MEDINA — Sustainable Medina County activists couldn’t persuade Medina County commissioners to pay for air quality tests at the proposed compressor station in Guilford Township, part of the $2.1 billion NEXUS Gas Transmission project.
“It will affect all of you,” Sustainable leader Kathie Jones said. “You will have it on your conscience if you don’t want to do it.”
The group has employed Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project, which has an office in McMurray, Pa., to conduct baseline testing for $9,500. Once the compressor station is built, the Environmental Health Project will retest the air for an additional $9,500 to see if any toxins are being released.
“We need to know if we have clean air,” said Jones, of Sharon Township.
Commissioner Pat Geissman told Jones the board won’t pay for any air testing.
“I will tell you the board of commissioners will not be assisting with the funds to have the air quality check done,” Geissman said. “We believe the Air Quality Management District of Akron does the same thing and they can do this at no charge to us.”
Jones said the testing the Environmental Health Project is doing is different and more elaborate than anything the Air Quality Management District would do.
“The Environmental Health Project has already done a baseline over a period of time,” she said. “The Akron Regional Air Quality Management District doesn’t do baselines.”
Jones said the Environmental Health Project will conduct health studies and a health analysis. It will also analyze hundreds of toxins.
“It’s not a one-day thing,” she said. “It’s not the same as Akron does.”
Geissman also took exception to “scary” pictures Jones provided to commissioners on what the compressor could look like.
“I was very disappointed when I saw the picture you gave us last week,” she said.
“It was scary. It’s not what is being built out there. The commissioners have a diagram of what’s being built out there. It’s way back off the road.
“If you want a level of trust with the commissioners, you can’t bring us things that don’t depict exactly what it is you’re talking about. I left here thinking, ‘Oh, my gosh. That’s what is going to be built out there?’ It’s not. It’s a much smaller scale. They don’t have all those smokestacks. It’s hard to continue to trust you if you’re going to continue to bring material to us that is misleading.”
Jones said the pictures were “similar” to what is going to be built at 8707 Guilford Road in Guilford.
“We didn’t say it was the exact size,” she said. “There is no picture of it yet. It hasn’t been built.
“This is not grandstanding.”
The 255-mile gas transmission line will travel through Medina County on its way into Michigan and a hub in Canada. Compressor stations along the way help boost the pressurized gas through the pipeline.
Geissman said commissioners have “no authority” over the pipeline.
“I realize your hands are tied, but your hands are not tied donating toward air quality (tests),” Jones said.
Two other Sustainable members also spoke at the meeting, the Rev. Sharon L. Kiesel and Pauline Chapman.
Kiesel said she suffers from an environmental illness.
“(I have a) broken immune system,” she said. “I speak for millions of people who have environmental illnesses and for future generations that will be coming down with them due to the uncontrolled testing and the release of chemicals into our environment.”
Kiesel said the compressor stations represent a significant health problem.
“If we cannot prevent this (pipeline), we must protect our citizens,” she said.
“Residents have wells, farms and livestock that drink from the ponds, streams and rainwater. Those can be polluted by the emissions from (the blowdowns).”
Chapman said she lives within 200 feet of the proposed pipeline.
“I am very worried,” she said. “I’m 72 years old. I’m living next to a compressor station. At this age, I’m vulnerable to more health risks than younger people. I’m worried about the toxins that are going to be emitted in the air I breathe.”
Sam Rubens, administrator for the Air Quality Management District, said his company is contracted by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to do air monitoring. It serves Medina, Summit and Portage counties.
“Our concern with the compressor station is more of a regional ozone issue.
“As a public health issue, the ozone that could be created, it could be an issue. The natural gas is not going to be affecting the well. It’s a gas. It’s going to go up in the air.”
Jones said there will be blowdowns every 32 hours at the compressor station. Blowdowns vent natural gas to reduce any pressure buildup.
Rubens said it’s unlikely blowdowns will occur every 32 hours.
- Charles Huber of the Medina County Building Department told commissioners there was 39 new housing starts in the county during October.
The average construction cost for a new home that month was $394,317, an increase of about 10.9 percent from October a year ago.
Montville Township led the way with nine new housing starts, with Lafayette Township coming in second with five, and Liverpool, Medina and Sharon townships with four apiece.
Year to date, according to Huber’s report, Montville is on top with 87 new housing starts.
There were 294 residential and commercial building permits issued for October valued at a total of $80,917. That represented a 15 percent increase compared with October 2016.
Huber said there were 21 commercial property permits for October worth $18.5 million. The largest was for the Village of Saint Edward Assistant Living facility in Wadsworth worth $15 million. Pride One Construction will handle the construction.
- Commissioners appointed four people to the Transportation Improvement District. Bethany Dentler, executive director of the Medina County Economic Development Corp., was appointed as the commissioners’ representative. Jeff Brandon, Montville Township trustee, and Rick Monroe, York Township trustee, were named township representatives. Conrad Sarnowski, Seville resident, was appointed as the villages’ representative. Their terms will expire Dec. 31, 2019.
- The Medina County Health Department will handle dental services for inmates at Medina County Jail at a rate of $105.57 per hour or $1,267 per month for 12 hours of service, not to exceed $15,202 over 12 months — January to Dec. 31, 2018.
Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or firstname.lastname@example.org.