A local attorney known for defending activists today called Houston-based Spectra Energy’s apparent oversight of the Bowling Green Fault line “an astonishing screw-up” that could help his cause and complicate company efforts to build its proposed $2 billion NEXUS Gas Transmission pipeline through northwest Ohio.
Flanked by about 50 sign-carrying demonstrators along the banks of the Maumee River, at Farnsworth Metropark’s Roche de Boeuf visitor center south of Waterville, Terry Lodge discussed the request for a hearing he filed last week with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, based on the region’s potential seismic activity and its porous karst geology.
Only a few hundred feet away, along a paved hiking trail, lies a Metroparks of the Toledo Area marker in front of a portion of the 100-mile fault, describing how the crack can be exposed at surface level when the river’s running low. The fault goes from the Findlay area into southeast Michigan, according to the plaque.
“When water is low, you can walk along the Maumee River next to the crack,” Mr. Lodge said.
He was joined by Andrew Kear, a Bowling Green State University associate professor who specializes in geology and political science, and Lisa Kochheiser, spokesman of the newly formed citizens group called UC4POWER, which stands for United Communities for Protecting our Water and Elevating Power.
Holding signs in opposition to the project were a broad cross-section of college students, children and young mothers, and several older residents and property owners.
NEXUS — which stated in its final environmental impact statement that it believes the fault is at least 2,200 feet below surface — has said little about the new contention, which has drawn large crowds at recent Bowling Green city council meetings and those of other municipalities.
The company reiterated its position last week that the pipeline will be built safely and without risk to the environment. It is expected to file a formal response with FERC soon about the region’s potential vulnerability to earthquakes.
Mr. Lodge’s contention is based on a new study by Mr. Kear.
Spectra and others are planning a 36-inch transmission pipeline to move natural gas extracted from fracked shale in southern Ohio to southwestern Ontario, traversing 257 miles across northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan.
The project appears to be temporarily on hold because FERC’s five-member governing board no longer has a quorem. Already down two commissioners, the resignation of a third took effect last Friday.
Mr. Kear said the pipeline has been sited in one of the “worst possible places” near Waterville, adding the Bowling Green municipal water intake is nearby. An alternative route that was considered would have added 41 miles to the project, he said.
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