Nexus Pipeline

BG checks on Nexus pipeline construction under river

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green and EPA officials met Monday with the Nexus pipeline construction team at the drilling site for the Maumee River crossing. Mayor Dick Edwards promised the Bowling Green community he would make sure experts were watching when the river crossing was done – to make sure it went smoothly. The natural gas pipeline runs very close to the city’s water treatment plant, which gets its water from the Maumee River. “According to the engineering staff, there are no surprises or impediments to date, and the project is proceeding in keeping with the planned schedule,” Edwards reported to City Council Monday evening. The first stage of the river crossing, which is well underway, involves drilling a small diameter pilot hole along a designated directional path. Monday’s briefing from Nexus specifically dealt with the horizontal-directional drilling technology, the project timeline, plus safety and compliance. Attending the meeting with Nexus personnel was the mayor, City Council President Mike Aspacher, BG water treatment plant superintendent Mike Fields, Ohio EPA Director Craig Butler, and Ohio Regional EPA Director Shannon Nabors. Edwards said he is satisfied with the attention to safety on the project. He said all of the 39 conditions outlined by FERC in response to Bowling Green concerns, were being addressed. “It’s something I keep close at hand,” the mayor said about the 39 conditions the pipeline must meet. “The questions raised by Bowling Green are being addressed.” The pipeline construction is under constant monitoring by the Ohio EPA, plus a FERC on-site compliance officer. The mayor said Fields is keeping a close eye on the Bowling Green water intake, located just upriver from the pipeline river crossing. “I know that he is monitoring the situation very, very carefully,” he said of Fields. Aspacher shared the mayor’s relief about the project. “I was very impressed with the degree of oversight,” he said. “It was clear our concerns were being heard.” Edwards said he discussed with EPA officials the environmental damage caused elsewhere in Ohio by the Rover pipeline construction. “The work on this project is being done in an entirely different way,” he said. “They’ve learned a lot from that process.” Edwards talked about the value of the city holding public forums on the pipeline, taking testimony from experts, and recording questions from citizens. “We were heard,” he said. The mayor has been assured that EPA officials will be prepared to respond to problems 24/7. “They are ready to respond quickly,” he said. Also at Monday’s meeting, Edwards presented a…


BG asked to monitor pipeline crossing of Maumee River

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   One of the strongest voices against the Nexus pipeline was back at Bowling Green City Council Monday evening. He lost his battle to stop the pipeline with a charter amendment – so he is now hoping to make sure construction of the line is monitored for safety. Brad Holmes asked for confirmation that the city will keep its commitment to monitor the pipeline underground crossing of the Maumee River. City officials assured that they would. The natural gas Nexus pipeline will run from eastern Ohio to Canada, and be buried just 800 feet from Bowling Green’s water treatment plant along its route. So Holmes said he was asking for the line to be monitored on behalf of all the people who rely on the city’s water. Holmes mentioned the poor environmental record of Rover Pipeline, which has spilled drilling fluid during its construction process in southern Ohio. The Nexus line is currently under construction and will likely be done by the end of summer. Mayor Dick Edwards said he has every intention to work very closely with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. “They are the ones who will be doing the monitoring” since they have the equipment and knowledge, he said. Edwards said he will keep council and the public in the loop on when the river crossing work is scheduled. Council President Mike Aspacher said Ohio EPA Director Craig Butler promised his agency would be very hands-on during the river crossing construction. “We’re very well on the record with our concerns,” he said. And the Ohio EPA was responsive. “They are very mindful of the lessons they learned in southern Ohio,” from the Rover spills, Aspacher said. Council member John Zanfardino agreed. “They were going to be heightening their monitoring,” he said. Also at Monday’s meeting, Aspacher congratulated council members Bill Herald, Sandy Rowland and Zanfardino for coming up with a food truck ordinance. City Attorney Mike Marsh is now working on the exact language of the ordinance. The council committee of the whole will meet May 21, at 6 p.m., to review the proposed food truck ordinance. Al Alvord, who resides in Bowling Green and Florida, thanked the city for working on the “monumental task” of creating a mobile food vendor ordinance. Alvord, a retired BG police officer, has a hot dog vending business. Also at Monday’s meeting, Public Utilities Director Brian O’Connell reported that one of the city’s wind turbines needs maintenance for a bad gear box. Two…


