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Feds direct pipeline company to investigate alternatives

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Gas pipe Line_35718

A worker shields his face against temperatures in the teens as he guides a section of pipe while working on a shale gas pipe line Friday, Feb. 13, 2015, in Zelienople, Pa. The completed pipeline is to connect area gas wells to a local compressor station. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

AKRON, Ohio (AP) – A federal agency has directed the Texas-based company behind a proposed northeastern Ohio natural gas pipeline to investigate an alternative route that would relocate the $2 billion project to less populated areas.

The city of Green has proposed moving about 103 miles of the Nexus pipeline away from southern Summit County and northern Stark County into southern Stark and Wayne counties, then western Wayne, Medina and Lorain counties.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which approves such pipeline projects, filed its directive to the company in a memo Tuesday, the Akron Beacon Journal reported.

The move came a day after Green proposed its alternative route to the agency. Residents say the original route passes too close to residential areas, including a school, and have filled recent meetings with their concerns.

Nexus Gas Transmission LLC says it will consider Green’s proposal, spokesman Arthur Diestel told the paper. The company has been looking at its own alternative route, though no details have been released.

The pipeline, to move natural gas from the Utica Shale formations in eastern Ohio, is generating a “large volume of public comments,” FERC said in the memo.

The current 93.4-mile pipeline route through the Akron-Canton area was “hastily drawn and ill-conceived with no respect to the human and environmental concerns,” the city’s filing said.

The new route would bring the pipeline close to 1,393 homes, down from 4,517, and affect 26 acres of wetlands instead of 67 acres, the filing said.

Several underground pipeline projects are proposed to transport natural gas across the state from the Utica and Marcellus shale regions to northwest Ohio.

The project that has drawn the most opposition is the Nexus pipeline, a partnership of Houston-based Spectra Energy and Detroit-based DTE Energy. Nexus is a 200-mile corridor of 42-inch-diamater pipe capable of transporting as much as 2 billion cubic feet of gas per day, an amount that would meet the needs of around 20,000 homes for a year. Gas from the pipeline would be made available to industry and to gas-fired power plants.

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Mel Robbins Main Area Middle

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