‘We’re going to fight’: Residents against construction of massive gas pipeline

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MEDINA, Ohio -- Plans are underway for construction of a massive natural gas pipeline that would cut across six counties in Northeast Ohio, and people living along its path are worried about the potential impact.

“You feel like you got a punch right in the stomach,” said Mario Pascolini, who has lived in Guilford Township in Medina County for 35 years.

Pascolini is among those who received a letter from Spectra Energy Corp., the company behind the pipeline. The letter seeks approval for surveyors to check his property.

The 250-mile-long Nexus Gas Transmission line would run from the Kensington Processing Plant in Columbiana County, across Northeast Ohio to Detroit and Canada. The steel pipe would measure 36 to 42 inches in diameter, carrying 2 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day. It would be buried at least three feet underground.

Pascolini has hired a lawyer specializing in property rights and organized a group of Medina County property owners to learn about the project and to fight it. They’ve placed signs opposing the pipeline in their front yards and have held several meetings.

“For the compensation they would pay you to come onto your property, the real cost in property values, safety and environmental are huge,” Pascolini said. “I had to step forward. I had to do something because I feel we the people of the United States are the people who have the power.”

Medina County Commissioners are working to set up a meeting between residents and Spectra Energy.

“You have concerns to make sure there is stringent enforcement of the regulations, of the safety precautions and local government's responsibility on behalf of property owners is vigilance,” said Commissioner Steve Hambley.

A project spokesman says the pipeline would provide needed natural gas for heating homes and manufacturing.

“Stringent safety guidelines govern the transportation and distribution of natural gas,” said Arthur Diestel, with NEXUS Gas Transmission. “NEXUS is committed to the safe, reliable operation of facilities and to the protection of employees, the public and the environment.”

Diestel said surveying could begin later this month, with regulatory permitting to start by the end of the year. The pipeline could be operating by late 2017, he said.

“We may lose, I don't know. No one knows how this is going to turn out, but we're going to fight,” Pascolini said. “Between David and Goliath, David won, so that's what we're doing.”

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