Green Mayor Gerard Neugebauer never thought the day would come when the city would be considering a settlement with NEXUS.
NEXUS pipeline operators have offered the city a $7.5 million settlement to proceed with construction of the pipeline through the city.
The agreement also calls for the city to receive 20 acres of park land. The land is adjacent to Boettler Park and will be donated to provide trails from Boettler Park to Koons Road or Thursby Road.
In addition, the agreement allows for a road-use maintenance agreement with NEXUS. Prior to construction, NEXUS would videotape all roads that will be used and post a $5 million bond, which will remain in place for two years after all final road repairs have been made by NEXUS.
NEXUS would also provide the city with additional wetland data regarding properties within the city that have been an issue. NEXUS will not be permitted to remobilize the Greensburg Road wareyard or create or mobilize any other wareyards in the city. Contractors working on the pipeline in Green will be provided the city’s business and income tax registration packet.
NEXUS also agreed to provide training and briefings to first responders that serve the city during construction and annually thereafter.
During a special council meeting Tuesday night, the mayor and law director gave an overview of the settlement and how it came about. No public comment was taken, but there will be a period for public commentto day during another special council meeting 7 p.m., at the Central Administration Building.
“As a city, our foremost responsibility is to protect the health and safety of our residents,” Neugebauer said. “Over the last three plus years, the city of Green has actively and aggressively opposed the route of the NEXUS Pipeline through this community. While we have had some success in these efforts, we have received no assistance, despite our repeated pleas, at the state or federal level.”
Neugebauer referenced the city of Oberlin, who is going through a similar situation with NEXUS. He said Oberlin has come to the conclusion no matter what they do, NEXUS is going to put a pipe in the ground.
“It has been increasingly clear that our legal challenges of NEXUS and the Ohio EPA will not force the reroute that we so strongly desire,” Neugebauer said. “NEXUS continues to invest millions of dollars weekly as construction activities are in full swing in the states of Ohio and Michigan, although there has been no work in Green since the Sixth Circuit Federal Appeals court issued a temporary stay in December.”
Neugebauer stressed it isn’t all about receiving money and he said he would pay $10 million to move the route out of Green. He said NEXUS has been trying to strike a deal with the city for a while and his answer over and over has been no.
Neugebauer said his first reaction to the settlement was no.
“After fighting so long, it is difficult for many of us to accept that the NEXUS Pipeline could ever be constructed in Green; however, we hope you are reassured that the city has negotiated on behalf of the community to afford us options to preserve and enhance amenities, while ensuring the health, safety and welfare of our residents,” Neugebauer said.
In the end council will have the final say voting on the agreement Wednesday night.
All property owners in Green have settled with NEXUS except for one, Green Law Director Diane Calta said. She said the city is not trying to force the issue through, but the proposed settlement has to be considered by midnight Wednesday.
Currently there still are still four pieces of legal litigation being fought by the city
Members of council are expected to share their thoughts on the settlement during the meeting Wednesday, but a few questions were asked by council about specifics of the settlement.
Councilman Stephen Dyer is holding out hope the city can still win, even though he said the odds are slim. He said the odds of winning will be zero if the city takes the settlement.
If the city agrees to the settlement, a portion of the money will reimburse the city for costs for legal action to fight the pipeline.
This story was also published in The Suburbanite and Canton Repository. www.cantonrep.com