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WATER

ET Rover and NEXUS:

Two Pipelines Threaten Ohio and Michigan


Fact Sheet July 2015

wo proposed interstate shale gas pipelines, known as ET Rover and NEXUS,


could soon cut through Ohio and into parts of Michigan if approved by the
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the lead government agency
involved in approving or rejecting pipelines that cross state borders.1 Both are
proposed to travel a similar route and to connect to an existing Vector pipeline
in Michigan, which carries natural gas from outside of Chicago across the state
to greater Detroit and on to the same hub in Ontario, Canada.2 These pipelines
threaten property rights of landowners, pose public health and safety issues
with any rupture, explosion, or leakage, and proliferate fracking by expanding
markets for shale gas.
The Pipelines
Contentious since Energy Transfer first proposed it, the ET
Rover pipeline has been re-routed twice due to mass opposition.3 The proposed 711-mile-long ET Rover would have a
total capacity to send up to 3.25 billion cubic feet per day
(bcf/d) of Utica and Marcellus Shale gas from Pennsylvania,
Ohio and West Virginia, through Michigan to Canada.4 The
current plan has it running 570 miles across Ohio, where it
will cut through 18a counties, 5 and running 100 miles north
through three southern Michigan counties Lenawee, Washtenaw and Livingston. In Livingston County, the ET Rover
would connect to Enbridges Vector pipeline, which carries
gas between Chicago and Detroit, including to the Canadian
border for export.6
Concurrently the proposed 247-mile NEXUS pipeline would
allow Spectra Energy, and its partner on the project, DTE Energy, to transmit up to 1.5 bcf/d of Utica and Marcellus Shale
gas, ultimately to the same Enbridge pipeline. NEXUS would
cut 200 miles across 11b Ohio counties before passing through
Michigans Lenawee, Washtenaw and Monroe counties.7
NEXUS is not as far along in the FERC process as ET Rover
(see below), and its route could still be changed.8
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The Hazards
Once a pipeline is built, the unlucky landowners along its path
or beside a compressor station have no choice but to accept
living with the constant risk of accidents, leaks and explosions. Several recent pipeline failures have led to massive destruction and even loss of life.9 Making matters worse, heavy
construction equipment used to build pipelines compacts the
soil, and this can affect the ability of trees or crops to grow for
years.10 Even after construction is completed, risks remain. In
the United States, more than 11,000 pipeline incidents have
occurred from 1994 to 2014. The incidents have caused $6.5
billion in property damage.11

According to a Lenawee County resident who is worried


about both the ET Rover and NEXUS pipelines, A number
of farmers I know are concerned about tiling, irrigation and
drainage. There is a limited amount of economic benefit to the
county.12 Three of the four counties in the paths of the ET
Rover or NEXUS namely Washtenaw, Lenawee and Monroe
are in a five-county region that accounts for over 10 percent
of Michigans farms.13 Moreover, the southeastern region of
the state, which includes these three counties, has some of the
highest agricultural land values, averaging $4,489 per acre of
tiled field cropland.14
There is also growing concern about agricultural impacts in
Ohio. The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association has
come out against both pipelines,15 and the Ohio Farmers
Union has passed a resolution in opposition to the NEXUS
pipeline.16 While ET Rover, due to its sheer magnitude, has
been described as an unprecedented pipeline project in
Ohio,17 the NEXUS pipeline project is gaining more attention
because its route would run close by more densely populated counties.18

FERC Status
ET Rover: In November 2014 FERC announced its intent to
prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Energy Transfers Rover pipeline, prompting a scoping period
to garner public comments to help FERC determine what
issues should be evaluated in the EIS.19 (An EIS is a document
required by federal law for certain actions deemed as significantly affecting the quality of the human environment.20)
Although that scoping period ended on December 18, 2014,
FERC continues to accept comments throughout the process.21

Upon release of the Draft EIS, which is issued before a Final


EIS, there will be, at minimum, a 45-day window for public
comment on it. There is no opportunity for public comment after the Final EIS is finalized.22 In February 2015 Energy Transfer
submitted its application to FERC requesting its certificate of
public convenience and necessity.23 If FERC grants this certificate, the company will be given the right to exercise eminent
domain for its pipeline.24 If everything goes as planned, ET
Rover pipeline will be in full service by June 2017.25
NEXUS: In April 2015 FERC announced that it will prepare
an EIS for the NEXUS pipeline, prompting its scoping period
to acquire initial input from the public for the Draft EIS.26
The scoping period concluded May 22, 2015, but as with ET
Rover, there will be more for the public to comment on when
the Draft EIS is published. If everything is approved according
to Spectra Energys and DTE Energys plans, they will begin
construction on NEXUS in the first three months of 2017 and
have the pipeline in use by November that year.27

Conclusion
Approving the ET Rover and NEXUS pipelines and allowing eminent domain would benefit only the companies, not
the 791,000 people living in the Michigan counties along the
proposed paths28 and the nearly 3 million people living in the
potentially affected Ohio counties.29
It is imperative that FERC make decisions on behalf of the
publics interest and not that of pipeline corporations with
vested interests. Instead of proliferating the extraction,
transfer and export of shale gas, it is time for federal agencies to prioritize investing in clean energy solutions. Allowing
the build-out of sprawling pipeline infrastructure would lock
in decades more of U.S. dependence on dirty fossil fuels. The
United States should be weaning off fossil fuel consumption through policies that will lead us to a sustainable, clean
energy future. Allowing these pipelines locks in more fracking and more climate pollution and needlessly cuts a swath
across Ohio and southern Michigan. FERC should reject the
ET Rover and NEXUS pipeline proposals and spare the region
of the ill effects.
Take Action! In order to stop the NEXUS and ET Rover pipelines, we are going to have to organize our local communities
and pressure our local officials to take action to oppose new
pipeline projects. For more information on how you can take
action and work with other concerned citizens in your community, please contact either our Michigan or Ohio office:
Michigan: (313) 486-1356 or lkaucheck@fwwatch.org
Ohio: (513) 394-6257 or aauciello@fwwatch.org
Take action against the NEXUS pipeline here:
bit.ly/NOtoNEXUS.
Take action against the ET Rover pipeline here:
bit.ly/NOtoETRover.

Endnotes




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