MEDINA – Possible route changes in the proposed NEXUS Pipeline have raised new concerns among some residents and officials around Medina County.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission sent letters to about 100 county property owners early in October stating their land may be along a new route proposed for the NEXUS Pipeline.
The alternative route has been suggested in response to a recommendation for FERC staff in the ongoing environmental review for the project, property owners were told in a letter dated Oct. 6.
To avoid environmentally sensitive areas near Chippewa Lake, FERC staff members have proposed an alternative route which would deviate from the original proposed route just west of where it crosses Interstate 71 and then head northwest for about six miles across a longer section of Montville Township than originally planned. The new route crosses Wooster Pike near Chippewa Road in Montville Township and then cuts across Wedgewood Road near the University Center and Buckeye Woods Park in Lafayette Township.
Reports of possible route variations prompted Montville Township trustees to file a comment with FERC urging that changes in the pipeline route avoid any residential neighborhoods.
Some members of the Medina County Port Authority also expressed concern that a possible route adjustment would bisect Innovation Park and thereby hinder future development options for the property. However, Economic Development Director Bethany Dentler said discussions with NEXUS representatives produced a tweak in the route which satisfied Port Authority members by leaving more developable acreage in the technology park.
Park Director Tom James said the newest route proposal keeps the pipeline off all park land in the county except one point where it will cross the Chippewa Rail Trail. However, James said he would reserve judgement until the final route is determined.
“The route has been moved three times since we were initially contacted,” James said. “Our position is we’ll wait and see where it finally ends up.”
The private citizens now in the path of the most recent route proposal have been invited to share their opinions about it by filing a comment with FERC.
A special comment period for those affected by the new route proposal extends to Nov. 7. Comments about how the new route could affect the environment, measures to reduce the environmental impact and reasonable alternatives can be filed with FERC electronically or by mail.
However, members of the pipeline opposition group Sustainable Medina County consider the special comment period for newly affected property owners to be inadequate and have filed a request with FERC to hold another public participation event in the area and planned a forum at the Medina Library Oct. 24 to organize opposition to the pipeline.
In addition, members of the Coalition to Reroute NEXUS are clinging to the hope that FERC staff will recommend a much more significant route alternative proposed by CORN. That route would bypass most of Medina County and instead take the pipeline through the southern half of Stark and Wayne counties.
“Our route could still be under consideration by FERC,” said CORN spokesman Paul Gierosky. “However, FERC has been quiet about the issue and hasn’t given us any indication they are still evaluating it. We remain confident that the staff of FERC will recommend it as the authorized route for the NEXUS pipeline. This is because it is sensible, logical and superior in every one of the 15 elements FERC uses to evaluate proposed routes.”
FERC is expected to produce its final environmental impact study with a recommended pipeline route in late November or mid-December. That report will then be turned over to the agency commissioners for final approval.
The $2 billion NEXUS Pipeline is intended to carry natural gas from wells in eastern Ohio to Michigan through a 36-inch pressurized pipe. The gas would then be sent on to Windsor, Ontario through existing pipelines. NEXUS representatives said they plan to begin construction early next year and complete it in November 2017.