The final say on building interstate pipelines, like the controversial NEXUS and Rover natural gas lines across northern Ohio, rests with FERC—the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. And its newly appointed chairman has come on board saying it’s time to review the agency’s pipeline policies.
Kevin McIntyre announced the review at his first meeting as chair of FERC. Noting that the last review was in 1999, he said the commission needs to take a fresh look at issues.
Many industry organizations, like the Ohio Oil & Gas Association applaud the decision. But a longtime critic of FERC policies, Paul Gierosky of Medina County, says he’s skeptical that it can do any good.
“One of the FERC commissioners said that, ‘We’re going to need to take a closer look at the purpose and the need for these pipelines,’” Gierosky says. “Do I have any belief that they’re actually going to do something? Not without direction from Congress.”
Gierosky is a founder of the Coalition to Re-route NEXUS. The organization is currently taking legal actions to try to block construction of the natural gas pipeline in parts of northeast Ohio.
A number of recent pipeline incidents has brought renewed environmental opposition over the construction of pipelines. Rover Pipeline continues to fight citations from the Ohio EPA for spills, which also prompted a $2.3 million lawsuit from Ohio against the company. And the Keystone Pipeline reported an estimated 210,000 gallons of oil spilled in South Dakota.