Environmental groups are asking a court to stop construction of a natural gas pipeline that will run across northern Ohio and into Michigan and Canada, the latest in a series of challenges against pipelines being built to transport gas from shale deposits in Appalachia.
The lawsuit filed Monday by the Sierra Club and others is requesting a new review of whether the NEXUS pipeline is needed.
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It also challenges the decision made by the federal commission that oversees gas pipelines that allowed construction to move ahead.
Within the past month, surveyors have started staking the route and crews have cleared trees for the 255-mile-long pipeline, one of several being built or in the planning stages to carry gas from West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio.
Plans for the pipelines have generated intense opposition from residents worried about property rights, safety and damage to the environment.
The mayor of a small city in northeast Ohio has gone to federal court in a bid to move the NEXUS pipeline route to a less populated area while another group of property owners haven't had success in getting the courts to consider their attempt to block the project.
The opponents face an uphill battle because there aren't any known instances of a pipeline project being derailed after receiving approval from the commission.
The lawsuit seeks an immediate halt to construction on the NEXUS pipeline.
A spokesman for the project didn't immediately return a message seeking comment.
The Sierra Club is asking a federal appeals court in Washington to order a review of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's approval allowing construction.
The environmental groups say that the federal commission is allowing work to begin before all of the legal challenges are considered.
"FERC is rubber stamping pipeline permits without sufficiently examining the impacts to communities, our climate or showing that they are actually needed," said Shelly Corbin, of the Sierra Club in Ohio.
A spokeswoman for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission declined to comment on the lawsuit.