Represent NRG Ohio Pipeline Co. LLC, a subsidiary of NRG Energy, Inc., in the siting of a high-pressure natural gas pipeline, 24 inches in diameter and 20 miles in length. The pipeline will supply NRG’s Avon Lake generation facility, which is being converted from a coal-fired plant to natural gas-fired plant. As part of this process, we assisted NRG in the formation of this pipeline subsidiary and represented the pipeline company through the permitting procedures of the Ohio Power Siting Board. After a fully-litigated proceeding, the client obtained its required certificate from the Ohio Power Siting Board in 2015. Obtaining this certificate was crucial to the future viability of the NRG plant in Avon Lake. The pipeline gives the company an alternative to $422 million in pollution control devices that would have been necessary to comply with federal Environmental Protection Agency pollution guidelines. Most recently, we have been working with NRG to assist with its easement acquisition efforts, including both voluntary easement negotiations and assistance with state court eminent domain proceedings.
Frank L. Merrill
Frank Merrill is a partner and chair of Bricker & Eckler's Energy, Public Utilities & Environmental law group. His practice focuses on the effect of environmental law on real estate transactions, solid and hazardous waste representation, land use, Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act litigation and commercial real estate transactions. He is the environmental counsel for the Ohio Manufacturers' Association.
Frank has successfully obtained and defended through the administrative process operating permits for several solid waste disposal facilities; has successfully defended hazardous waste burning facilities from various regulatory and citizen-group challenges; and counsels hazardous waste disposal facilities and hazardous waste generators on compliance with RCRA, TSCA, Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act. In addition, he counsels real estate developers and private property owners on wetlands issues and regulatory takings claims.
- Member, Bricker & Eckler’s Southeast Ohio team
- Past President and Advisor to the Board of Directors, Ohio Alliance for the Environment
- Member, American Bar Association; Ohio State Bar Association; Columbus Bar Association
- Listed, Best Lawyers in America (Litigation - Environmental), 2005-2017
- Columbus Lawyer of the Year, Best Lawyers in America (Litigation - Environmental) 2014
- Recognized, ChambersUSA, Natural Resources & Environment with a Band 2 ranking, 2012-2016; Band 3 ranking, 2008-2011
- Rated, BV Distinguished, Martindale-Hubbell
- Named, Ohio Super Lawyers, 2008-2009
- University of Cincinnati College of Law (J.D., 1987)
- Dartmouth College (B.A., 1981)
Recent environmental regulatory developments
Ohio Courts of Appeals affirm authority to conduct land surveys for natural gas pipeline project
EPA issues a final rule regarding “Source Determination for Certain Emission Units in the Oil and Natural Gas Sector”
Impact of the solvent wipe rule in Ohio
Bricker & Eckler attorneys earn Best Lawyers 2017 recognition
Best Lawyers recognizes Bricker & Eckler attorneys
Best Lawyers recognizes Bricker & Eckler attorneys
Local law firm, lawyers ranked in Chambers USA
Served as trial counsel in Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) litigation representing a current owner against various potentially responsible parties.
Obtained injunctive relief in federal court permitting our client to access landowners' property to conduct survey activities during the FERC pre-application process in conjunction with its construction of a $450 million, 75-mile natural gas pipeline.
Obtained injunctive relief for pipeline company client as trial counsel in 11 Ohio courts of common pleas in proceedings against landowners and organized opposition, allowing client access to property to conduct civil, cultural, environmental and cultural survey activities required for FERC application process in conjunction with the client’s construction of a $2 billion, 255-mile interstate natural gas pipeline originating in Ohio. The complexity of issues in these matters required sophisticated organization, detailed planning, and fine-tuned litigation management skills.
