Nexus Pipeline

Pipeline petition may – or may not – be booted from ballot

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   There may be more than enough valid petition signatures to get a pipeline issue on Bowling Green’s ballot this November. But it’s uncertain if voters will have a chance to weigh in, since the petition may have been filed late. The petition asks that a charter amendment be adopted in the city to prioritize people over pipelines. All within a matter of hours today, officials believed the petition was possibly out, then possibly in – with no clear resolution. The only certainty is that Ohio’s rules on petitioning to put an issue on the ballot are far too complicated. Petition organizers Lisa Kochheiser and Brad Holmes, president of the Environmental Action Group at Bowling Green State University, reported that more than 1,200 signatures were collected, with at least 714 valid signatures required to get the charter amendment on the ballot. Wednesday at 4 p.m. was the filing deadline for issues and candidates appearing on the general election in November. But the pipeline issue did not appear on the board of elections list. Bowling Green Assistant Municipal Administrator Joe Fawcett said this morning that the petition was not filed on Wednesday, because the Ohio Revised Code requires that a charter amendment petition be held at the city for 10 days prior to it being submitted to the board of elections. The petition was turned in to the city on July 31 at 2 p.m. Since the city is required to hold onto it for public viewing for 10 days, that meant the petition could not be turned over to the Wood County Board…


Ohio EPA promises to meet with BG on Nexus pipeline

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   After months of thinking no one at the Ohio EPA was listening, Bowling Green officials are being promised a meeting on the Nexus pipeline. Mayor Dick Edwards reported to City Council Monday evening that he had received a “long awaited and very welcomed” phone call from Ohio EPA Director Craig Butler. Butler assured the mayor that the EPA is aware of the city’s concerns about the proposed Nexus pipeline being built so close to the Bowling Green water treatment plant. Butler reportedly said EPA staff and Ohio Geological Commission staff are in the process of reviewing documents sent to them from Bowling Green officials, including a concerning report prepared by BGSU assistant professor Andrew Kear. When those reviews and analyses are completed, Butler and his staff plan to share their findings in a meeting with the mayor, council, staff and members of the board of public utilities. The meeting will be public. The mayor said the EPA director also offered to facilitate further communications, including a possible meeting with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the body that rules on pipeline projects. Edwards expressed gratitude to Butler, State Senator Randy Gardner and environmental attorney Mary Ellen Hogan, for helping to arrange the communication. Butler reportedly told Edwards that the Ohio EPA had been very focused on the problems being caused by the Rover pipeline crossing the state. But he promised the Nexus project will also get a proper review. “We’re going to give it our best scientific review,” the mayor said Butler told him about the Nexus pipeline. “I appreciate it.” Edwards said…


‘What’s a blast zone?’ – Paul Wohlfarth

The Toledo Blade reported July 23 of the growing housing developments in Waterville. The Toledo Blade failed to inform its readers that next to the Village at Waterville Landing will run the 36 inch high pressure Nexus natural gas pipeline. The proposed Nexus pipeline route will open the area to future industrial pipeline development. A 36 inch 1440 psi natural gas pipeline has a blast zone radius of 1,500 feet. What’s a blast zone? A blast zone is the area from which a leaking natural gas pipeline will kill instantly after ignition. The Toledo Blade failed to warn its readers of this fact. Those building in the Waterville area should ask their builders and real estate agents where is the NEXUS pipeline located in relation to my new home? Words of warning: Agents and builders are not required to report this to prospective buyers. The buyer must do their due diligence to protect their families and investment. Paul Wohlfarth Ottawa Lake, Michigan


Petition aimed at prioritizing people over pipelines

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green residents may be asked to vote on a pipeline issue in November. A group of concerned citizens is trying to place an issue on Bowling Green’s ballot aimed to protect the city and its water supply from pipelines. The group’s goal is to prioritize people over pipelines. Brad Holmes, president of the Environmental Action Group at Bowling Green State University, talked about the charter amendment earlier this week during a City Council meeting. The group pushing to put the issue on the ballot has collected approximately 1,000 signatures so far. “We’re shooting for 1,200,” though just 700 valid signatures are required to get the charter amendment on the November ballot. The group hopes to submit its petition to the Wood County Board of Elections by July 31. Holmes talked about the threats posed by the Nexus pipeline to the Bowling Green water supply, since the proposed route for the natural gas line is close to the city’s water treatment plant. As volunteers have talked to local residents while collecting petition signatures, they have encountered varying degrees of awareness about the Nexus pipeline project, Holmes said. Some residents are not aware of the pipeline proposed so close to the water plant. Many others are under the impression that when City Council denied a property easement to the pipeline company, that the pipeline was no longer a concern. That isn’t true, Holmes said. “We still do face threats from the Nexus pipeline.” The purpose of the proposed charter amendment is “recognizing and protecting community rights to a healthy environment and livable climate.”…


