FAYETTE, Ohio — They came. They demonstrated.
They groaned, they rolled their eyes, and they whispered to people on either side of them once everyone was seated on the Fayette High School’s hard, wooden gymnasium bleachers, with at least four Fayette police officers standing watch.
But overall, the unusually large crowd that attended Tuesday night’s public information session about Artesian of Pioneer’s plan to tap into the nine-county Michindoh Aquifer for Toledo-area suburbs and other communities far away from it — some 800 or more people — was pretty orderly.
The few guffaws, cackles, and outbursts of applause were nothing compared to some of the heckling that has occurred at some other meetings in recent months, such as Pioneer Village Council meetings.
Clearly, the majority of those in attendance were opposed.
Hosted by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, the meeting was the first held by the state environmental regulator about Pioneer Village Mayor Ed Kidston’s plan to pipe and sell an unknown quantity of aquifer water to Maumee, Sylvania, Perrysburg, and portions of Henry and Fulton counties.
The type of meeting itself was unusual, not just the turnout.
Amy Jo Klei, Ohio EPA drinking and ground waters division chief who fielded most of the questions, told the crowd on numerous occasions that her agency doesn’t have a public meeting about ordinary well-siting location requests.
She said this case is anything but ordinary. “The amount of public interest, the amount of legislative concern has been extraordinary,” Ms. Klei said.
Mr. Kidston, who owns Artesian of Pioneer, was not there.
Ms. Klei and other Ohio EPA officials explained the limitations of the agency’s authority, emphasizing that […]