A lawsuit challenging air pollution permits issued to Nexus Gas Transmission for two natural gas pipeline compressor stations must be dismissed, a divided federal appeals court ruled Feb. 21.

The three citizens groups suing over the permits failed to show they had standing to challenge them, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled in an unpublished opinion.

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency approved permits for two compressor stations along Nexus’s $2.1 billion, 257-mile natural gas pipeline system.

Protecting Air for Waterville, Neighbors Against NEXUS, and Sustainable Medina County sued. But these citizen groups don’t have standing to challenge the permits, because they failed to lay out how their members will be harmed by emissions the compressor stations, the court said.

The group’s “bare allegations” that unnamed group members will be exposed at some point to toxic chemicals in the emissions weren’t enough, the court said.

The court’s opinion was written by Judge Joan Larson, and joined by Judge Deborah Cook.

Judge Gilbert Merritt dissented. “The petitioners have a clear interest in the outcome. They live close to the facilities in question. A leak could cause an explosion. If the proposed facilities are built, their property values may decrease, they may be exposed to air pollution, and their peace and quiet may be disturbed by two noisy factories,” Merritt wrote.

The plaintiffs were represented by Terry J. Lodge. The Ohio EPA was represented by the Office of the Attorney General of Ohio. Nexus was represented by Bricker & Eckler.

The case is Protecting Air for Waterville v. Ohio EPA, 6th Cir., No. 18-3025, unpublished 2/21/19.