In September, the Ohio EPA issued a Water Quality Certification for the Nexus pipeline project. Intended to protect both the environment and public health, the decision impacts those who live and work in Columbiana, Stark, Summit, Wayne, Medina, Lorain, Huron, Erie, Sandusky, Wood, Lucas, Henry, and Fulton counties.
To comply with the ruling, anyone who wants to discharge, dredge or use fill material in a manner that necessitates the placement of fill into state waters is required to get a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which will need a Water Quality Certification — often referred to as a 401 — from the Ohio EPA.
The quality of streams and wetlands in the watersheds of Upper Ohio, Tuscarawas, Mahoning, Cedar-Portage, Lower Maumee, Ottawa-Stony, Black-Rocky, Huron-Vermilion, and Sandusky could possibly be impacted.
About Section 401 of the Federal Clean Water Act
Under the terms of Section 401 of the federal Clean Water Act, state agencies are required to review projects that will lead to the discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the U.S., to determine whether the discharge is a violation of the state’s water quality standards. With the exception of projects that meet the Ohio EPA’s conditions of applicable nationwide permits, anyone who wants to place dredged or fill materials into wetlands, streams, or lakes must seek an individual Section 401 certification.
Actions that generally involve the need for a 401 certification include stream rerouting, culverting streams, filling wetlands, and dredging and filling in lakes. Projects often include highway construction, marina and dock construction, shopping mall construction, strip mining operations, and housing subdivisions.
Nexus Natural Gas Pipeline Project
Designed to expand natural gas access in Ohio, Michigan, and Ontario, Canada, construction on the Nexus pipeline project kicked off in October. When complete, a roughly 255-mile interstate natural gas transmission pipeline will transport 1.5 billion cubic feet per day of clean-burning natural gas from eastern Ohio to southeastern Michigan. The project will deliver emerging Appalachian shale gas supplies to customers in northern Ohio, southeastern Michigan, the Chicago Hub in Illinois, and the Dawn Hub in Ontario, Canada.
Not all residents support the Nexus project. Grassroots opposition group, Coalition to Reroute Nexus, filed a motion in May to stop the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission from granting permission to move forward with the project. Filed May 12 against the FERC and the Nexus Gas Transmission company, the lawsuit asked the court to force FERC to reverse the final environmental impact statement submitted for the route by Nexus in Nov. 2016.
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