Homeowners sue to stop Ohio gas pipeline construction

In this April 20, 2017 photo, a sign opposing a proposed pipeline sits in the front yard of a house in Green, Ohio. The town has hired a law firm to stop the pipeline from being built through the community. (AP Photo/Dake Kang)

AKRON, OH (AP) — More than 60 property owners in northeast Ohio are asking a federal court to block a proposed high-pressure natural gas pipeline.

Organizers of the Coalition to Reroute Nexus say a suit filed Friday in U.S. district court charges that the project violates the owners’ due process rights, misuses eminent domain to take property, and jeopardizes their safety. It seeks injunctions against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and Nexus Gas Transmission.

“This complaint has been a long time in development,” said Paul Gierosky, a co-founder of the group. “Our every experience in dealing with FERC and Nexus has been documented and will be brought to bear in this case.”

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The lawsuit contends that the federal commission and used false and misleading information designed to trick property owners into waiving their constitutional rights. It urges the court to enjoin FERC from issuing a certificate to Nexus for the pipeline.

Nexus spokesman Adam Parker said that while the company can’t comment on pending litigation, it has undergone “rigorous environmental review and has been publicly evaluated for more than two years” and that the project will meet all applicable state and federal regulations.

A message for comment was emailed to the commission.

The city of Green is also considering a lawsuit to stop the pipeline, which it says will cause economic harm and hurt environmentally fragile wetlands.

Nexus has said the pipeline will provide a new source of natural gas to businesses in Ohio and Michigan.

Nexus Gas Transmission is a partnership of Calgary, Alberta-based Enbridge and Detroit’s DTE Energy. The company wants to build 255 miles of pipeline carrying as much as 1.5 billion cubic feet (42.5 million cubic meters) of gas per day from the Utica and Marcellus shale formations in Appalachia across northern Ohio and into Michigan.

The company has told the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission some of the gas will be shipped to a trading hub and storage facility Enbridge owns in Ontario, Canada. Enbridge merged this year with Houston-based Spectra Energy, DTE’s original partner.

Pipeline opponents argue that a Canadian company like Enbridge shouldn’t be allowed to take property from U.S. landowners.

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