Raina Ripple of the Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project speaks about the importance of monitoring air quality for individuals living near a natural gas pipeline or compressor station. She was a guest speaker Wednesday night at a town hall meeting hosted by Sustainable Medina County at Guilford Township Hall.
NATHAN HAVENNER / GAZETTE Enlarge
GUILFORD TWP. — A Carroll County couple related their experiences about living near a compression station, and the effects they believe it has had on their health, during a town hall meeting Wednesday night hosted by Sustainable Medina County.
A compressor station, part of the NEXUS pipeline project, is under construction on Guilford Road in the township.
The town hall meeting attended by about 50 people also featured presentations by Peggy Berry of Dayton, who spoke about possible health effects associated with living near a compressor station, and Raina Ripple, director of the Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health project.
Carroll County resident Barry Booth told the audience about being knocked to the floor with his wife because of a sudden odor. He said he couldn’t talk, and dialed 911.
“I know what you are going to get here,” Barry Booth said. “I was here two years ago.”
Mary Booth said the couple lives
1.4 miles from a compressor station and about 100 feet from a pipeline.
Mary Booth said she was one of three women in a 0.6-mile area who was diagnosed with breast cancer, and she believes the diagnosis is a result of living near gas wells.
She said she and her husband have attempted to sell their home, which has been on the market for 297 days, but have not had any luck.
Barry Booth said that despite their struggles, they will continue to fight.
“I guess I’m Irish, and when you get knocked down on your living room floor, you get up and fight and that’s what I’m doing.”
Peggy Berry, who has Ph.D. in nursing research, told the audience there are 26-29 chemicals that are released from a compressor station, and discussed the effects exposure to methane, benzene and carbon dioxide can have on the human body.
“We need to think in terms of doing a health assessment now and continuing those on a yearly basis,” she said.
She said those living near the compressor station at 8707 Guilford Road can take steps to make sure the air in their homes is as clean as possible.
“We need to be as good as we can in keeping our indoor air as good as we can,” she said.
Berry said steps people can take to improve the air quality in their home include purchasing a quality air filter and eliminating any secondhand smoke.
Sharon Township resident Kathie Jones, a member of Sustainable Medina County, said in a statement before the meeting that the organization wanted to “educate residents living near the NEXUS pipeline and compressor station as to the impacts it may have on their health.”
The organization also was seeking funding to complete “baseline air monitoring” in the area. Jones said the total cost of air quality testing is $19,000 and would show residents any differences in air quality once the compressor station is operational.
Sustainable Medina County was turned down by Medina County commissioners in November when the grassroots group asked if the county could help pay for testing being done by the Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project, which has an office in McMurray, Pa.
“We believe the Air Quality Management District of Akron does the same thing and they can do this at no charge to us,” county Commissioner Pat Geissman told Jones.
Sam Rubens, administrator for the Air Quality Management District who attended the November commissioners meeting, said his company is contracted by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to do air monitoring. It serves Medina, Summit and Portage counties.
The $2.1 billion, 255-mile NEXUS Gas Transmission pipeline will originate in Columbiana County and travel through Medina and Lorain counties on its way to a hub in Canada.
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