Bats and energy developers could be at odds in NEXUS pipeline project

The federally threatened long-eared bat and the federally endangered Indiana bat might help opponents of the NEXUS Pipeline

In this Feb. 8, 2017 photo, a northern long-eared bat, is held at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, in Cleveland. Ohio opponents of a high-pressure natural gas pipeline expected to be built across the northern half of the state are clinging to the wings of a furry flyer, the northern long-eared bat, in their efforts to at least delay the $2 billion project. The existence of the threatened species remains one of the impediments the partnership between Houston-based Spectra Energy and Detroit’s DTE Energy face before receiving expected approval to build the 255-mile long NEXUS pipeline capable of transporting 1.5 billion cubic feet of gas per day from the shale fields of Appalachia into Michigan and Ontario, Canada. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
In this Feb. 8, 2017 photo, a northern long-eared bat, is held at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, in Cleveland. Ohio opponents of a high-pressure natural gas pipeline expected to be built across the northern half of the state are clinging to the wings of a furry flyer, the northern long-eared bat, in their efforts to at least delay the $2 billion project. The existence of the threatened species remains one of the impediments the partnership between Houston-based Spectra Energy and Detroit’s DTE Energy face before receiving expected approval to build the 255-mile long NEXUS pipeline capable of transporting 1.5 billion cubic feet of gas per day from the shale fields of Appalachia into Michigan and Ontario, Canada. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

KENSINGTON, Ohio (WKBN) – Two kinds of bats are causing problems for a $2 billion project running through Columbiana County, and approval of construction for a major gas pipeline could depend on the flying mammals.

The federally threatened long-eared bat and the federally endangered Indiana bat might help opponents of the NEXUS Pipeline.

The pipeline is planned to be built from the shale fields of West Virginia westward through northern Ohio, including Columbiana County and into Michigan and Canada.

NEXUS awaits the Energy commission’s approval before construction can begin.

“Energy infrastructure like the NEXUS pipeline is a critical component for seeing the Utica shale play continue to be developed in Ohio,” said Jackie Stewart, state director of energy Indepth -Ohio. 

The bats that could stand in the way of the project live in trees along the planned route during the spring, summer and fall. The safety of wildlife is a top priority for regulators.

“A wise use of resources is a good thing I feel. Definitely want to take precautions when doing different kinds of pipelines or any type of building,” said Jason Reynolds, wildlife conservationist. “If they are going to clear trees- cutting certain times of the year so they are not roosting so you are not causing harm to them,”

That means the pipeline could go in, the bats don’t have to be harmed, and money from the project would go to local communities.

“The NEXUS pipeline in particular, United Local Schools would be looking at $18 million in five years,” Stewart said.

There is no set timetable for the Federal government to approve the pipeline.

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