” Last December, Bowling Green City Council voted unanimously to not grant as easement for the Nexus pipeline. Concerns were expressed about the pipeline route running just 700 feet from the city’s reservoir at the water treatment plant. “They have failed to inform the public that they aren’t willing to stand up for the will of the people,” Kochheiser continued. But Marsh said the city and other holdout landowners across the state have lost to eminent domain. All that remains to be determined is the dollar amount that will be paid. “We’re all under orders to try to negotiate settlements by Nov. 3,” he said. City officials have yet to discuss the $80,000 offer. “The real issue now is compensation.” However, Kochheiser and attorney Terry Lodge pointed out that the village of Waterville continues to refuse compliance with the Nexus lawsuit. “The Village of Waterville has denied compliance with the Nexus lawsuit and is standing up for the rights of residents who passed their charter amendment prohibiting pipelines last year,” Kochheiser stated. Waterville legal director Phil Dombey instead filed a reply, claiming that the village’s local charter amendment forbids the community from consenting. Marsh said Waterville isn’t allowed to enter into negotiations because of its charter amendment. Marsh added that Bowling Green did not give in on granting an easement. “There’s been no grant of an easement,” he said. But since the pipeline has been given eminent domain powers, the city…


“Please vote YES for the Charter Amendment” – Jennifer Karches

Please vote Yes for the Charter Amendment (CA). This amendment will return some of the home rule rights that Ohio elected officials have systematically stripped away from us over the years. Actually, the CA has already done that, as the Ohio Supreme Court decision on October 13, 2017 affirmed, “…Boards of Election do NOT have the authority to sit as arbiters of the legality or constitutionality of a ballot measure’s substantive terms.” This strikes down the last minute addition to HB463, passed in December 2016, that gave the power to B’sOE to strike down ballot issues. Ballot issues that have followed Ohio law and have thousands of signatures of citizens; a right Ohio citizens have enjoyed for over a century without fear of scrutiny and interference. Pipelines are being built in our area now, and more are to come, with the recent federal legislation allowing fossil fuels to be exported for sale to other countries. There are other threats, too. Back in 2013 I spoke with a family living on the south end of town that was contacted about selling their mineral rights. How would you like having gas wells in town? With pipelines nearby this scenario looks increasingly likely. Our city council has not acted on behalf of citizens, but they and others are spreading far-fetched scenarios of hypothetical situations that won’t happen. There will not be mass anarchy and mayhem in the streets. According to the CA, citizens can peacefully enforce their rights IF the city does not. Of course the city will follow the law. I received in the mail a recycled version of a pamphlet that was used against the CA in 2013, which also spread essentially “made up” scenarios that had no basis in fact. This pamphlet stated that the CA would “prohibit the infrastructure for fossil fuel transportation within the City of BG.” This is a lie by omission. The critical part omitted: “…EXCEPT for infrastructure to transport fossil fuels to end-users with Wood County.” If the opposition has to take ballot language out of context in order to turn people against the CA, then I question the strength of all of their arguments. Last year the city of Waterville passed a similar Citizens’ Bill of Rights and there has not been mass anarchy and mayhem in the streets. In fact, what did happen, was the Waterville City Council told Nexus/Endbridge they were not…


Pipeline work to begin – mayor reminds Nexus that city will be watching

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Nexus pipeline officials have notified the city of Bowling Green that construction of the natural gas pipeline through this area will begin “in the near future.” Bowling Green officials have sent notification back that they will be keeping an eye on the construction of the 36-inch pipeline. The main concern of city officials is the Bowling Green water treatment plant, which sits about 2,000 feet from where the pipeline will be buried. The water reservoir, which supplies the plant, is just 700 feet from the pipeline route. “We want to make sure Nexus is adhering to the standards,” Assistant Municipal Administrator Joe Fawcett said Monday afternoon. Nexus Gas Transmission sent a letter to the city earlier this month to make officials aware of company contacts to call in case there are construction problems with environmental, restoration or other issues. The company will make an effort to respond to hotline calls within one hour, the letter stated. A Nexus representative will respond within 24 hours to discuss resolution of concerns, the letter continued. “We are committed to minimizing any inconvenience our construction may cause,” said the letter signed by Walton Johnson, right-of-way project manager for the Nexus project. Last week, Bowling Green Mayor Dick Edwards wrote back. He let pipeline officials know that the city has voiced several concerns about the project – most which have not been resolved. “I trust and sincerely hope that you and your colleagues know that the City of Bowling Green, it’s administration and city council, have some very basic concerns about the project in terms of its proximity to the city’s state-of-the-art water treatment plant located on the Maumee River and the BG Fault Line nine miles north of the city,” Edwards wrote. The city has enlisted the help of independent geologists and hydrologists, the Ohio EPA and others – and has registered concerns with the Ohio EPA, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the U.S. Congress and the Ohio General Assembly. The mayor noted the city has no power to have the pipeline moved further from the water treatment plant. However, the city will insist “on strict adherence to all of the conditions” put in place for the project. Over the last decade, the city has invested more than $20 million in making the water treatment facility state-of-the-art. The plant supplies water to several communities in Wood…