Petition Signatures Gathered in Green in Hopes of Getting NEXUS Referendum on Ballot; Oberlin Votes Against Settlement With the Pipeline

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click to enlarge The NEXUS pipeline route - FERC
The NEXUS pipeline route

A couple of updates on local fights against NEXUS, the contentious 250-mile natural gas pipeline that received final approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last August and which is already under construction on some parts of its route.

First, out in Oberlin, city council was all set to pass a proposed $100,000 settlement with NEXUS by the end of February. It'd been through two readings already, passing by a 4-3 vote on the second one on Feb. 20.

That same day though, NEXUS filed suit in federal court. It seemed things weren't moving quickly enough for the company, it told council president Bryan Burgess, which had received a court ruling on an eminent domain claim in their favor in December. NEXUS simply couldn't wait any longer, even though Oberlin council was set to vote in favor of the settlement at a third reading, scheduled for earlier this week.

With the new development, council voted 4-3 to reject the deal while it awaits a decision from federal court.

“We had learned that afternoon that they had filed to take possession of the property,” Burgess said at the meeting. “It kind of defeats the purpose of having an agreement if they jump the gun on it. I saw it as them violating the agreement before we even had one. They violated the terms of the agreement that they proposed to us.”

Meanwhile, out in Green, a suburb that had supported citizen's objections to the pipeline route not only in spirit but also materially with a $10,000 donation to the group's efforts, more than 1,500 petition signatures have been collected in an effort to get a referendum on Green city council's $7.5 million settlement agreement with NEXUS for some 20 acres of land.

"Nobody wants a pipeline in their city, nobody wants it in their backyard,” said resident Erin Swartzwelder told Channel 5. “We don’t want to see our children play sports in a blast zone, we don’t want to see property values decrease. And that effects the entire city, not just individual homeowners, but everyone.”

Councilman Matt Shaughnessy, one of three councilmembers to vote against the agreement, hopes the residents of Green get the chance to decide the issue. “I voted against the settlement because I didn’t think it was good for the city of Green,” he told the station. “The first hope is to get it on the ballot and let the citizens choose whether or not they agree to what the council did.”

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