Green City Council voted to accept a $7.5 million settlement agreement that would end its legal battle in the fight against the construction of a pipeline through the city.
The city has been in a legal fight, spending approximately $165,000, to stop the 36-inch Nexus pipeline from coming through the community. On Wednesday night, city council voted 4-3 to accept the $7.5 million settlement with the company to end the legal fight and allow Nexus to use about 2.5 acres of city property.
One by one, residents voiced their emotional pleas to city council to vote against the in order to keep the legal fight alive. Safety concerns were brought up by more than a dozen residents who addressed council, referencing risk the construction of the pipeline would bring to the community.
“What happens if devastation hits,” Green resident Justin Leonti said. “How much of that $7.5 million will we have left? Not enough to help.”
Those in favor of the settlement cited the city’s difficult position, stating that the legal fight has not stopped Nexus from moving forward with its plans.
“If we vote for this settlement, the pipeline is coming,” Councilman Rocco Yeargin said. “If we reject the settlement the pipeline is coming.”
Mayor Gerard Neugebauer acknowledged the residents’ concerns, noting that those are the same concerns that the city brought up in its legal fight against the pipeline. But the mayor also noted the increasing challenges the city would face in its fight moving forward.
“Here’s something it won’t do,” Neugebauer said. “It won’t stop Nexus from building the pipeline, precisely where they want to put it.”
A trio of votes went against accepting the agreement with Nexus, each council member citing a chance to continue the fight.
“We have zero chance of moving the pipeline out of our parks if we take the deal,” Council member Stephen Dyer said, “I can’t live with those odds.”
Some residents left in tears and others left with uncertainty of what’s to come and the feeling of defeat.
“It’s the David and Goliath story,” Joe Langenfeld said. “It’s hard to fight the giant.”
With the vote, council member Barbara Babbit suggested moving forward with plans to relocate baseball fields and other public areas that are in the potential blast zone where the pipeline will be constructed. She also suggested placing the money from the settlement in a separate account that would be designated to help with any issues with the pipeline.