GREEN, Ohio (AP) — A Canadian company planning to replace a half-mile section of a high-pressure natural gas pipeline because it runs through an area more heavily populated than originally calculated has refreshed the ire of an Ohio community that fought to stop its construction.
Adam Parker, a spokesman for Calgary-based Enbridge, which operates the NEXUS Gas Transmission pipeline, said the segment being replaced in northeast Ohio's city of Green needs thicker walls "in order to allow us to operate the system in accordance with regulatory requirements" for permitted peak gas demand, the Akron Beacon Journal reported Friday.
The 255-mile-long pipeline stretches across northern Ohio and into Michigan, where much of the gas is transported to a storage hub and trading facility in Ontario, Canada. A partnership between Enbridge and Detroit's DTE Energy spent $2 billion to build the pipeline, which became operational in October and is capable of transporting 1.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day from fracked wells in Appalachian shale fields.
The project before construction finally started faced resistance all along the route. But nowhere was that opposition more fervent than in Green, which filed lawsuits and tried to convince the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to order the partnership to move the pipeline away from that thriving middle-class community. Mayor Gerard Neugebauer in late 2017 told The Associated Press a study showed the pipeline would cost the city tens of millions of dollars in lost economic opportunities.
Yet Green in February 2018 agreed to a $7.5 million settlement with Enbridge and DTE to end the litigation, which many residents and some City Council members vehemently opposed. Neugebauer said then that Green had no choice because it could not stop the pipeline from being built.
Councilman Steve Dyer, a fierce critic, said he wants to know if the replacement project has anything to do with an Enbridge pipeline that exploded Aug. 1 in central Kentucky, killing one person and injuring five others. The explosion sent a ball of flames 300 feet into the air.
"I'm extremely concerned," Dyer said.
Parker said there is no link between the project and the explosion. He said the company is working with the three Green residents affected by the $8.5 million project. Work is expected to begin by early October.
Green city spokeswoman Valerie Wolford said Enbridge "put a perfectly good section of pipe in the ground" that was within regulatory limits.
Diane Petralla, who lives about 500 feet from the project site, said she is "disgusted." She said neighbors who put their homes up for sale had to pull them from the market because they could not find buyers.
"Every time I hear fireworks I jump," Petralla said. "In the future, I'm going to get the hell out of Green."