BG voters reject anti-pipeline charter amendment

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Many Bowling Green residents distrust pipelines, but they also disliked the charter amendment intended to keep the lines off city land. The charter amendment, proposed by Bowling Green Climate Protectors, failed on Tuesday by a vote of 2,145 (39 percent) to 3,408 (61 percent). “I’m grateful to the voters of Bowling Green for protecting the integrity of the city charter,” Mayor Dick Edwards said as the results came in. The proposed Bowling Green charter amendment was intended to give the community rights to a healthy environment and livable climate. But while that was the intent, critics said the words went far beyond those reasonable rights. Despite defeat on Tuesday, the group behind the charter amendment is not daunted, said Brad Holmes, of the Climate Protectors organization. “We’re going to keep our options open,” Holmes said. And while the issue failed at the polls, it succeeded at making people more aware of the threats from pipelines, he said. “We raised awareness about the severity of these type of issues in Bowling Green,” Holmes said. “We hope to inspire other communities to do such initiatives.” The Bowling Green Climate Protectors, saw the charter amendment as a way for citizens to intervene if the city does not adequately protect its citizens from harm to their environment. The charter amendment would have given citizens a right to peaceably protest projects such as the Nexus pipeline that is planned near Bowling Green’s water treatment plant in Middleton Township. However, the language of the charter amendment seemed to doom the proposal. “It’s a far reaching, almost anarchy type of proposal,” City Attorney Mike Marsh said. “It allows citizens on their own to take actions they deem necessary to protect the environment. It’s up to anybody’s interpretation.” The charter amendment proponents claimed the proposal was Bowling Green’s one chance to protect the city’s water treatment plant from the Nexus natural gas pipeline running 700 feet from the reservoir for the plant. But critics have said this amendment would have no impact on the Nexus pipeline plans. The majority of council members were opposed to the charter amendment and also stressed that the amendment had no place in the Bowling Green City Charter, which has been preserved for city government operations. City Council, however, did take action to deny easements to the pipeline, which gave the city more time to study the issue. Edwards brought in a panel of experts to discuss the threats from the pipeline, and has written letters to legislators and the…


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 has worked at several universities. The mayor also agreed that Holmes was “absolutely correct” in his comments when he talked about municipalities being virtually powerless…


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 isn’t fighting it. “We’re not contesting their ability to condemn the property,” Marsh said. According to Lodge, Bowling Green’s action has given Nexus the ability…


“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 allowed, per their Charter, to use city roads for pipeline construction, which would make it impossible for the pipeline to be built on its proposed…


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 County, plus to Waterville in Lucas County. Edwards also stressed that Nexus must inform city officials of the pipeline construction schedule. “I don’t want to…


Accusations fly at council meeting over charter amendment

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Supporters of the Bowling Green Charter Amendment on the Nov. 7 ballot accused their opponents Monday evening of engaging in “smear politics to sway the vote.” But one of several Bowling Green City Council members opposed to the charter amendment called the proposal “an attempt to legalize anarchy.” The charter amendment proponents spoke first at Monday’s City Council meeting. Lisa Kochheiser said the amendment purpose is “expanding rights of people to protect their families and community” against environmental harm. She spoke of the Nexus pipeline route that is proposed near the city’s water treatment plant, and said that a second pipeline by the same company is in the works. Wood County is “caught in the crosshairs” of many pipelines since it is located on the natural gas route from southeast Ohio to Canada. Kochheiser accused city leaders of knowing two years in advance about the Nexus project, but not telling the public. She asked when the city was going to inform the public about the second proposed pipeline. Though city council denied an easement for the pipeline, that was the only action taken to stop the project, she said. City council “refused” to take formal action against the pipeline, did not pass an ordinance against the project, and would not file complaints about the proposal. “The city refuses to support the rights of the people,” she said. Kochheiser was also critical of multiple council members who have stated that the issue does not belong in the city charter – that it would “sully the pristine charter.” “Seriously people. Who are you protecting?” she asked. Kochheiser accused the opponents of “spreading hysterical rumors” and of engaging in “smear politics to sway the vote.” Next to speak was Brad Holmes, who said the charter amendment proponents were forced to petition for the change because city council would not act. He said the document allows citizens to “peacefully demonstrate” against pipelines and other environmental threats without the risk of being arrested. Then Sally Medbourn Mott spoke of her concern about the city not having an ordinance to keep oil and gas operations out of the city. Without such language in the City Charter, the city is “powerless” to keep such operations out, she said. At the end of the meeting, council member Bob McOmber added to his criticisms against the charter amendment that he voiced last month. At that time, he spoke primarily about how the amendment had no place in the city’s charter which focuses solely on the mechanics…