BG frustration builds over Nexus pipeline concerns

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green officials are tired of getting the brush off by the Nexus pipeline, by the Ohio EPA, and by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. But it appears that getting anyone in authority to listen may take more money than the city can afford – and even then the results are not guaranteed. The major concern is that the 36-inch high-pressure natural gas line will be located close enough to the city’s water treatment plant along the Maumee River, that any accidents could have horrific consequences to the water quality. The city has called in experts and sent letters expressing concerns to many state and federal officials. During City Council meeting Monday evening, Mayor Dick Edwards held up files of information he had collected on the pipeline issue. “This is enough to choke a horse,” he said of all the paperwork. “I take it all very seriously,” Edwards said. “I’m frankly, not giving up at all.” Other efforts are underway to plug the pipeline project. A citizens group is currently collecting signatures to get a charter amendment to protect Bowling Green from the pipeline on the November ballot. (A story on that petition effort will appear later this week on BG Independent News.) Brad Holmes, president of the BGSU Environmental Action Group, who is coordinating the charter amendment effort, asked city officials Monday to file a motion to intervene with FERC. He referred to the Nexus pipeline as a “potential source of disaster.” Neocles Leontis suggested the city also try a different route of asking the Ohio EPA to withhold approval of…


‘The [pipeline] industry has a history of nefarious behavior’ – Paul Wohlfarth

On June 22, Bloomberg News ran the article, “The Company Behind the Dakota Access Pipeline Has Another Big Problem in Ohio,” reporting on the many environmental problems the Rover Pipeline has caused in Ohio. Of particular note was Attorney Matt Strayer who represents 200 landowners that have easement agreements with Rover. He is quoted as saying, “The tight timeline meant that paying for damage was preferable to preventing it.” Farmer Ben Polasek was quoted as saying,” They’ll do what they want, and they don’t care who they step on to get there. It’s all about how quickly they can get that pipe in the ground.” The Rover pipeline is just the warning shot to those who have signed easements with the Nexus pipeline. The industry “owns” your land now and in the future, doing with it what they want. The regulatory agencies are now being defunded by our current administration, helped by Congressman Bob Latta, emboldening the oil and gas industry to do as they want without regard to landowners and the environment. Farmers will need expensive lawyers to argue for their property rights while many will simply give up in frustration. The industry has a history of nefarious behavior, covering up their mistakes while quietly litigating in its defense (much cheaper). Industry whistle-blowers have reported shortcuts in building pipelines across the country especially when schedules are not being met. Pipeline welds reportedly go uninspected to meet imposed contracted timelines. Whistle-blowers complain of pipe being buried before inspection results are verified. The Nexus pipeline is far behind schedule not to meet their contractual completion date of November 2017 for the…


BG Council debates further fight against pipeline

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   At least two Bowling Green City Council members are interested in taking the Nexus pipeline fight further. Council has already rejected an easement to allow the pipeline to cross city-owned land within miles of the city’s water treatment plant. The city held a panel discussion with four geologists addressing their concerns about the pipeline. And the mayor has written several letters identifying concerns to FERC, federal and state legislators, and the pipeline. But on Monday, council member John Zanfardino suggested that the city look into filing a motion to intervene on the project with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. “I know there are questions of cost,” Zanfardino said. But the costs may be worth it to ensure safe drinking water, he said. Zanfardino referred to one of the panelist’s concerns that the environmental statement for the pipeline did not even mention several risks. “This seems to give us a legal leg to stand on,” if something happens, Zanfardino said of the motion to intervene. Though one of the panelists said the cost to file a motion to intervene would be “negligible,” the city’s legal counsel thinks otherwise, especially if it leads to greater litigation and expense.  So Zanfardino suggested some exploration should be done. “We’re running out of time,” he said. FERC tends to rubber-stamp pipeline projects even in the best of times, Zanfardino said. “And we’re not in the best of times.” Council member Daniel Gordon agreed. “There is a real sense of urgency here,” he said. “We can’t put a price tag on our water supply here in Northwest Ohio.”…


