Ohio landowners sue contractors, owner of $2.1B pipeline
- Landowners in four Ohio counties are suing the owner of the $2.1 billion Nexus natural gas pipeline, as well as at least two contractors, for allegedly breaking an agreement to safeguard their properties during construction and repair any damage, The Repository reported. According to available court documents, defendants include the DTE Energy- and Enbridge-owned Nexus Gas Transmission, as well as contractors Latex Construction Co. of Georgia and Michels Corp., headquartered in Wisconsin.
- Allegations spread across the various complaints against Latex, Michels and Nexus include pumping water and silt onto private property without permission, destroying topsoil and farm crops, lack of erosion control and failure to repair damaged land and drainage systems. The plaintiffs are seeking damages in excess of $25,000 plus legal fees. The pipeline’s route runs almost 210 miles through Ohio and more than 46 miles through Michigan. Construction also includes four compressor stations.
- Jackson Township, Ohio, lawyer Michael Thompson is listed on at least 12 lawsuits as the defendants’ attorney of record and said he would be filing more legal actions in the weeks to come. A Nexus spokesman told The Repository that the company has made a “great effort" to attend to each landowner's issues and keep disruption to a minimum during construction.
Enbridge is also the company behind a $350 million to $500 million proposed pipeline and utility tunnel project between Ontario and Wisconsin under the Straits of Mackinac. If approved, construction will see a 4-mile section of pipeline help to transport more than 20 million gallons of oil and natural gas per day. Enbridge has agreed to set aside $1.8 billion to help clean up any potential leaks that occur during the pipeline’s operation, in addition to other safety measures intended to ward off environmental damage in the Straits.
Energy Transfer Partners' Bayou Bridge pipeline project in Louisiana recently scored a victory over landowners who sued the company for trespassing. While a state judge ruled that Energy Transfer Partners did trespass on private land in building the pipeline, he awarded each owner only $150 in damages. He also refused to force Energy Transfer Partners to remove the pipeline from the 38 acres in question, citing a “legitimate public purpose,” according to The San Francisco Chronicle.
Some of the higher-profile challenges lately have been brought not by landowners or farmers but by advocacy groups looking to stop pipeline construction due to environmental concerns. In November, a federal court halted work on TransCanada's Canada-to-Nebraska Keystone XL Pipeline, a project valued at up to $10 billion, after environmental groups filed a lawsuit accusing TransCanada of not considering all of the potential cultural and environmental impacts, both direct and indirect. The company must now provide a supplement to its previous environmental review.
- The Repository NEXUS, Michels sued by landowners for property damage
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