Second BG council member against charter amendment

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   A second Bowling Green City Council member has come out in opposition to the proposed charter amendment which is aimed to stop pipelines and protect a healthy climate and environment. Just as Monday’s council meeting was coming to a close, Bruce Jeffers asked to speak his mind on the ballot issue. Last month, council member Bob McOmber spoke out in opposition to the charter amendment. Jeffers said the city has taken all the steps possible on the pipeline issue. City Council rejected an easement request for the Nexus pipeline. And Mayor Dick Edwards bought in a panel of experts to discuss the risks involved with the pipeline proposed so close to the city’s water treatment plant. The mayor also reached out to the Ohio EPA and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which responded to specific concerns expressed by city officials. “We in Bowling Green are not the experts on pipelines,” Jeffers said. That is FERC’s job, he added. “It is beyond our expertise and power.” Jeffers said the proposed charter amendment would be difficult to work with and is too far-reaching. “I find the amendment cumbersome,” he said. “And there’s almost no chance of it standing up in court.” Earlier in the meeting, City Attorney Mike Marsh was asked about the status of the proposed charter amendment. The issue is still waiting for a ruling by the Ohio Supreme Court, he said. But because the Wood County Board of Elections could not wait for the decision, the charter amendment is already on the printed ballots for the Nov. 7 election. Also at Monday’s council meeting, Municipal Administrator Lori Tretter reported on the use of the Community Development Block Grants in the past year. The grants, administered by Tina Bradley, were used for the following projects: 7 mobile home repair projects. 3 elderly home repair projects. 2 direct homeownership assistance projects. 2 home repairs. 1 rental rehabilitation (Wood Lane Residential). 97 BG Transit reduced fare ID cards issued to adults who are disabled or elderly. 113 homeless people received transitional housing (partnership with Salvation Army). 7 jobs created via business revolving loan funds. In other business at Monday’s meeting: Edwards declared Oct. 15 as Crop Hunger Walk Day. The walk will take place at 1 p.m. in City Park. Brandy Laux, from Wood County Children’s Services talked about the renewal 1.3 mill levy for Wood County Human Services. The funding goes to protect children and the elderly from abuse. The levy has not been increased since 1987, and…


Two sides at odds over proposed BG charter amendment

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Words matter. The proposed Bowling Green charter amendment is intended to give the community rights to a healthy environment and livable climate. But while that may be the intent, critics say the words go far beyond those reasonable rights. The wording of the charter amendment may be difficult for voters to digest. The supporters interpret it as giving citizens a right to peaceably protest projects such as the Nexus pipeline that is planned near Bowling Green’s water treatment plant. But others see the wording as so open to interpretation that it goes far beyond what most city residents would want. It hardly seems possible the two sides of the Bowling Green charter amendment issue are talking about the same two pages of text when they describe the proposal. Lisa Kochheiser and Brad Holmes, of the Bowling Green Climate Protectors, see the charter amendment as a way for citizens to intervene if the city does not adequately protect its citizens from harm to their environment. “We’re not trying to overthrow the government. We want to strengthen our government by adding to citizen rights,” Holmes said. The majority of people don’t want pipelines in or near their communities, he said. “This is going to be the most tangible way of people legally protesting.” City attorney Mike Marsh doesn’t want pipeline in the city either. And if there were a ballot issue to not allow Nexus on city land, he would support it. But the charter amendment goes far beyond that, he said. “It’s a far reaching, almost anarchy type of proposal,” Marsh said. “It allows citizens on their own to take actions they deem necessary to protect the environment. It’s up to anybody’s interpretation.” Kochheiser said the charter amendment will allow citizens to protest a pipeline or other threats to the environment by peaceful protests, like a sit-in or forming of human chains. “This gives us the right to do it without the threat of being thrown in jail,” she said. “We’re not going to be throwing rocks. We’re not going to be looting,” Holmes said. But the charter amendment draws no lines at the types of “non-violent direct action” that would be allowed. If people found the transportation of fuel tanker trucks to be a threat, “you could have a sit-in on I-75,” Marsh said. “That would be non-violent, but it would create chaos.” And if a citizen doesn’t approve of a neighbor’s use of fertilizer on their lawn, they would have the right to flood their neighbor’s…


Board of Elections rules pipeline charter amendment can be on ballot – appeal already filed with Ohio Supreme Court

The anti-pipeline petition for a Bowling Green charter amendment has won a battle to get on the ballot this November. But the opposition has already filed an appeal with the Ohio Supreme Court. The Wood County Board of Elections reported today that it has ruled in favor of the petitioners asking for Bowling Green voters to be able to cast ballots on a charter amendment against pipelines. A hearing was held last week after a city resident, David W. Espen, who is a member of the plumber-pipefitters union, protested the petition. Espen, who was represented by Donald McTigue, of Columbus, said the petitions submitted did not have enough valid signatures, specifically noting the signatures of five BGSU students who used their residence hall addresses rather than their street addresses. The Board of Elections determined the five signatures meet the street address requirement and are valid. Espen’s protest also questioned the constitutionality of the charter amendment, saying it required the city to give citizens authority that the city does not possess. The Board of Elections also concluded the protester had not presented sufficient evidence that the issue should not appear on the ballot. “This is good news,” said Lisa Kochheiser, one of the citizens pushing for the charter amendment. “Now we just have to wait and see if the protester will take it to the Ohio Supreme Court.” That appeal will have to be submitted quickly, since the charter amendment is scheduled to appear on the November ballot in Bowling Green. “There’s a time crunch here,” Kochheiser said. McTigue said late this afternoon that he had already filed an appeal today with Ohio Supreme Court. McTigue said he has respect for the Wood County Board of Elections, “but I think they are incorrect about the law.”


