So you’re registered to vote... now what?

After reading our previous blog post on the importance of registering to vote, you went out and either registered to vote, or checked to make sure your registration is updated, right? Congratulations, registered voter! But now what?

Now comes the best part - making sure your voice is heard!

For Ohioans, early (or also called “absentee”) voting starts on October 10 and runs through November 5, the day before Election Day. There are two ways you can vote early: by mail or in person at your county board of elections’ office.

Early voting is easy to do, and the best part is you can have confidence knowing your voice will be heard at the ballot box without having to worry about something popping up in your busy life that makes you miss the opportunity to vote on Election Day. Absentee ballots are counted as soon as the polls close on Election Day, and are often the first results reported by a county.

And every vote matters! There have been local races decided by one vote or even by the luck of the draw. Don’t let issues like like clean energy development, solving toxic algal blooms in Lake Erie, and protecting our forests and parks come down to a single vote or tie.


Take that final step and vote early. Our OEC Action Fund PAC endorsed candidates and issues are counting on you to do your job at the polls so they can work to give all Ohioans a cleaner and healthier environment.  But don’t just take our word for it - leading up to November 6th election, watch our social media to hear from the candidates in their own words about the importance of voting.

The Environment is on the Ballot this November: Register to Vote Today!

Across the country, only 21 percent of environmentalists voted in the 2014 general election. In Ohio, this low voter turnout lead to a stalemate on the issues we all care about most like clean energy development, solving toxic algal blooms in Lake Erie, and defending our forests and parks from the oil and gas industry. But, this year, Ohioans have a chance to push the environmental movement forward and it starts with registering to vote.

This year’s general election will play an instrumental role in the future of Ohio’s democracy. With the promise of a new governor and all 99 Ohio House seats and 17 Ohio Senate seats open, plus on the federal side all 16 seats for the U.S. House of Representatives and a seat on the U.S. Senate up for grabs -- not to mention the 1,661 local issues that will be on ballots across the state -- it is critical that Ohio voters make their voices heard on the environment and elect officials and policies that make sense for our health and our safety.

To ensure that you will be eligible to vote this November, you must register by October 9, 2018. It is also important to check your registration to make sure your address information is up to date. Registration can be done online, by mail, or in person at your local Board of Elections office. Follow this link to register.

The OEC Action Fund PAC has endorsed a slate of candidates we believe will be champions for our environment but we can’t ensure they’ll win without your vote. So, register today to make sure you are eligible to cast your ballot this November!

Our Environmental Endorsements for the 2018 Election

The opportunities to secure meaningful protections for Ohio’s environment have never been greater than in 2018. We face leadership changes in the Governor’s mansion, all statewide elected offices, and the General Assembly.

A healthy Ohio makes possible the governance, education, business, and recreation that the people who live and work in our communities need and depend on. Clean water and air are critical to the health all Ohioans. Open spaces connect us to nature and filter the air and water we need. Clean energy opens doors to a growing and sustainable economy. Sectors of our state’s economy — agriculture, manufacturing, recreation, and tourism, to name a few — depend on clean water, clean air, arable soil, vibrant parks and trails, as well as a stable climate to thrive.

Electing environmental champions to serve in the Ohio General Assembly will strengthen our environment and put leaders in place who are not afraid to bring forth the change Ohio needs to remain competitive in the clean energy boom.

The Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund PAC is excited to introduce you to our endorsed champions for 2018. These environmentally conscientious women and men will work to protect and preserve the health of our citizens and the environment that sustains us. Find out more about each of these candidates below:

House Races:

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Erica Crawley (D-Columbus) for OH-26

Crawley is a proud veteran of the United States Navy serving on active duty in Norfolk, Virginia. She was awarded the National Defense Service Medal and the Navy & Marine Corps Achievement Medal for her dedication and professionalism while providing continuous fleet support of two carrier battle groups, four amphibious ready groups and numerous auxiliary steaming units during Operation Iraqi Freedom. She’s passionate about creating opportunities for the 26th House district constituents to enjoy the natural outdoors, have access to recreational opportunities, and support the 12 metroparks in the District.