BG demands answers to questions about pipeline

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Last week’s pipeline panel discussion raised questions that Bowling Green officials want answered. “We’ve all been wrestling with this,” Mayor Dick Edwards said Monday evening as he sought council input on the letter he penned. The letter received support from council, including an endorsement from member Daniel Gordon, who called it “strongly and appropriately worded.” The letters will be sent to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman, U.S. Rep. Bob Latta and Nexus pipeline. Slightly modified letters will also be sent to State Senator Randy Gardner, State Rep. Theresa Gavarone, Ohio EPA, Ohio Department of Natural Resources and possibly PUCO. Gordon said the lack of deadlines for the pipeline makes it difficult for those objecting to the project. “It’s a source of a great deal of frustration,” Edwards said. The decision rests with the federal government. “It’s frustrating for municipalities to take on the federal government.” The mayor stressed the need to send the letter as soon as possible. “We are trying to establish a record of concern,” he said. “We will try our best to keep pressing the issues.” Edwards also expressed concerns about the pipeline company, which refuses to answer questions about the project. “I’m disappointed with the Nexus group.” Gordon suggested the city add a timetable to the letter, and warn that the city will take the next step if questions are answered adequately. Even if there is a low probability of getting the pipeline rerouted, “it’s worth taking that chance.” Because of possible threats to the city’s water treatment plant, the city…


Geologists agree more data needed on Nexus pipeline

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The probability of a local catastrophe with the proposed Nexus pipeline is quite low – but the magnitude of the damage it could cause is quite high. And Nexus engineering and geological data have failed to instill a lot of confidence with local officials. A panel of geology experts answered questions Monday from Bowling Green officials concerned about the close proximity of the proposed 36-inch natural gas pipeline to the city’s water treatment plant and water intake on the Maumee River. The geologists all agreed on one point – more study is needed before the pipeline is buried near a fault line and under the river. The panel consisted of Dr. Charles Onasch, retired professor emeritus of geology at BGSU; Dr. Andrew Kear, assistant professor of political science and environment and sustainability at BGSU; Mark Baranoski, retired geologist with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources; and Stephen Champa, a senior hydrogeologist for Eagon & Associates. Steve Kendall, from WBGU and host of the Northwest Ohio Journal, acted as moderator. Though the council chambers was full, the bulk of the questions were asked only by Kendall. The panel discussion was arranged by Mayor Dick Edwards after City Council kept hearing a wide variety of answers to basic questions about the pipeline risks. Edwards hoped the panel could focus on the science – not propaganda from pipeline protesters or the pipeline company. But the geologists, to varying degrees, said more data is needed before science can give a stamp of approval to the pipeline. Council President Mike Aspacher asked if the pipeline poses a…


“Nexus doesn’t pay its required taxes” – Paul Wohlfarth

The NEXUS pipeline has promised Wood County $22,786,432 in total tax receipts over five years. The glowing assessment would be wonderful if not for the glaring truth: Nexus doesn’t pay its required taxes or fees to compensate for the auditor’s services. Ohio Law  319.54 states: (C) From all moneys collected by the county treasurer on any tax duplicate of the county, other than estate tax duplicates, and on all moneys received as advance payments of personal property and classified property taxes, there shall be paid into the county treasury to the credit of the real estate assessment fund created by section 325.31 of the Revised Code, an amount to be determined by the county auditor, which shall not exceed the percentages prescribed in divisions (C)(1) and (2) of this section.  (p) Of an easement or right-of-way when the value of the interest conveyed does not exceed one thousand dollars; Sad truth is many of the Ohio counties along the NEXUS pipeline have not paid these easement conveyance fees. The Coalition to Reroute NEXUS (CoRN) has looked at counties along the NEXUS pipeline route and had found four that are compliant with Ohio law. Current law requires a $3 to $4 per $1000 fee on easements over $1000. $1 of every $1000 goes to the state. Four counties include Summit, Stark, Wood and Lorain are paying some conveyance fees to the Auditor. So far we found Medina, Erie and Fulton counties that were not collecting these fees back in February. Summit and Stark counties were not being paid all fees, requiring further investigation. Two Ohio DT 100EX forms are required by the auditors office….


