NEW FRANKLIN  A city resident and member of the Coalition to Reroute Nexus (CORN) made a request to New Franklin City Council May 3, to designate funds to help finance CORN's legal fight to rerout the proposed gas pipeline from going through the Portage Lakes area.

Ott Drive resident Jane Carl addressed city council, while six other New Franklin residents who would be affected by the proposed Nexus gas pipeline were in attendance. CORN, a 501c3 non-profit organization, is the grass roots organization co-founded by Paul L. Gierosky, whose mission is to change the proposed gas pipeline’s path to less densely populated areas of Ohio. Carl estimated that the Nexus gas pipeline will affect the properties of several hundred residents in the city, primarily on Ott and Grove roads. Carl said the 36 inch pipeline will only be three feet underground and is concerned there could be a threat of explosions that close to homes.

The Nexus project proposes to construct an approximate 225-mile interstate natural gas transmission pipeline to deliver 1.5 billion cubic feet per day of shale gas from receipt points in eastern Ohio to existing pipeline interconnects in southeastern Michigan and Ontario, Canada. Approval by Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) of the start of construction is pending, since there are three empty seats on the commission.

"These (requested ) funds will be used to finance the attorneys who will be representing the residents of New Franklin, whose property rights are in jeopardy, in a lawsuit against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and Nexus," Carl stated. "I understand that the funds you (city council) release will be matched by the Summit County Council." 

Neighboring Green recently voted to provide $10,000 to fund attorneys hired to represent its residents in the fight against the Nexus pipeline.

New Franklin Mayor Al Bollas responded to Carl that the city would support the funding for the attorneys, but the city is facing a budget shortage and their are no extra monies. During the last few months, city council has had to approve transfers from the general fund to cover shortages in the police and dispatch department funds.  

"I have personally donated to CORN," Bollas added.

"I know the city is not flush with money, but I also know the civil rights and property rights of many New Franklin residents are being seriously threatened by Nexus and part of the responsibility of this council to protect the rights of the citizens of New Franklin," Carl said.

"Rumor has it that city council has been misinformed by Nexus and are not fighting on the front line for us, its residents, because you believe that New Franklin will receive big bucks in utility taxes, if you allow Nexus pipeline to ruin our properties," Carl added.

After the meeting, New Franklin City Council Vice President Harry Gehm said that early in the pipeline proposal, Nexus officials told New Franklin that it could receive funds from utility taxes, but nothing has ever been formally confirmed.

"Nothing has presented officially or on paper," Gehm said.

Carl’s second request to the city is to have Bollas remove the Nexus website link on the New Franklin website and add the link to CORN's website. After the meeting, Bollas said the Nexus website link is on the city website to inform the residents. He told Carl and the residents that he will work on adding CORN's link to the city website.