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Opponents Of Nexus Pipeline Still Have Some Options

The City of Green's alternate route, in blue, to the south of the approved route through the city, in red. [photo courtesy of City of Green]

Late on Friday, the federal government approved a $2 billion natural gas pipeline that will pass through Northern Ohio on its way to Michigan, but the widespread opposition to the project isn’t giving up just yet.

The pipeline would run through the City of Green, in Summit County, and its government opposes the project. Officials submitted an alternate route in 2015 to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which issued the permit, that would divert the 250-mile pipeline around the growing Akron suburb. It was rejected.

But, says Green Mayor Gerard Neugebauer, the company still needs permits and land rights from property owners before building.

“They’ll have to come to us to get permits, approval, to come through our right-of-ways. I’m sure they can force us in court to give those to them but those are all things they have to complete before they can put pipe in the ground," says Neugebauer.

According to their permit from FERC, NEXUS already has rights to build on 90 percent of its route across Ohio and Michigan. But Mayor Neugebauer says the number is much lower, probably around 60 percent, in Green and they'll be watching while the company tries to secure the rest. The permit from FERC gives the company the power to take land if owners refuse the company’s offer.

“They don’t take into account the loss of value to your property, they like to just give you a dollar value per linear foot and move on. It’s not very fair. So we’re going to make sure that we’re treated fairly through this process and we’re going to put up the fight where a lot of the residents don’t have the resources," says Neugebauer.

NEXUS also needs a water quality certification from the state of Ohio before building.

Matthew Richmond is a reporter/producer focused on criminal justice issues at Ideastream Public Media.