LC judge made the wrong call

To the editor:

Why don’t residents of Lorain County receive the same judicial treatment as those in Medina and Erie counties?

Last week, Lorain County Common Pleas judge Mark Betleski granted a temporary restraining order against five Lorain County property owners who have refused access to surveyors for the proposed NEXUS pipeline. The property owners, including Oberlin resident Karen Fridenstine, were not even notified of the hearing. In contrast, judges in Erie and Medina counties have refused Spectra Energy’s request for a temporary restraining order. Medina judge Christopher Collier ruled on July 17 that the order was not needed because the NEXUS attorney failed to demonstrate that “irreparable harm” would be caused by waiting until the issue of Spectra’s right to survey at this point in the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission permitting process is argued in court.

As judge Collier noted, if he had issued a temporary restraining order, Spectra would have completed its surveying before the 14 days of the order had run out, and the issue of whether the company has the right to survey at all would be moot.

Why didn’t judge Betleski recognize that Spectra needs to prove it has a “public purpose” when it is a private, profit-making corporation that intends to export fracked gas from Ohio to Canada? Is judge Betleski aware that a city of Oberlin ordinance bans fracked gas infrastructure, such as NEXUS, within its corporate limits, so surveying for a NEXUS route within Oberlin contradicts our law? Do Lorain County residents have to suffer from corporate bullying without any chance to argue their case in court?

The fracking industry already has Ohio’s governor, legislature, and regulatory agencies in its pocket. Do the frackers also control the Lorain County court?

John D. Elder