After years of local opposition, Nexus Gas Transmission can start shipping natural gas through the newly built pipeline that crosses the region.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on Wednesday granted Nexus’ request to start using part of the 36-inch diameter pipeline that runs about 255 miles from Hanover Township in Columbiana County to southern Michigan.
Nexus also can to use a related compressor station and metering facilities.
Medina County resident Paul Gierosky, co-founder of the Coalition to Reroute Nexus, said: “This outcome was preordained after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued its certificate to proceed. This was an expected result of that action.”
But attorney David Mucklow, who represents a group of disgruntled property owners in Green, said Wednesday afternoon that opponents are continuing their fight.
“Turning the gas on doesn’t eliminate the harm or the damages inflicted on the communities and property owners impacted by this," he said. "There are still issues to be heard.”
Appeals against FERC are pending in federal appeals court and could take several months to resolve, Mucklow said.
FERC’s decision on Wednesday means Nexus can ship almost 1 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day, representing nearly two-thirds of the pipeline’s planned capacity. Nexus has said it would submit separate requests to operate the other sections of the pipeline.
Detroit-based DTE Energy and Enbridge, a Canadian company, are partners in the $2.1 billion pipeline.
"For more than four years, we have worked with landowners, key stakeholders, and state and federal agencies to develop a balanced approach to designing, constructing and operating the pipeline," Nexus spokesman Adam Parker wrote in an email. "We are pleased to reach this critical milestone and begin providing a much-needed source of energy to Ohio, Michigan and Ontario."
In a letter, FERC said recent construction reports and third-party monitoring showed that Nexus “has adequately stabilized the areas disturbed by construction and that restoration is now proceeding satisfactorily.”
Nexus has committed to completing restoration as close to Oct. 31 as possible.
As of Friday, NEXUS had completed half of its clean-up and restoration work on the 54-mile section that crosses Columbiana, Stark, Summit and Wayne counties, according to information filed with FERC.
The Canton Repository also reached out to Central Land Consulting, a firm that has filed complaints on the behalf of numerous landowners who blame Nexus for damaging their property or otherwise violating its agreements with them.
On Tuesday, Central Land Consulting filed complaints on behalf of more than 80 landowners, including many farms, who said Nexus construction was keeping them from the normal use of their land, including the harvesting of crops.
ABJ/Ohio.com correspondent George Davis contributed to this report.