NEXUS Pipeline surveyors from Houston-based Spectra Energy Corp. are expected to complete their work in Grafton Township tomorrow, Lt. Heath Tester, from the Lorain County Sheriff's Department, has told Scene.
Off-duty officers were hired by Spectra and have successfully kept the peace during the past week's surveys.
"People were pretty worried about their presence," Tester told Scene
in a phone conversation, "but so far it's been pretty smooth."
The 36-42-inch-diameter NEXUS Pipeline, according to current plans, will travel through 11 Ohio counties and then up through Michigan before terminating at an energy hub in Ontario.
Grafton Township Trustee Carl Wesemeyer told Scene
Monday that he hadn't heard about any confrontations either, and verified that many of the township’s approximately 3,000 residents were “up in arms,” especially because now that the corn and soybeans are planted, surveyors might cause damage to farmland.
“But to the best of my knowledge, when residents tell them to get off the property, they’re getting off the property,” Wesemeyer said. “And if [the surveyors] do cause any damage, they write a check for whatever it costs right there.
"The problem is, they’re very by the book," Wesemeyer continued. "The government wrote the book, and these guys are going page by page through it. If you cross every T and dot every I, it doesn’t matter what the people want. It doesn’t mean that Grafton Township is the best location, it just means it’s the location Spectra did their homework on.”
Wesemeyer said that it’s difficult to keep citizens informed and to plan effectively because Spectra hasn't been forthcoming with project details.
“They haven’t supplied us with a map,” Wesemeyer said. “They haven’t even supplied us with a list of names. When I talked to a lady from Spectra, she said she understood the problem and would be getting back to me.”
Wesemeyer said that many folks in the community have grown resigned to the prospect of pipeline construction. They don’t accept the pipeline, he said, but have realized that government’s not going to stop it.
"There’s a presumption that the government and big business are joined at the hip," Wesemeyer said.
Wesemeyer said that one of the biggest concerns he hears — other than questions about the blast radius in the event the massive underground pipe carrying natural gas at 1,400 PSI explodes — is that residents of Grafton Township have nothing at all to gain.
“At one of the first community meetings, a man stood up and said he’s been trying to get natural gas for 20 years,” Wesemeyer said. “And now he’ll have a natural gas pipeline through his backyard and he still can’t get any."