As Formal Review Gets Underway, Critics Organize Against Pipeline Project

The proposed pipeline route. Credit: Spectra Energy
The proposed pipeline route. Credit: Spectra Energy
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Spectra Energy and DTE Energy say their 250-mile underground pipeline would create jobs during construction, and boost regional economies long-term by improving manufacturers’ natural gas access.

But critics fear it’ll bring something else.

"We’re interested in property devaluation. We’re interested in safety. We’re interested in the impact on the Oak Openings area," said Liz Athaide-Victor, head of the Fulton County chapter of the Coalition to Reroute NEXUS. Her home is along the proposed pipeline route.

The Oak Openings area along Ohio’s border with Michigan hosts a rare ecosystem with wetlands and sand dunes.

Athaide-Victor’s group protested at one of the open information sessions that NEXUS developers held recently as an early part of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s required review process.

Arthur Diestel, spokesman for NEXUS Gas Transmission, said the point of the meetings is to address community concerns before the proposal is finalized.

"The route is not fixed. It has shifted and will continue to shift based on feedback we receive from stakeholders," he said.

The companies aim to negotiate agreements with landowners and will use eminent domain only as a last resort, Diestel said. He said they’ll give the feds a final proposal in late 2015, and want to have the pipeline in service by the end of 2017.

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