Pipeline panel set to answer questions from BG

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   For months now, Bowling Green officials have listened to opposing sides of the Nexus pipeline. Mayor Dick Edwards has been particularly frustrated by the conflicting “science” being presented on both sides of the issue. So in an effort to find the facts about the potential risk of the pipeline on Bowling Green’s water treatment plant, the mayor is bringing together a panel of experts on the topic. The panel discussion on the natural gas pipeline and its potential impact on the city’s water source will be held May 8, beginning at 4 p.m., in the council chamber, 304 N. Church St. The discussion will not focus on whether or not the pipeline should be constructed, but whether it poses risks to the city’s water treatment plant, Edwards said. “I want to really focus in on the water treatment plant and the geology,” the mayor said. Edwards is also hoping that any concerns that need to be thoroughly explored are identified during the panel discussion, so the city can notify the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission of the issues. “I’m not naïve that a lot of people are concerned about pipelines in general,” the mayor said. But the panel discussion will focus on the proximity of the pipeline to the water plant. The panel will consist of Dr. Charles Onasch, retired professor emeritus of geology at BGSU; Dr. Andrew Kear, assistant professor of political science and environment and sustainability at BGSU; Mark Baranoski, retired geologist with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources; and Stephen Champa, a senior hygrologist for Eagon & Associates. Steve Kendall,…


BG planning pipeline panel to clear up questions

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,”…


BG seeks scientific facts surrounding pipeline

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green officials would like to dig into the facts around the Nexus pipeline but have no interest getting tangled in a lawsuit. City council was presented with some unsettling scientific information Monday evening, and was asked to file a motion to intervene with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission – which is on the edge of approving the pipeline plans. “We still have the right to insist that the dangerous situation at the pipeline river crossing be fully analyzed,” Lisa Kochheiser, of Bowling Green, said to council. “Time is of the essence here.” A grassroots group opposed to the Nexus pipeline as it crosses Wood County has worked with a Bowling Green State University professor who is a geologist and environmental policy expert. Based on the information found by Dr. Andrew Kear, the group filed a formal motion to intervene with FERC. Kear spoke directly to city council. “I’m not an advocate against natural gas,” he said, noting his appreciation for hot showers. However, the route of the Nexus pipeline, “poses unnerving public health and safety risks.” The initial report submitted to FERC said the Bowling Green Fault Line is deep below the surface, so it is not a concern. However, the fault is so close to the surface that it is visible in places, and is even pointed out by a marker in Farnsworth Park on the other side of the Maumee River. “The pipeline crosses the fault right near the Bowling Green drinking water supply,” Kear said. While the fault line is not active, drilling and lubrication can cause earthquakes,…


BG Council hears geologist’s pipeline concerns

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Bowling Green City Council was again asked Tuesday evening to stand up to plans for a pipeline crossing city property. But this time the request came from geologist Bob Vincent, who wasn’t suggesting that the pipeline be blocked – just that it be done right. Last year, council voted unanimously to deny an easement request for the Nexus pipeline to cross 29 acres of city land located in Middleton Township, about 2.5 miles east of the city’s water treatment plant. But the city is reluctant to take the fight any further, since the battle would likely be expensive and futile. The pipeline company does not yet have eminent domain authority, but is actively pursuing that power. On Tuesday evening, chemist Neocles Leontis and environmental science major Lisa Kochheiser presented more information regarding safety issues with the pipeline being planned. Of greatest concern is the pipeline intersection with the BG fault line and the possible existence of karst carbonated rock in the area. “I’m afraid of this,” Vincent said, suggesting that more data is needed before drilling begins for the pipeline. “I don’t want them to stop it,” since the pipeline could bring revenue to the region, “but I want them to do it right.” Vincent said he is unsure if the pipeline firm can be forced to study the proposed route further. But he added, “it’s not best for the company to try this.” Paul Wohlfarth, questioned the pipeline route. “Why they would put a pipeline across a fault line near the Maumee River is beyond me,” he said. Janice Lower, who lives across…