GUEST VIEW: Proceed with caution on NEXUS pipeline

The following editorial was published in the Oct. 13 edition of the Repository, Canton, Ohio:

(TNS) On Thursday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) gave NEXUS Gas Transmissions approval to begin construction of its massive natural gas pipeline. While we support the project for the positive economic impact it could bring to the region, we caution the builders to do so in a safe way that doesn’t affect our infrastructure or environment, specifically our water supply. And it’s with good reason.

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has cited the Rover Pipeline project, which has no connection to NEXUS, multiple times this year during its construction. The most recent citation came two weeks ago when, the Ohio EPA said, soapy wastewater and sediment was spilled into a Carroll County stream during work in September, as reported by Repository writer Shane Hoover on Sept. 25.

In April, 2 million gallons of drilling slurry spilled while workers bored beneath the Tuscarawas River in Bethlehem Township. It’s not yet known what the environmental impact will be from these spills, but it does not inspire confidence.

NEXUS, smaller in size than Rover, is a 36-inch-diameter pipeline that will carry 1.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day from the Utica and Marcellus shale regions to users in Ohio, Michigan and Canada. The 255-mile pipeline will start near Hanoverton in Columbiana County and connect to existing pipelines in Michigan, Hoover reported Thursday. Locally, the pipeline route will cross Washington, Nimishillen, Marlboro and Lake townships in Stark County and the city of Green in southern Summit County.

The project is expected to start this month and take seven to 10 months, depending on weather and other factors.

We understand with a project of this size there will be problems along the way. But we hope the project proceeds with caution and follows the guidelines FERC has set forth, like providing more specific information when drilling under highways, rivers and other obstacles. FERC also is requiring NEXUS to repair or replace drainage tiles and springs damaged during construction, monitor crop productivity on farms crossed by the pipeline and develop a system for handling environmental complaints.

For years, drillers in the Utica and Marcellus shales have said their biggest problem, aside from low crude oil prices, is they didn’t have a good way to move natural gas to areas where they can make money. These pipeline projects can solve that problem. And if done in a responsible way, a pipeline is the most efficient and environmentally friendly way to ship the gas. The alternative is shipping it by truck, which not only would be more dangerous, but also more harmful to our environment and to existing infrastructure, such as roads and bridges.

This project should boost our community, not just an industry. When carried out with care for our land and other resources, we will continue to support this and other natural gas projects.


Posted by Tribune News Services

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