By Amanda Garrett


MEDINA: Lynn Kemp remembers the day her 82-year-old mother received a letter saying companies intended to build part of the Nexus pipeline under her family’s York Township farm: Aug. 24, 2014.



Her fight against the proposed pipeline to carry natural gas collected by hydraulic fracturing from Ohio’s Marcellus and Utica shale areas to Canada started then and continued Saturday on Medina Square where she held up a handmade sign reading, “Honk for clean water, clean air, safe soil.”



About 100 like-minded protesters joined her as they chanted and marched around the historic park, vowing to continue their fight against the gas transmission line even as the project cleared a major federal hurdle.



In late November, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) determined there are no major environmental issues that should keep the proposed 256.6-mile pipeline from being built.



About 200 miles of the 36-inch-diameter pipe would run through parts of Summit, Stark, Wayne and Medina counties.



Backers of the pipeline said the FERC decision was a milestone that put construction of the pipeline to begin during the first quarter of 2017.



But protesters in Medina said they aren’t giving up.





Last week, anti-pipeline activists about 100 miles away from Medina scored a local victory: Bowling Green’s City Council unanimously rejected an easement request to run the Nexus pipeline across city-owned land there.



That will likely force the pipeline’s owners to either change the route of the project or sue the city to take the land they want to use through eminent domain, the Toledo Blade reported.



Medina County residents opposed to the pipeline don’t have that kind of municipal muscle.



The proposed pipeline here only crosses through townships, whose trustees don’t have the same power as cities under Ohio law.



Kathie Jones of Sustainable Medina County said Saturday that her group has twice gathered enough signatures to put a measure on the ballot to change Medina County to a charter form of government that might block the pipeline.



But Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted and the Ohio Supreme Court have twice blocked the move.



Jones on Saturday said her group will try a third time in 2017. She also criticized state Sen. Larry Obhof and state Rep. Steve Hambley, Republicans who represent the county.



“They have shown they are the puppets of big oil by just this week voting against the state’s renewable energy mandates,” Jones said.





The protesters Saturday were a mix of Medina County residents and others, including a group of students from Oberlin College.



Sharon Kiesel, who lives just south of Medina in Montville Township, said she was never an environmentalist until she got sick with an “environmental illness,” which not only forced her to give up her church ministry, but nearly took her life. Her illness, she said, has left her extraordinarily sensitive to chemicals, from perfumes to common cleaning supplies.



The pipeline and the processes that go with it, she said, can cause the same sort of environmental illness. She handed out maps of Ohio that she said plot out all of the oil, gas and injection wells in the state.





About a third of eastern Ohio — from Lake Erie to the Ohio River — is covered in black dots.



That’s what drew schoolteacher Melissa Goshe to Medina from her home in Kirtland 50 miles away in the snow belt, where 32 inches of snow had fallen.



Goshe said people who live nowhere near the pipeline would suffer from its effect.



“Lake Erie, the pipeline doesn’t go through it,” Goshe said. “But the pipeline will impact all the rivers and streams in the watershed that feed into Lake Erie, and people need to stop it.”



Amanda Garrett can be reached at 330-996-3725 or agarrett@thebeaconjournal.com. Twitter: @agarrettabj