Protecting our water. Preserving our future.

Ohio EPA Air Permitting Scheme Challenged

Ohio EPA Air Permitting Scheme Challenged

(Grand Rapids, OH) The FreshWater Accountability Project (FWAP) and Food & Water Watch have issued

notice that the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency should convene hearings and accept citizen comments to gather testimony from communities and individuals affected by the noisy and polluting gas pipeline compressor stations proposed for operation across Ohio.

The proposed compressors would pump hydraulically fractured (fracked) methane gas at 1440 psi pressure at approximately 800 mph through the Spectra Nexus and ET Rover pipelines. The routes would cross Ohio, and run through Michigan en route to a storage and export distribution hub near Sarnia, Ontario, Canada.

Pipeline opponents object to the carbon emissions, chemical carcinogens and radioactive particulate matter pollution that would be emitted due to normal operations, as well as to the explosion dangers posed by the pipelines and their compressor stations. The environmental groups accuse the Ohio EPA of quietly reviewing the permit applications with the intention of approving them without public notice or involvement.

“We must expose the stealth processing of permits for industrial plants that will leak and exhaust significant amounts of methane and volatile organic compounds (VOC’s),” said Lea Harper, Managing Director of FWAP. “No one is looking at the total pollution and carcinogenic load of these pipeline projects, so we are insisting that the OEPA take testimony and evidence before the permits are finalized. The final approvals for the eight Nexus and Rover compressors planned for Ohio could be granted soon. It is urgent for the public to insist on having a role, especially those who will be downwind.”

“If the pipeline compressors are put into service, they will collectively emit hundreds of tons per year of toxic pollutants and greenhouse gases,” said Alison Auciello, Ohio Organizer for Food & Water Watch. “They are planned near places where we live, work and congregate, exempt from local zoning controls, leaking carcinogens and endocrine disruptors for decades into our communities. Because most of the gas is slated for export, OEPA’s rubber stamp approval of these stations is even more suspect.”

“The cumulative air pollution effect of the large pipeline projects planned for Ohio is alarming,” stated Terry Lodge, attorney and author of the letter to the Ohio EPA. “For instance, each of the four compressors along the Nexus route, a 36″ diameter pipeline, will be allowed to annually leak up to 32.67 tons of nitrogen oxide (NOx), 32.15 tons of VOC’s, and 129,365 tons of carbon dioxide equivalents. The policy of segmentation means that each compressor station along the route of a pipeline can be permitted separately, rather than looking at the total polluting load for all sources within the entire project. With no one calculating the total carbon emitted into the atmosphere, or the carcinogenic vapor and particulate matter emitted by all these new installations, we, the people, have to do whatever it takes to protect ourselves. With the current permitting plan by the OEPA, there is zero opportunity to do so.”

The full text of the letter can be found at: http://www.fwap.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/OEPARequest-for-Public-Hearings.pdf.

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