WADSWORTH: It was a different meeting from what pipeline activist Angelina Samples of New Franklin expected.
She envisioned a meeting where those against the $2 billion Nexus Pipeline that would move natural gas from the Utica shale across northern Ohio could voice their concerns and rally support.
Instead, the meeting was more informal, with the 300-plus people coming into the Galaxy Banquet Center each being assigned to one of 100 blue-shirted Nexus representatives who personally guided them through pipeline maps, aerial photographs, displays and informational materials.
The company’s goal was to make the 2½-hour session more of a one-on-one affair where company staffers could answer individual questions, said spokesman Arthur Diestel of Nexus Gas Transmission LLC.
The company was very pleased by what he termed the “robust turnout” for the initial meeting required under federal rules.
The format will be used again when a similar meeting is held from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Monday at Stark State’s Business and Entrepreneurship Center in Jackson Township.
The big attraction for most attendees was 18 aerial photographs and maps mounted on easels showing the proposed route of the 42-inch pipeline.
Pipeline opponents were unhappy with the meeting’s format that made it hard to muster more support against the pipeline.
“I’m very shocked and disappointed,” said the 52-year-old Samples. She called the meeting “very deceiving … and a dog-and-pony show. … It was little more than another sales pitch for Nexus to get more public support. And I don’t think that’s going to happen.”
Norman First, 66, of New Franklin, also left upset.
“The meeting was 100 percent propaganda for the pipeline.”
Sentiment from those attending the Wadsworth meeting seemed to strongly run against the pipeline through Stark, Summit, Wayne and Medina counties. A more-rural route was repeatedly suggested by pipeline opponents.
“We don’t want it on our property,” said 81-year-old Georgia Kimble, who lives on 110 acres in Medina County’s Litchfield Township. “We hope to get it rerouted.”
Mario Pascolini, 71, of Guilford Township, said opposition to the pipeline is growing.
Residents are against the pipeline because of safety concerns and because of its impact on property values, he said.
Pascolini was one of the organizers of anti-pipeline efforts in Medina County, although his property is no longer within the pipeline’s proposed route. It is about three-fourths of a mile away.
There was some support for the Nexus Pipeline.
Bill Morrison, 50, of Wooster, and Rick Ross, 51, of Dover, are both members of Local No. 18 of the International Union of Operating Engineers and they came to the meeting to show support for the pipeline. It would boost Ohio jobs and that’s important, Morrison said.
Diestel said the company will continue fine-tuning the route over the next year, as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission begins its review of the proposed pipeline. This will include looking at alternate routes and the route will likely be changing some, he said.
Additional meetings will be held by the federal agency to hear public comment on the Nexus Pipeline, but those meetings have not been scheduled, he said.
The pipeline would run 250 miles from Columbiana County in eastern Ohio to Defiance in northwest Ohio and then head north into Michigan and into Ontario and connect with existing pipelines.
It would run through Summit, Stark, Medina and Wayne counties. The project calls for 12 miles of pipeline in Summit County, 19.8 miles in Stark and 22 miles in Medina.
The initial application was filed Dec. 30 with the federal agency that must approve the interstate pipeline.
The request was filed by Houston- based Nexus Gas Transmission LLC in collaboration with Detroit-based DTE Energy Co. and Texas-based Spectra Energy Partners.
The pipeline will be capable of moving up to 2 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day. That’s enough to heat 8 million houses.
It would cross 11 Ohio counties and three Michigan counties and affect 3,479 properties along the route, the companies said.
A 600-foot-wide corridor has been set where the pipeline could be routed. This would later be narrowed to an easement about 50 feet wide for the pipeline plus a temporary 50-foot-wide construction area. The pipeline will be buried about 3 feet deep.
The companies hope to use existing utility rights of way when possible.
The project calls for construction of four compressor stations along the route: in Medina, Columbiana, Erie and Lucas counties in Ohio.
The pipeline has encountered strong grass-roots opposition in New Franklin and Green, plus in Medina and Stark counties.
The pipeline application will be filed in November 2015 and could be approved in December 2016.
Work on the pipeline would begin in January 2017 with the pipeline going into service in November 2017.