A battle is brewing across northeast Ohio between an energy company with a proposed pipeline project and property owners who want nothing to do with it.
Tim Dundr, who lives along Medina’s Hidden Acres Drive, said he knew he’d found paradise when he bought his home on two acres in 2013. Then, a year ago, he and his neighbors received a letter from the developers of the Nexus Gas Transmission Project saying their properties might be within or very near the area where the 250-mile Nexus Pipeline might one day be located. The proposed pipeline would begin in Columbiana County and run through several Ohio counties before ending in Ontario, Canada.
"The pipeline's not even in; it's changed everything," said Dundr, as he explained how his peace of mind had been destroyed, “And basically, have given us really no alternative at this point where they're basically gonna take really what you see here, why we moved to this area, the beautiful setting, the beautiful area, the wildlife and basically clear cut it."
Dundr, one of the more vocal residents leading the fight against the Pipeline, said the company notified residents its surveyors needed access to their property for information-gathering purposes. Dundr said the surveyors began arriving at their homes with an off-duty sheriff’s deputy at their sides, a tactic Dundr believes is intended to mislead and intimidate property owners.
"First instance of looking at it, it sort of makes you think that you don't have a right or what is the intention of him being here," he said.
Medina County Sheriff Tom Miller told Fox8 no one in his department had been authorized to work with Nexus employees, saying “That is not a job I would allow them to do.”
Miller said Pipeline representatives needed a court order or a permit to access private property. He said residents were legally entitled to tell company representatives to leave if they failed to acquire the proper legal paperwork. He recommended residents contact his department if they encountered any resistance from Nexus employees.
A Nexus spokesperson responded to property owner complaints, saying:
"Nexus has and will continue to notify landowners, local officials and law enforcement in advance of its plans to conduct necessary surveys. For their safety and security, Nexus employs off duty police officers at its own expense to accompany its survey crews. If a landowner denies access, Nexus will fully and immediately comply with the landowner`s request and vacate the premises.”
The spokesperson also said it is important for the public to understand that one Medina resident posted a sign intended for Nexus employees that read “We shoot to kill.”