Author Archives: Elizabeth Rueve-Miller

Ohio Gubernatorial Candidates on Duke’s Pipeline

Whom you choose to elect for Ohio Governor could have a significant impact on what happens in the future with Duke’s Central Corridor Pipeline…and any other new intrastate pipelines in the State of Ohio.  That is because the Ohio Governor appoints all of the voting members of the Ohio Power Siting Board.  

Unfortunately, Ohio Gubernatorial candidates Richard Cordray (Dem) and Mike Dewine (Rep) did not respond to NOPE’s request to weigh in on Duke’s Pipeline and pipeline safety regulations.  While we cannot provide specific information about how Cordray or DeWine view Duke’s pipeline, we can give you a pretty good indication about how Duke and the Oil and Gas Industry view Cordray and DeWine

Below are campaign finance information submitted by the candidates to the Ohio Board of Elections.

Note, the Fossil Fuel Industry contributed $16,500 to Richard Corday’s campaign, while investing over $225,000  in Mike DeWine’s campaign. Further, Duke Energy did not contribute to Corday at all, while making a significant contribution to DeWine.  It looks like the Industry and Duke believe that DeWine’s decisions and policies are likely to be more favorable to them than Cordray’s.   

NOPE is a non-partisan organization, so we do not recommend a specific candidate. Voting decisions are complex and generally involve the consideration of multiple factors. 

Considering the Central Corridor Pipeline, if you want the candidate for governor who might be less favorable to the desires of Duke and the Fossil Fuel Industry, Richard Cordray could be the better choice.  Conversely, if you want a governor who might be more responsive to the interests of Duke and the Fossil Fuel Industry,  Mike DeWine could fit the bill.

Below is information from the candidates’ websites.  Regardless of who you decide to elect, be sure to vote!

Safety Note – New Pipelines Fail, Too

Shifting soil causes 6 month old high pressure pipeline to rupture and burst into flames

In the early morning hours of June 7th,  a BRAND NEW, “Best in Class” high pressure natural gas pipeline ruptured and exploded, resulting in a massive fireball.  The disaster occurred at 4:15 AM, in Marshall County West Virginia, along the LeachXpress, owned by TransCanada.  

Anyone who could see the flames, which were visible for miles, were told to evacuate. Emergency crews from West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania were called for assistance.

According to Tom Hart, Marshall County Director of Emergency Services, “We were very fortunate there were no injuries involved in this incident and it was in a rural location and not in a heavily populated area in Marshall County,”.

This is precisely the reason why many people in southwest Ohio area are opposed to Duke’s high pressure transmission line passing through our densely populated communities.

Below are satellite views of the Leach Xpress’s rural location compared to Duke’s routing options for the Central Corridor Pipeline.

Satellite View Leach Xpress

Satellite Views Duke’s Proposed Green Route

Satellite Views Duke’s Proposed Orange Route

No homes within 1 mile of Leach Xpress explosion.
The "Green Route" runs through densely populated communities such as Blue Ash, Evendale, Reading and Golf Manor.
The "Orange Route" runs through densely populated communities such as Blue Ash, Sycamore Township, Madeira and Madisonville.

Duke’s plans to locate their high pressure transmission line in an urban setting could be exposing hundreds of thousands of people to unnecessary safety, economic, lifestyle and financial risks, for a pipeline that does not appear to be necessary to meet our local needs.

Just because a pipeline is new, does not mean it is safer.  Conversely, just because a pipeline is old, does not make it less safe.  “Shifting soil” was identified as the cause of the Leach Xpress failure.  Remedial action is required in order to make the Leach Xpress “safe” from shifting soil.

As we see with the Leach Xpress, “best in class” materials are no substitute for “best in class” decision making, that includes upfront identification and in-depth analysis of all risk factors, that impact pipeline integrity and safety.  Pipelines should be designed, located and evaluated specifically with human safety as the primary criteria.

Brand New State of the Art Pipeline Explodes

On Thursday, June 7th at 4:15 AM, residents in 3 states awoke to the sights and sounds of a high pressure transmission line that had ruptured and caught fire.  The inferno from Transcanada’s brand new, “best in class” Leach Xpress transmission line is a stark reminder that pipelines new and old can and do fail.  Transcanada began operation of this $1.6 billion pipeline in January 2018. 