Anti-pipeline amendment doesn’t belong in city charter, McOmber says

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Just as the environmentalists don’t believe pipelines belong near the city’s water treatment plant, a Bowling Green City Council member doesn’t believe the proposed anti-pipeline charter amendment belongs in the city’s “pristine” charter. The anti-pipeline charter amendment remains in legal limbo – but just in case it’s cleared for the ballot in November, council member Bob McOmber cautioned about the language that may be inserted into the city’s charter. The proposed charter amendment is very difficult to understand, he said. And the portions McOmber does understand, he finds “highly objectionable.” “It’s inappropriate to insert that cause into the city charter,” he said during Monday’s council meeting. McOmber said the local residents behind the anti-pipeline charter amendment are a special interest group. While there is nothing inherently wrong with special interest groups, their views don’t belong in the city’s charter. “The proposal puts the cause of one special interest in the charter,” he said. The city’s charter is “pristine,” and has always been reserved for the mechanisms of city government. “I think it would be a mistake to insert special interests in the city charter,” he said. McOmber referred to the inflated Ohio constitution that has been allowed to grow into a “complete mess and embarrassment.” McOmber mentioned the successful anti-discrimination ordinances adopted by citizens a few years ago. That effort went through council to help with the drafting and adopting of the ordinances. “That is so much more appropriate,” he said. “This would be a mistake for the city.” McOmber, who is not running for re-election, suggested that prior to the election every council candidate should state their opinion on the proposed charter amendment. “The citizenry deserves to know where people stand,” he said. “My position is steadfast and will not change.” Even if the charter amendment did get on the ballot, and did get passed by voters, it would not stop the Nexus pipeline, McOmber said. “This is not going to make one iota of difference,” he said. “Federal law is heavily weighted against them.” Council member Bruce Jeffers said that the environmentalists pushing for the charter amendment have already made a difference. They may not be successful changing the path of the pipeline, but their efforts led council to refuse an easement to the pipeline company, he said. “That sort of gave us time to think it through a little more,” Jeffers said. Mayor Dick Edwards contacted the Ohio EPA and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and demanded answers to concerns about the city’s water plant….


Anti-pipeline charter amendment now in limbo

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The legal battle to get an anti-pipeline charter amendment on Bowling Green’s ballot has come down to two sides – those who want to stop the pipeline and those who would want the jobs building it. On Thursday morning, the petition submitted by citizen activists worried about the effect of Nexus pipeline on the city’s water plant was challenged by a Bowling Green man who is a member of the local plumber-pipefitter union. The Wood County Board of Elections took information from both sides and will come back with a decision. Last week, the Wood County Board of Elections voted to allow the November ballot to include the controversial charter amendment. However, then a Bowling Green resident, David W. Espen, filed a protest with the board of elections about the charter amendment. Espen was not present at Thursday’s hearing, but was represented by the Columbus law firm McTigue & Colombo. Espen’s objections cite two possible problems with the charter amendment petition – one questioning the number of valid signatures, and the other questioning the authority of the city to grant the power requested in the petition. The complaint zeroed in on five specific signatures. Normally, that might not matter if a handful of signatures were found to be invalid. However, the pipeline petition had only one more signature than required to appear on the ballot. A total of 1,230 signatures were collected on the petition. By law, to make it on the ballot, the petition needed 714 valid signatures. It had 715. The five signatures in question are from Bowling Green State University students who live on campus and therefore have dual addresses of their residence halls and of street addresses. Terry Burton, of the Wood County Board of Elections, testified that the board cross checks street addresses and dorm addresses, and allows either for students when they register and cast ballots during elections. The Ohio Secretary of State appears to support this process, according to Terry Lodge, attorney for the citizens behind the petition. However, Donald McTigue disagreed. “The law requires you to put down your street address,” not university residence hall, McTigue said after the hearing. “The law clearly requires that they have the legal street address.” On the second challenge, McTigue said the charter amendment exceeds the city’s role allowed in the Ohio Constitution. The protest claims the issue goes beyond the limits permitted to municipalities. Lodge said the Wood County Board of Elections already considered the constitutionality argument, and decided the issue should…