Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2020

Publication Title

West Virginia Law Review


pipelines, natural gas, oil, EPA, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)


This Article explores the reasons local governments find difficulty influencing pipeline-routing decisions. For example, federal law controls interstate natural gas pipeline permitting, which is complicated and inaccessible. State law, particularly in Ohio, heavily favors utilities, in part by preempting local efforts to make local decisions regarding oil and gas development. Finally, the information gaps are enormous between what local governments need to influence pipeline-routing decisions and what is accessible.

This Article addresses barriers to local influence by discussing the efforts of citizens and local governments to influence the routing of NexusSpectra's natural gas transmission pipeline, which was recently constructed and made operational through Ohio and Michigan and into Ontario. Specifically, the Article identifies and evaluates the efforts of local jurisdictions to move the pipeline's path to less populated areas. It identifies and analyzes both Ohio law and federal law related to pipeline siting and permitting. Ultimately, this Article describes the efforts of Ohio local governments and Ohio citizens-focusing on the City of Green, Ohio. The goals of the Article are to identify and suggest effective roles that local governments could play in managing their constituents' concerns regarding the siting of natural gas pipelines.