Explosion Rocks 3-State Area

In Ohio,  residents for miles contacted 911 about the explosion. Callers reported sounds like that of an airplane, a tornado and a loud roar.  Emergency responders from 3 states were contacted and ready to respond to the event. 

A view of the fire taken from 20 miles away

Transcanada’s Rural Location vs. Duke’s Urban Location

This pipeline failure provides compelling support for why residents in Southwest Ohio are concerned about Duke Energy’s plans to build a high pressure transmission line through our densely populated neighborhoods.  While no one was seriously injured or killed in the Transcanada event, what would have happened had that same event blasted through communities like ours?

No homes within 1 mile of Transcanada's Leach Xpress
Hundreds of homes, businesses and vulnerable properties such as schools, day care centers and hospitals are close to Duke's Central Corridor Pipeline Routes.

What Caused the Blast?

The cause of the incident is unknown, at this point.  “With a little lightning or even static electricity from the pipeline rubbing on soil, a leak can become an explosion,” according to Najmedin Meshkati, an environmental engineering expert who investigates pipeline incidents. The U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection are both onsite.

Photo taken by emergency responder

The Aftermath

While Transcanada says it cannot transport gas through the damaged Leach Xpress, other pipeline companies provide alternative routes, and the impact on U.S. gas supply is expected to be minor.  Much of the gas moving through the Leach Xpress is intended for export. 

However, the massive crater and destruction of over 10 acres of forests cannot be fixed so easily.

Destruction of acres of woodland caused by fire

WHAT TO DO NOW:

  1. Contact the Ohio Power Siting Board.  Express your concerns about Duke’s pipeline — how it affects you, your family, and community.
  2. Sign this petition, asking the Ohio Power Siting Board to thoroughly review Duke’s entire application and provide sufficient time for those affected by Duke’s plans to do so, as well.
  3. Support NOPE’s efforts to protect our communities and hold Duke accountable.
Crater caused by explosion

Share this information through your communication channels!

Discovery of Pristine, Inc Shakes Public Confidence

EPA Superfund hazardous waste site discovered within approx 150 feet of pipeline route

On Wednesday, August 25th, 2017, just days before the adjudicatory hearing, Duke announced had not identified a significant environmental issue with one of the proposed routes, — the close proximity of Pristine Inc, an EPA Superfund cleanup site.  OPSB Staff also failed to identify the hazardous waste site, and in fact, recommended the route that was within 150 feet of Pristine.

This hazardous waste dump was identified 1 1/2 years after Duke’s initial application and 3 months after OPSB Staff’s route recommendation.

Information about the Pristine environmental hazard  issue was known and could have easily been discovered had Duke utilized the appropriate level of diligence.  OPSB staff, who had a duty to evaluate Duke’s application with a critical eye, did not identify the significant environmental issue.

On Friday, April 13, 2018, Duke filed supplemental documents to their application, including additional information about the Pristine site.  The supplemental documents do not appear to include an in depth analysis of safety risk by Duke or the EPA.

NOPE Responds to documents and motion filed by Duke

On Friday April 13th, Duke submitted supplemental documents to their application and requested that OPSB resume approval proceedings on expedited timing.  

Based upon a preliminary review, Duke’s supplemental filing appears to be focused on additional details regarding Pristine, Inc’s environmental Superfund site, located along the Green Route (western route, adjacent to I-75). There were also routing modifications along the Green Route to accommodate requests from businesses and to locate more of the pipeline under roadways.

On Monday April 16th, James Yskamp, NOPE’s attorney, filed a motion with the OPSB.  The motion highlights the fact that Duke acknowledges they did not sufficiently investigate both routes submitted in their 2016 application. The motion further states that the public must be given the sufficient time to understand revisions to Duke’s application, have questions answered via an information meeting held by Duke and have an opportunity to provide testimony in the form of another public hearing.  Further, a review of both routes in light of new information must be conducted.

