OBERLIN — Construction has started this week on the NEXUS Gas Transmission pipeline in south Oberlin.
“Specialized teams with years of extensive experience monitor the building process from start to finish to ensure there is minimal disturbance to landowners and the environment during pipeline construction and restoration,” said NEXUS spokesman Adam Parker in an email.
The 255.8-mile pipeline was given the all-clear after months of litigation by homeowners and communities in its path from Columbiana County in eastern Ohio passing through Medina and Lorain counties seeking to block the pipeline. Construction in Ohio began in March after the Federal Energy Regulation Commission’s August approval of the plan and a federal judge’s December ruling that ended the main lawsuit trying to stop it.
In south Oberlin, crews have set up access routes for workers and equipment to sites along state Route 58 and Reserve Avenue as well as West Hamilton Street and South Pyle-Amherst Road.
The pipeline also will run through Pittsfield and New Russia townships. In all, about 5.11 acres of land will be used, according to a plan approved by FERC.
The community reacted to the construction in Oberlin with mixed reviews.
Kim Annable, owner of Wild Goose Gardens Ltd. and Wild Goose Inn on West Hamilton Road, said she’s noticed construction but hasn’t seen anything too distracting. In the coming months, she said, she assumes it might get more disruptive.
“Well, of course I have concerns that it would be an issue, but there’s nothing much I can do about it,” she said.
Some residents from Oberlin Reserve Condominiums said the daily construction lasts from about 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. but it hasn’t bothered many of them. Larry Barbee, a resident on Nantucket Circle and president of the local homeowners association, said he lives about 50 feet away from where a portion of the pipeline will be placed. Barbee, who said he could see the construction from his backyard, said it doesn’t bother him.
“I don’t see a problem with it myself; I think it’s going to be one of the things that’s going to come and go,” Barbee said, emphasizing he spoke only for himself as a resident. “And, as anything else, it will be forgotten in years.”
John Elder, vice president of the Oberlin chapter of Communities for Safe and Sustainable Energy, issued a statement denouncing the construction of the pipeline.
“Communities for Safe and Sustainable (Energy) will continue to protest and work against NEXUS and the proliferation of fracking infrastructure,” the statement read. “We are participating in efforts to reform the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and we support those commissioners who are urging FERC to give serious consideration to the total impact of excessive pipeline construction.”
The NEXUS pipeline has had a history of resistance in Oberlin. In November 2013, voters approved the Community Bill of Rights that would “ban the extraction of gas and oil, along with associated activities, including the disposal of associated wastes, into injection wells within the city and its jurisdiction.”
Oberlin City Council, along with a number of other cities and property owners in Northeast Ohio, sued in federal court to stop the construction of the pipeline over the past few years. Most of the opposition was halted in December after a ruling from U.S. Judge John Adams in Akron in which he dismissed a lawsuit filed by more than 60 property owners against construction of the pipeline.
Oberlin Council also rejected an agreement with the pipeline in March because NEXUS filed with the federal court to take immediate possession of the property ahead of the final readings, nullifying the agreement.
Pipeline construction of the 209.3 miles in Ohio started in March and is projected to end between July and September, Parker said in an email.
Parker said the installation process usually follows a standard set of steps, including surveying the area, clearing vegetation and brush and leveling the site’s surface. The process also will include digging a trench for the pipeline, laying the pipeline sections (usually 40 to 80 feet long) and shaping and welding them together.
After inspecting the welded areas for any problems, workers will cover the welds with corrosion-resistant coating and fill the trenches.
The $2.1 billion NEXUS pipeline, proposed in August 2014, is a business partnership of Detroit-based DTE Energy and Spectra Energy, which is owned by Calgary, Alberta-based Enbridge Inc.
Project construction costs will be covered by Spectra Energy. The project includes 255.8 miles of pipeline — 209.3 miles in Ohio — four compressor stations and five metering and regulating stations. All compressor stations will be in Ohio.
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