FERC Allows Rover to Use HDD in 4 More Locations, Incl Ohio River

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last Thursday granted Rover Pipeline permission to resume horizontal directional drilling (HDD) at four more locations where it had been stopped. One of those locations is drilling under the Ohio River in the Majorsville area. Rover is a $3.7 billion, 711-mile natural gas pipeline that (will eventually) run from PA, WV and eastern OH through OH into Michigan and on to Canada. A large portion of the pipeline began flowing natural gas on Sept. 1st (see Big Portion of Rover Pipeline Now Up & Running – Thru Most of Ohio). Since then, Phase 1A of the pipeline has steadily increased its throughput and now flows over 1.2 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of Utica/Marcellus Shale gas to Defiance, OH (see Rover Pipe Nearly Doubles Flow with Addition of Carroll, OH Compressor). However, it could flow more, if the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) would allow Rover to finish Phase 1B pipeline work in OH/WV to feed more gas to the main part of the pipeline. The problem is that Rover had early missteps, the most serious of which spilled 2 million gallons of non-toxic drilling mud in a swamp (i.e. “wetland”) near the Tuscarawas River back in April (see Rover Pipeline Accident Spills ~2M Gal. Drilling Mud in OH Swamp). Following that and several other mishaps, FERC shut down all Rover HDD work–for months. Gradually FERC has allowed Rover to resume HDD work, and with this latest round of four more HDD locations, it appears to us that only two HDD locations remain on the “do not drill yet” list, one of them being the Tuscarawas River location…
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Anti-NEXUS Referendum in Bowling Green, OH Defeated by Huge Margin

When we notice municipal referendums and ballot measures related to blocking shale drilling and pipelines, we always highlight them. Such a ballot measure appeared on the ballot in Bowling Green (Wood County), OH on Tuesday. We honestly were not aware of it prior to reading an article in the Toledo Blade. The ballot measure called for a ban on pipelines that flow natural gas and other fossil fuels over city-owned property. It’s aim is to prevent NEXUS Pipeline from building nearby. Antis got enough signatures for this glittering jewel to appear on the November ballot. And how did the good people of Bowling Green vote? They saw right through this one–voting it DOWN by a huge margin: 61%-39%. That’s a blowout, politically. But you know antis. Nothing, including the truth, will ever change their minds. The Bowling Green ballot measure was the work of out-of-towners–the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF)–about whom we’ve written plenty (see our CELDF stories here). CELDF, based in Pennsylvania, targets towns with sufficiently large pockets of nutters who will sign on to their garbage. As they usually have to do, the CELDF needed to ramrod the Bowling Green ballot measure through a lengthy legal process, eventually getting permission from the Ohio Supreme Court before it could appear on the November ballot. How did the nutters take such a humiliating defeat? CELDF-hired lawyer Terry Lodge (from Toledo), pledged to bring the ballot measure back again and again in future, wasting taxpayers’ money…
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UTOPIA East Pipe Re-Routes Around OH Antis, Drops Eminent Domain

In January 2016, Kinder Morgan committed to building the UTOPIA (Utica To Ontario Pipeline Access) pipeline, a 12-inch ethane pipeline that will run ~240 miles across the state of Ohio where it will connect with another pipeline and (eventually) flow ethane all the way to a cracker plant in Canada (see Kinder Morgan Ready to Move Forward with UTOPIA East Pipeline). However, all was not utopia in UTOPIA–some Ohio landowners got a bumble bee in their bonnet and refused to deal, so KM took them to court (see UTOPIA Pipeline Sues Holdout OH Landowners Using Eminent Domain and UTOPIA Pipeline Still Battling OH Landowners with Eminent Domain). UTOPIA hit a brick wall in Wood County when a judge blocked the use of eminent domain in that county, saying the project does not benefit the public good (see Wood County OH Judge Blocks Eminent Domain for UTOPIA Pipeline). No worries. UTOPIA has been hard at work and has signed lease agreements with more reasonable landowners and is altering the route to avoid the ones who don’t want it. Hey, some people don’t want a truckload of money, who are we to argue? As we previously reported, tree clearing began in February (see Utopia has Arrived! Construction in OH Begins on Ethane Pipeline). KM says construction on the actual pipeline will begin later this month. Here’s the latest, about UTOPIA changing the route in Wood County to avoid those who don’t want it…
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Bowling Green, OH Votes to Deny NEXUS Pipe Easement for City Land

unwiseAll seven members of the Bowling Green City Council (Wood County) unwisely voted to reject an offer from Spectra Energy’s NEXUS Pipeline to lease 4 acres of city-owned land for the pipeline. Why unwise? Because the project is close to receiving its final federal approval, which will give it the right to use eminent domain to use the land anyway (see FERC Approves NEXUS Pipeline, Project on Track for 2017). Spectra offered $151,000 for the easement and was willing to follow an existing easement already in place for power lines. When (not if) NEXUS gets built, Bowling Green can expect to receive far less in the way of a lease payment. Even though the fix was in before the vote was taken, one lawless resident–Joe DeMare, a Green Party candidate for U.S. Senate in the most recent election (loser)–wouldn’t shut his yap and had to be escorted out by security. Apparently he thought there should be more public comment (i.e. camera and microphone time for himself) before the vote was taken. Whatever. Big Green antis celebrated the vote. We predict it will be a short-lived celebration…
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Wood County, OH Judge Blocks Eminent Domain for UTOPIA Pipeline

UTOPIA Pipeline Project map
UTOPIA Pipeline Project map – click for larger version

On Tuesday MDN brought you the news that Kinder Morgan is scheduled to begin construction next month on their UTOPIA (Utica To Ontario Pipeline Access) pipeline, a 12-inch ethane pipeline that will run ~240 miles across the state of Ohio (see UTOPIA Pipeline Construction Begins, OSU to Study Hole-Digging). Although Kinder has struck deals with most landowners along the route, some are still resisting, which requires (in rare cases) filing an eminent domain case against them. When such cases have been challenged, Kinder has usually won. But they’ve just lost such a case in Wood County, where a county judge says Kinder Morgan can’t use eminent domain in his county with respect to UTOPIA. Is this a big, hairy deal for KM and the project? A slight delay? Or something in between?…
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NEXUS Pipeline Sues for Survey Access, Wins Most of the Time

An update on a story we brought you one week ago. Last Monday MDN told you that the NEXUS pipeline, primarily a project of Spectra Energy, sued four Medina County, OH landowners who refuse NEXUS surveyors access to their property (see NEXUS Pipeline Sues 4 Medina County Landowners for Survey Access). On Friday, a Medina County Common Pleas judge rejected NEXUS’ request for a restraining order that would allow them access. The case goes to trial on September 24. But lest we leave the wrong impression, judges in just about every other Ohio county where NEXUS has had to sue for survey access have granted NEXUS the restraining orders they were seeking…
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Economic Suicide Avoided in 2 OH Cities but Oberlin Pulls Trigger

A happy note about yesterday’s elections in Ohio. Two communities where a so-called “community bill of rights” (anti-drilling ban flying under a different name) was on the ballot was voted down. In Youngstown (Mahoning County) this was the second time anti-drillers have tried to convince voters to commit economic suicide, but fortunately they didn’t (see Economic Suicide Attempt #2: Youngstown to Vote Again on Frack Ban). The voters in Bowling Green (Wood County) also decided to vote down a ban–even though there is no recoverable Utica Shale under Bowling Green. Freedom is always a smart choice–good decision Bowling Green.

However, voters in a third OH community, Oberlin (Lorain County), where there likely is recoverable Utica Shale gas, sadly decided to pull the trigger and commit economic suicide…
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