NOPE's attorney - James Yskamp, FairShake Environmental Legal Services

Following NOPE’s motion, both Hamilton County Board of Commissioners and the City of Blue Ash have filed similar documents with OPSB, expressing agreement with NOPE and including additional requests.  Be sure to thank your elected officials, who continue to look out for the interests of our communities!

The adjudicatory judge will review Duke’s submission, as well as motions filed by NOPE and other attorneys, to determine what happens next.

Thanks to many in the NOPE community who have donated funds, so that we could hire an attorney to protect our interests.  Your continued financial support will be critical in the coming months, as we progress through the legal proceedings.  Please donate if you can!

Here are the things that have NOT CHANGED since Duke put the project on hold last August:

  1. The Central Corridor Pipeline is still a large (20″ diameter) high pressure (500 psi) 13 mile north-south transmission system for natural gas.
  2. The pipeline is still located straight through densely populated communities — near homes,  schools and daycare centers, places of worship, businesses, parks, and places where lots of people congregate.  If a failure were to occur on a pipeline of this size and scale, the results could be catastrophic and devastating.
  3. There are two routes being considered — the Green line (western route, adjacent to I-75) and the Orange line (eastern route, adjacent to I-71).  OPSB preferred the Green line, while Duke recommended the Orange line.  Both routes are still on the table for consideration, throughout the adjudicatory process.
  4. NOPE believes the project is unnecessary, irresponsible and not in the best interest of the communities it is supposed to be serving.
  5. Municipal leaders across 12+ communities continue to oppose Duke’s pipeline on behalf of their communities.  They are part of an inter jurisdictional legal opposition coalition.
  6. Concerned citizens who oppose the pipeline must continue to stay engaged and make their voices heard.

Where do your elected officials/candidates stand – Election Day?

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Select your community below to determine where your municipal leaders and candidates stand on Duke’s pipeline – November 7, 2017.

Some municipalities were affected by Duke’s Central Corridor Pipeline and chose not to legally intervene.   LEARN MORE

Some municipalities were affected by Duke’s Central Corridor Pipeline and chose not to legally intervene.   LEARN MORE

Who is Committed to Opposing Dukes Pipeline – Cincinnati?

CINCINNATI

Opposes Duke’s Pipeline

Supports Intervention Coalition

Comments

John Cranley (Mayor) 

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Mayor Cranley has consistently stood with the neighborhoods against this pipeline. In fact, he has been supportive of multiple resolutions Councilmember PG Sittenfeld has put out in opposition to the pipeline. We hope this is helpful and will consider voting for Mayor Cranley for re-election. — Mayor Cranley’s Campaign team

Yvette Simpson (Mayor)

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Derek Bauman  (Council)

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I am concerned about the safety threat the proposed pipeline poses to people, homes, our neighborhoods and the environment and I support efforts to stop it. I am a strong proponent of robust community engagement and appreciate this citizen led effort to oppose the pipeline.

Erica Black-Johnson (Council)

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Unfortunately, I have not been able to read their application to understand what they are proposing/doing, but I will look into it further and develop a position on it. I have subscribed to your page, and will look forward to future updates and information from you. Thanks for reaching out!

Christina Burcica (Council)

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Ozie Davis (Council)

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Tamaya Dennard (Council)

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I actually used to work for Duke Energy in real estate research. I become uncomfortable with some of work that I was asked to do because I felt it was precursor to potential pipeline work. While I wasn’t actually told this was the case, my instincts said the work I was doing vehemently was against my beliefs around social, economical and environmental justice. I will be a strong advocate against the proposed pipeline.

Michelle Dillingham (Council)

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Tonya Dumas (Council)

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Manuel Foggie (Council)

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Henry Frondorf (Council)

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Brian Garry (Council)

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Lesley Jones (Council)

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Greg Landsman (Council)

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Seth Maney (Council)

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David Mann (Council)

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Amy Murray (Council)

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Jeff Pastor (Council)

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Kelli Prather (Council)

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Laure Quinlivan (Council)

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I have experience saying no to Duke. As a council member in 2011 I voted in favor of putting electricity aggregation for consumers on the ballot, which Duke vehemently opposed. We did it, citizens voted in favor and we have been saving money ever since.

