While several pipeline projects continued to move forward throughout the state, some new natural gas pipeline construction were stalled for several months as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) searched for new commissioners to add to its board.
Two new commissioners were confirmed by the U.S. Senate in August, giving the federal agency’s governing board quorum for the first time since the end of February.
With a quorum now in place, FERC wasted no time on approving the next steps for natural gas pipelines in the Buckeye State.
At the end of August, the commission approved the permit to begin building the high-pressure NEXUS pipeline that will carry natural gas across northern Ohio, into Michigan and on to Canada. It is a pipeline running north of the nearly completed ET Rover pipeline.
“Project developments are proceeding rather quickly,” said Dale Arnold, OFBF director of energy policy. “We could see construction (begin) later this fall during harvest.”
Arnold said that officials with the NEXUS Gas Transmission pipeline, a partnership between Canada-based Enbridge and Detroit-based DTE Energy, will work with farmers who have crops in the right-of-way should construction start this fall. However, in issuing its certificate, FERC placed several conditions on the NEXUS pipeline, many of which are important to Farm Bureau members, Arnold said. Those conditions include filing of an agricultural impact mitigation plan and a drainage tile mitigation plan, creating a five-year post construction monitoring program, establishing a team of environmental inspectors and implementing complaint resolution procedures.
NEXUS submitted filings in September to address these conditions. They are currently under final review with FERC. As with all proposed pipeline projects, Arnold encourages landowners to seek out Farm Bureau as a resource when approached by a pipeline company. As easements and related agreements are reached and the process moves forward, he encourages those impacted to take detailed notes and photographs on pipeline construction across their property. NEXUS is required to send each impacted landowner a copy of the company’s complaint resolution procedures to address problems during construction.
Public outreach has begun for the Buckeye Express pipeline, slated to run south from Vinton County to the Ohio River. TransCanada’s Columbia Gas Transmission project proposes to replace about 64 miles of pipeline along that route. Buckeye Express is the southern connector of the Columbia Leach Express pipeline project. TransCanada plans to file an application for construction with FERC in January.