NEXUS Gas Transmission, LLC v. Haubert, Columbiana C.P. No. 2015CV275 (June 2, 2015)
NEXUS Gas Transmission, LLC v. Sprague, Erie C.P. No. 2015 CV 0349 (Oct. 29, 2015)
NEXUS Gas Transmission, LLC v. Sean S. Shinaberry Trust, Fulton C.P. No. 15CV000154 (July 17, 2015)
NEXUS Gas Transmission, LLC v. Snyder, Fulton C.P. No. 16CV128 (July 7, 2016)
NEXUS Gas Transmission, LLC v. Patricia A. Wolf, Trustee, Huron C.P. No. CVH20150491 (July 21, 2015)
NEXUS Gas Transmission, LLC v. Karen M. Fridenstein & Kristin H. McDonough, Trustees, Lorain C.P. No. 15CV186926 (July 15, 2015)
NEXUS Gas Transmission, LLC v. Pandy Farm, LLC, Lorain C.P. No. 15CV186926 (Sept. 4, 2015)
NEXUS Gas Transmission, LLC v. Hozakski, Lorain C.P. No. 16 CV 189911 (July 5, 2016)
NEXUS Gas Transmission, LLC v. Lonnie Perry Farms Ltd., Lucas C.P. No. CI201503111 (June 25, 2015)
NEXUS Gas Transmission, LLC v. Houston, Medina C.P. No. 15CIV0636 (Oct. 6, 2015)
NEXUS Gas Transmission, LLC v. Ohms Acres LLC, Sandusky C.P. No. 15CV535 (June 15, 2015)
NEXUS Gas Transmission, LLC v. Scott L. Rathfelder, Trustee, Sandusky C.P. No. 15CV908 (Sept. 17, 2015)
NEXUS Gas Transmission, LLC v. Scott L. Rathfelder, Trustee, Sandusky C.P. No. 15CV908 (Sept. 29, 2015)
NEXUS Gas Transmission, LLC v. Destefano, Stark C.P. No. 2015CV01586 (July 31, 2015)
NEXUS Gas Transmission, LLC v. Camelback, Ltd., Stark C.P. No. 2015CV01586 (Sept. 2, 2015)
NEXUS Gas Transmission, LLC v. Linhart, Stark C.P. 2015CV02073 (Oct. 7, 2015)
NEXUS Gas Transmission, LLC v. Srock, Wayne C.P. No. CVC-H 000304 (Aug. 10, 2015)
NEXUS Gas Transmission, LLC v. Adkins, Wayne C.P. No. CVC-H 000304 (Oct. 14, 2015)
NEXUS Gas Transmission, LLC v. North, Wayne C.P. No. 2016 CVC-H 000327 (July 6, 2016)
NEXUS Gas Transmission, LLC v. Griffith, Wood C.P. No. 15 CV 330 (July 14, 2015)
NEXUS Gas Transmission, LLC v. Sprague, 6th Dist. Erie No. E-15-069, 2016-Ohio-4901 (July 7, 2016)
Obtained a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction on an expedited timeline authorizing a natural gas pipeline company to access property subject to acquisition by eminent domain to conduct tree clearing activities in advance of moratoriums imposed on such activities in order to protect migratory birds and endangered bat species; contempt orders against property owners refusing to honor the order permitting access for tree clearing activities; and immediate injunctive relief against landowners refusing to permit access to their property via eminent domain for construction of a 75-mile natural gas pipeline in eastern Ohio. Also, negotiated settlements with landowners who permitted access and complex, technical settlements with public utilities to resolve overlapping easement situations.
Represent API-Ohio, a state affiliate office of the American Petroleum Institute in governmental affairs and lobbying activities before the Ohio General Assembly, the Governor’s Office and related statewide executive agencies. The firm has participated in high-profile and successful lobbying efforts regarding proposed legislative changes to the oil and gas severance tax and other oil and gas statutes in Ohio. In addition, we played an active role in numerous rule-makings before the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, including the horizontal well-site construction rules and emergency/incident notification rules. The firm has also been involved in negotiating various rule packages before Ohio EPA, the Ohio Department of Commerce and the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio relating to incident notifications, air emissions from compressors and other facilities, and call before you dig procedures.
Assisted in closing in excess of $500 million of debt and equity financing for the construction of an Ohio-based 800 MW electric generation plant on behalf of an energy company. This transaction involved dozens of parties including lenders, equity investors, land sellers, railroads, gas pipeline companies, governmental entities, a title insurer and others.