Chris Seelbach (Council)

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PG Sittenfeld (Council)

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I have been a strong opponent of the pipeline since the beginning, organizing and leading the opposition at the City of Cincinnati by sponsoring the legislation enabling intervention and allocating resources to the legal costs of opposition, convening municipal leaders across jurisdictions and speaking out publicly in the media and at hearings.

Christopher E.C. Smitherman (Council)

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Tammy Sullivan (Council)

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Dadrien Washington (Council)

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Wendell Young (Council)

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How to Use This Information

  1. Consider this information when making your voting decisions.  NOPE  does not endorse specific candidates.  However, we encourage everyone to be informed about where candidates stand on issues that are important to them and to vote accordingly. 
  2. Ask your elected officials and candidates to respond to NOPE’s questions about their position on Duke’s pipeline, if they have not done so.  CLICK HERE for the questionnaire or copy this URL into your browser:  https://goo.gl/forms/67wnq0A5lrsGy9Xh2.  It will take 2-3 minutes to complete.
  3. Hold your officials accountable to the positions they have taken on the pipeline, in the future.
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NOTE: The red question mark symbol indicates that we have not had a response from this official/candidate.   We will update the information when we receive their response, so encourage officials and candidates in your community to add their responses to our survey:  https://goo.gl/forms/67wnq0A5lrsGy9Xh2

Which communities DID NOT stand with NOPE?

The following municipalities could be affected by Duke’s Central Corridor Pipeline but chose NOT to intervene legally: Norwood, Fairfax, Montgomery, Silverton and Sharonville.   Officials from these municipalities were aware of the pipeline and invited to be a part of the inter jurisdictional opposition effort and chose not to.

Listed below are the elected representatives who were in office at the time that the decision was made NOT TO OPPOSE  construction of Duke’s pipeline through densely populated areas via legal intervention.  Also included is a list of candidates running against these incumbents in the November 2017 elections.  Click on tabs below to see information for each municipality.

In office when decision was made NOT to oppose pipeline

Opposing Candidate(s) running for office

Donna Laake (Council President)Michael Mayfield (Council President)

James Bonsall (Member at Large)

Andrew Clark (Member at Large)

Jason Miller (Member at Large)

Val Nice Orza (Member at Large)

Maddie Regan (Member at Large)

Eric Thompson (Member at Large)

Brandon Blair (Ward 1)Leslie Stevenson (Ward 1)
Marilyn Hanrahan (Ward 2)Victor Schneider (Ward 2)
Joseph Sanker (Ward 3)
John Breedan  (Ward 4)

In office when decision was made NOT to oppose pipeline

Opposing Candidate(s) running for office

Ginny Cammerisi (Council)

Dan Dockery (Council)

Russell Riffle (Council)

Don Kessel (Council)

 

In office when decision was made NOT to oppose pipeline

Opposing Candidate(s) running for office

Laith Alfaqih (Council at Large)

Chris Dobroski (Council at Large)

Lynda Roesch (Council at Large)

Ken Suer (Council at Large)

Lee Ann Bissmeyer (Council at Large)

In office when decision was made NOT to oppose pipeline

Opposing Candidate(s) running for office

Vicki Hoppe (Council President)

Sue Knight (Member at Large)

Charles Lippert (Member at Large)

Mike Wilson (Member at Large

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Shayok Dutta (Ward 1)
Dave Koch (Ward 2)
Paul Schmidt (Ward 3)
Robert Tankersley (Ward 4)

In office when decision was made NOT to oppose pipeline

Opposing Candidate(s) running for office

John Smith (Mayor)

Shirley Hacket-Austin (Member at Large)

Frank Sylvester (Member at Large)

Idella Thompson (Member at Large

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Why would these municipalities choose not to intervene?  We can only guess…but here is NOPE’s response to some possible reasons:

NOPE RESPONSE:

The cost for intervention by municipalities can be minimal or very expensive, depending on strategy.  For example, if a municipality simply desires to be included in the proceedings, have a deeper understanding of the project with access to  information and materials not available to the public and just have a “seat at the table”, cost is minimal.  While the cost to hire experts to testify or for expensive attorneys can be quite significant, neither are required to participate in municipal intervention.

