The following report was originally published on the Earth First! Newswire.
Yesterday morning, a collective of protesters braved an Ohio thunderstorm and walked onto an active construction site, stopping workers from welding a section of the NEXUS natural gas pipeline. Dressed as “climate angels,” complete with all white clothing, angel wings, and halos, the group stated that they were partaking in a “sacred fight,” by invoking a “divine force…[to] intervene in the construction of a disaster pipeline.” While the majority of construction was disrupted for several hours, some workers continued to operate construction vehicles–blatantly violating safety standards set by the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration. At one point, a bulldozer drove at full speed towards protesters and came dangerously close to running them over, forcing some to dive out of the way. Protesters were eventually ordered off-site by state troopers, and continued to remain on the side of State Route 3 for several hours, chanting and singing
A member of the collective shared their motivations for participating in the action: “We are sending a message to NEXUS that communities and divine forces are not going to let their death project come to pass. To those around us who have given up hope–we are showing that we have so much power when working together against these violent corporations. There is still so much that can to be done to end this project, to oppose the fossil fuel empire, and build a world that we want to live in.”
This was the first known act of nonviolent direct action carried out in opposition to the construction of the NEXUS natural gas pipeline. “This is just the beginning,” said one of the protestors. The pipeline, owned by Enbridge Inc., is 36” in diameter, planned to carry fracked natural gas from Eastern Ohio to Canada, running across Northern Ohio and part of Eastern Michigan. In Northeast Ohio, ground trenching has begun in preparation for the pipeline being installed below ground.
The aforementioned construction site is only 4.7 miles from the Wadsworth Compressor station for the NEXUS pipeline, located in Guilford Township. The compressor station, which increases pressure along the pipeline in order to transport the natural gas, will emit carcinogenic toxins including formaldehyde, radon, benzene, toluene. These toxins are guaranteed to result in life-threatening health impacts to those who live and work within five miles of the compressor station. One protester, a Medina County resident and longtime activist, held signs that read “Caution: NEXUS Cancer Zone.” He asserted that he had joined protest to fight for future generations, and added that “some people my age join gyms…I join protests.”
Another member of the group connected the protest to other global struggles: “Pipelines are just one piece of a violent and destructive global system. Enbridge, the company that owns NEXUS, has been waging a war against communities all over, including threatening Anishinaabe land and peoples with the Line 3 Pipeline in Minnesota. As we protect land, water, and life threatened by the NEXUS pipeline, we stand in solidarity with the Palestinians murdered and injured in Gaza and the fight for Palestinian liberation, with the water protectors and protesters fighting Line 3, the Bayou Bridge Pipeline, and Mountain Valley Pipeline, with anti-imperialist liberation and independence movements protesting the national debt and recent austerity measures in Puerto Rico, and with demonstrators facing violent militarized repression while calling for the end to an authoritarian government in Nicaragua. Our liberation from the fossil fuels empire is inherently tied to the liberation of all peoples of the world.”