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Activists to Medina County: Pay for air quality tests for NEXUS pipeline

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Kathie Jones, leader of Sustainable Medina County, asks Medina County commissioners Tuesday to pay for air quality control tests at the compressor station that will be built in Guilford Township. BOB FINNAN / GAZETTE

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MEDINA — Members of Sustainable Medina County asked county commissioners Tuesday if they would pay for air quality control tests at the compressor station that will be constructed in Guilford Township as part of the NEXUS pipeline project.

“They are clearing land now to construct it,” Sustainable’s Kathie Jones, of Sharon Township, said. “(It will) have blowdowns every 32 hours.”

The $2.1 billion, 255-mile NEXUS Gas Transmission pipeline will originate in Columbiana County. It will travel through Stark, Summit and Wayne counties before proceeding through Medina and Lorain counties on the way to the Toledo area, into Michigan and then to a hub in Canada.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission gave the pipeline project a green light last month to proceed with construction, and clearing work has begun throughout the state.

As pressurized gas is transported through the pipeline, it sometimes needs a boost, and that’s where a compressor station comes into play.

As gas travels through the pipeline, friction and elevation differences can slow the gas and reduce pressure, so compressor stations placed about

70 miles apart help push gas through the pipeline, according to the NEXUS website. During a blowdown, natural gas is vented to reduce any pressure buildup.

Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental, which has an office in McMurray, Pa., said on its website that a single blowdown can release up to 15,000 cubic feet of methane in the atmosphere.

Members of Sustainable Medina County want the air tested now to compare with what it’s like after the compressor station is up and running.

Those tests would be conducted by the Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project, which conducts air monitoring near compressor stations, mostly in the Northeast.

Testing costs would be $9,500 now and $9,500 afterward and could show if there are any toxins being released.

Jones said since the county has about $350,000 coming after granting an easement to NEXUS in the Innovation Park area in Lafayette Township, perhaps commissioners can use some of it for testing the air.

Jones said a few Sustainable Medina County members have contributed about $2,000 toward the first part of the two-part test.

“We can see what’s in the air,” she said. “Since it’s not being tested by anyone else, we think it should be done.”

Construction of the compressor station at 8707 Guilford Road, Guilford Township, could start soon on the

75-acre site.

“They’ve cut down trees, built access roads and started excavating,” Jones said. “They are working on it. It could start any day now.”

“This is huge,” she said. “People will be shocked (how big this project is).

“It’s going to affect all of us. This is a life-and-death issue that will affect people all across Medina County.”

Commissioners said after their meeting that any air testing should be done by the Akron Regional Air Quality Management District.

“That’s what they do,” Commissioner Bill Hutson said. “That’s their role in life. Why would we do duplicate testing?”

County Health Commissioner Krista Wasowski said she recommended that Sustainable Medina County members talk to Akron Regional Air.

“That would be the appropriate place to go,” Wasowski said.

During the meeting, Bill Thombs, Westfield Township trustee said planning, training and other procedures need to be clear in case any problems arise at the compressor station.

Thombs, who didn’t run for re-election and whose term expires Dec. 31, said there should be plans to tour the facility once it’s built.

“There needs to be a relationship,” he said.

Commissioner Adam Friedrick said the Emergency Management Agency is trained to handle any problems for many different potential problems.

“Most of the things that can transpire are already part of their training,” he said. “If there’s another county more prepared than we are, I’d be surprised. I can check to see what training they’ve had in regard to a compressor station.”

Mary Emoff, of Brunswick Hills Township, a member of Sustainable Medina County, said residents should be wary of what’s coming out of the smokestacks at the compressor station.

“There is no odor and it’s invisible,” the retired health care worker said.

“It’s important for us to know what’s going up in our air,” she said.

Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or rfinnan@medina-gazette.com.



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