NOPE RESPONSE

Because this pipeline passes through many adjacent communities, most people who live and work in your municipality may be affected in some way — perhaps the school your children attend or the fields where they play soccer and baseball are located in the “burn zone” or the stores where you shop  or places where you work are  adjacent to the pipeline.

Not a compelling enough reason? Adjustments to Duke’s plans can be made at any time during the application process.  If your municipality is not part of the proceedings, then you will not have a say and will not be be heard if there are design changes or routing decisions that impact your community.

Finally, ratepayers across all communities will ultimately foot the $100+ million bill for this unnecessary infrastructure.

Under the leadership of PG Sittenfeld (City of Cincinnati) and Todd Portune (Hamilton County), a formidable  inter jurisdictional opposition force has been created.  By creating a united front, this gives all communities the best possible chance to have an impact on what happens with Duke’s pipeline. 

Sharing knowledge and resources enables a stronger defense against Duke, and increases the likelihood outcomes that are in the best interest of all our communities.  

How to Use This Information

  1. Consider this information when making your voting decisions.  NOPE  does not endorse specific candidates.  However, we encourage everyone to be informed about where candidates stand on issues that are important to them and to vote accordingly. 
  2. Hold your officials accountable to the positions they have taken on the pipeline, in the future.

Who is Committed to Opposing Dukes Pipeline – Madeira?

MADEIRA

Opposes Duke’s Pipeline

Supports Intervention Coalition

Comments

Melisa Adrien  (Mayor)

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Matt Luther (Council at Large)

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Brian Mueller (Council at Large)

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Nancy Spencer  (Council at Large)

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Traci Bayer Theis  (Council at Large)

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How to Use This Information

  1. Consider this information when making your voting decisions.  NOPE  does not endorse specific candidates.  However, we encourage everyone to be informed about where candidates stand on issues that are important to them and to vote accordingly. 
  2. Ask your elected officials and candidates to respond to NOPE’s questions about their position on Duke’s pipeline, if they have not done so.  CLICK HERE for the questionnaire or copy this URL into your browser:  https://goo.gl/forms/67wnq0A5lrsGy9Xh2.  It will take 2-3 minutes to complete.
  3. Hold your officials accountable to the positions they have taken on the pipeline, in the future.
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NOTE: The red question mark symbol indicates that we have not had a response from this official/candidate.   We will update the information when we receive their response, so encourage officials and candidates in your community to add their responses to our survey:  https://goo.gl/forms/67wnq0A5lrsGy9Xh2

Who is Committed to Opposing Dukes Pipeline – Golf Manor?

GOLF MANOR

Opposes Duke’s Pipeline

Supports Intervention Coalition

Comments

Matthew K. Boettcher 

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Sharon Chaney

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Lou Marx 

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Stefan Dinsmore

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In addition to the local safety issues, I oppose the pipeline due to concerns that this new delivery system will increase investment in fracking in northern Ohio and the danger that poses to our aquifers.

Greg Schwartzberg (Vice Mayor)

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In addition to the local safety issues, I oppose the pipeline due to concerns that this new delivery system will increase investment in fracking in northern Ohio and the danger that poses to our aquifers.

How to Use This Information

  1. Consider this information when making your voting decisions.  NOPE  does not endorse specific candidates.  However, we encourage everyone to be informed about where candidates stand on issues that are important to them and to vote accordingly. 
  2. Help us fill in the missing information! Ask your elected officials and candidates to respond to NOPE’s questions about their position on Duke’s pipeline, if they have not done so.  CLICK HERE for the questionnaire or copy this URL into your browser:  https://goo.gl/forms/67wnq0A5lrsGy9Xh2.  It will take 2-3 minutes to complete.
  3. Hold your officials accountable to the positions they have taken on the pipeline, in the future.
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NOTE: The red question mark symbol indicates that we have not had a response from this official/candidate.   We will update the information when we receive their response, so encourage officials and candidates in your community to add their responses to our survey:  https://goo.gl/forms/67wnq0A5lrsGy9Xh2