Bob Downing


WADSWORTH: Michael Simmons of New Franklin is very unhappy about the proposed Nexus pipeline.



It would come within 71 feet of his house, 73 feet of his well and go through his septic system, he said Wednesday at a public meeting that drew nearly 200 people to Wadsworth High School.



“What am I supposed to do? This is so frustrating, it really is,” he said. “Nexus has turned my American dream into a nightmare.” He asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to “help restore my American dream.”



FERC held a “scoping” meeting to hear concerns from the public about the pipeline project. A few speakers supported building the pipeline, while many suggested routing it through less developed areas of northern Ohio.



Tim Dundr of Montville Township said he feared the pipeline would threaten aquifers and drinking water, devalue property and pose a safety threat. He also questioned how a private company could use eminent domain to acquire land.



Paul Girosky of York Township in Medina County said he strongly favored “a more southerly route” for the pipeline.



John Strong of Guilford Township said running pipelines through a more urban area “defies all common sense.” The pipeline, he added, should use a “more logical and less destructive route.”



Elizabeth Jarrell of Guilford Township said she feared a pipeline explosion or leaks.



“This pipeline is for profit only. This pipeline does not fit in” with Medina County, she said. “It is dangerous and disrespectful.”



About 45 people spoke, with Teamsters and Operating Engineers union members among those who said they favor the project.



Chris Camino of Local 18 of the Operating Engineers said his union supports the pipeline because it “would be a critical economic development for Ohio.”



The $2 billion pipeline would stretch 250 miles from Columbiana County to Defiance in northwest Ohio. It would run north into Michigan and connect with existing pipelines into Ontario.



The project is being developed by Texas-based Nexus Gas Transmission LLC along with Detroit-based DTE Energy Co. and Texas-based Spectra Energy Partners.



The 36-inch-in-diameter pipeline is designed to handle up to 1.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day from eastern Ohio’s Utica Shale. That’s enough gas to fuel about 6 million homes.



It would run 12 miles through New Franklin and Green in Summit County, 19.8 miles through Stark County, 6 miles through Wayne County and 22 miles through Medina County where a compressor station would also be built.



If approved, construction could begin in January 2017 — and the pipeline could begin operations the following November.



Critics, including the city of Green and the grass-roots Coalition to Reroute Nexus, are urging the FERC to reroute the Nexus pipeline to the south away from the more-developed Akron-Canton area to a less-populated rural area.



That would require moving about 103 miles of pipeline to southern Stark and Wayne counties, then western Wayne, Medina and Lorain counties. From there, the original route would resume. It would reduce the number of affected landowners from 4,517 to 1,393. It would add about 10 miles to the pipeline.



That proposal has gotten a chilly reception in southern Stark County.



A second FERC meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday in Stark County at Louisville High School, 1201 S. Nickelplate St.



Bob Downing can be reached at 330-996-3745 or bdowning@thebeaconjournal.com.