The NEXUS Pipeline is Complete. Now What?
LEAH FINEGOLD AND IAN FEATHER // NOVEMBER 30, 2018
Sometime in the last few weeks, fracked natural gas began flowing through the 36”-in-diameter NEXUS pipeline. Despite a dedicated, years-long mobilization against this destructive fossil fuel project by students and community members along the route, the power of the corporations behind the project (DTE Energy and Enbridge Inc.) and the complicity of local, state, and federal governing bodies was simply too much to overcome.
This news, although not surprising given the history of extractive projects in this country, is deeply saddening and frustrating, and it’s important for us to grieve and otherwise take care of ourselves in the wake of this news. It’s also important for us to celebrate the small victories that were achieved over the course of the resistance to NEXUS, and highlight the efforts of those who put their personal energies into slowing down construction through both legal and direct action means.
However, the NEXUS Pipeline doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and given the increasingly dire state of our climate and the growing disproportionality of the impacts of climate change, we can also mobilize this sadness and frustration to strengthen the resistance going forward. NEXUS represented one piece of a much larger fossil fuel empire that continues to expand, despite the very clear evidence that such expansion will continue to literally kill us over the next several decades. As we write this, fossil fuel pipelines are being constructed across the country, and fracking wells continue to be dug wherever shale deposits promise quick profits.
Here are some of the ongoing battles in our region (not listed in any particular order):
1. Ohio Senate Bill 250, introduced earlier this year, will essentially make trespassing on places where there is fossil fuel infrastructure a first-degree felony, the most serious type of charge in the state of Ohio. For reference, such an offense is currently punishable as a misdemeanor.
2. There are plans to develop a roughly $100 billion “Appalachia Storage and Trading Hub” across Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, and Kentucky. This would likely include natural gas liquids storage, a market trading index center, a key pipeline feeding epicenter, and a petrochemical refinery row.
3. Both the Mountain Valley Pipeline and Atlantic Coast Pipeline are being constructed through the mountains of West Virginia and Virginia, as well as parts of North Carolina; Enbridge (the same company behind NEXUS) is constructing the Line 3 Pipeline in Minnesota through indigenous lands; the Bayou Bridge Pipeline continues to progress through Louisiana to ultimately act as an extension of the Dakota Access Pipeline; the list goes on.
It’s important to remember that extractive industries are able to continue to expand and grow more powerful due to the entanglement of money in politics and global capitalism. Engaging in resistance or providing solidarity to struggles against almost anything underneath this broad umbrella of imperialism, corruption, and greed will aid in the necessary transition to a more just world that puts people over profit, grants basic human rights to all people, and lifts up voices that have been and continue to be silenced.
However, if you’d like to get directly involved in resisting the fossil fuel projects listed above, consider joining Students for Energy Justice (SEJ) by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.