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Sedrick Denson (D-Cincinnati) for OH-33

Denson is a rising star in the Cincinnati political scene and has been instrumental in building and expanding the brand and values of the OEC Action Fund family of organizations in Southwest Ohio. He works daily to protect the air we breathe, water we drink, and public spaces we enjoy. Denson has great potential to grow into a legislative environmental champion.

 

 

 

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Laura Lanese (R-Grove City) for OH-23

Lanese is seeking her second term as state representative for the OH-23 House district. She was one of only three Republican House members that voted against HB 114, which seeks to dismantle Ohio’s clean energy standards. She sees clean energy as an economic and security issue, but most importantly as an environmental issue.

 

 

 

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Beth Liston (D-Worthington) for OH-21

Dr. Liston is an environmental advocate with the Ohio Clinicians for Climate Action — a group that originally started within the OEC Action Fund family of organizations. She is most passionate about working on policies that keep us healthy. Dr. Liston values clean air, clean water, a sustainable environment, a living wage, and strong public education as cornerstones to a thriving healthcare system in Ohio and the country.

 

 

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John Patterson (D-Ashtabula) for OH-99

Patterson is running for his fourth and last term in the Ohio House. Patterson has been a consistent legislative champion for Lake Erie and environmental issues. This General Assembly period, he has either introduced or been the primary co-sponsor of five pieces of legislation to help nutrient runoff — including a bill to encourage use of riparian buffers and was the democrat co-sponsor of Clean Lake 2020. He has a thoughtful approach in balancing the environment with agricultural issues, and has been successful in working bipartisanly to get his legislation passed.  

 

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Michael Skindell (D-Lakewood) for OH-13

Skindell has a long history as a legislator with a passion for the environment. He has served terms as both a member of the Ohio House and the Ohio Senate, and is a member of the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators. This past General Assembly period alone has introduced seven environmentally focused pieces of legislation, including protecting Lake Erie from oil and gas drilling and fixing Ohio’s wind setbacks. Skindell is thoughtful in his approach to legislation, seeks out the advice of the OEC Action Fund and tries to garner bipartisan support for his bills.

 

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Cassimir Svigelj (D-Rocky River) for OH-16

Svigelj is running for the first time as a state representative. He makes clean air and water one of his top priorities in his campaign website, biography, and social media. Svigelij is a 4th generation Slovenian, and his heritage means a lot to him and his family. He’s an active volunteer with the Bay Village Green Team.

 

 

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Casey Weinstein (D-Hudson) for OH-37

Weinstein is running for the OH-37 House seat and is passionately focused on clean energy and the environment. Air quality is a personal issue for him as his daughter suffers from childhood asthma. His main area of policy focus is to ease wind setback laws and empower growth in the clean energy sector to create the jobs of tomorrow. Before being elected to Hudson City Council, he spearheaded an effort to place solar panels on the Barlow Community Center, raising money through private donations and grants to make the project a reality.

 

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Erik Yassenoff (R-Upper Arlington) for OH-24

Yassenoff is running for his first time as a state representative. He previously served eight years on the Upper Arlington City Council, where he helped to create and chair the Sustainability and Technology subcommittee for Upper Arlington’s master planning process. He was a vocal leader in wanting the city to install solar on its administrative building, but the vote failed 4-3. He is known for being an intelligent, thoughtful policy wonk, and will use his knowledge on environmental and clean energy issues to be a vocal advocate.

 

Senate Races:

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Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) for SD 23

Antonio has served eight years in the Ohio House and seeks to be the first woman to be elected to the Ohio Senate District 23 seat. She is passionate about equity & fairness, good jobs, safe and healthy communities, and quality education for all. She feels we can’t do any of this without a healthy environment: clean air, land, and water for our children. This is a key theme in her campaign.

 

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Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) for SD 11

As a person that lives on Lake Erie, Fedor has been advocating for a “distressed” designation. She joined local officials and conservation groups in NW Ohio to discuss ways to maintain momentum in the fight to protect the region’s drinking water. She urged Governor Kasich to declare the Maumee Watershed a “distressed watershed” in order to further abate the threats to Toledo’s drinking water. She has made this issue and the environment a part of her campaign platform for this Senate race.

 

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Melinda Miller (D-Newark) for SD 31

Miller is running for office for the first time. She will advocate for environmental policies that protect our water supplies, our air, and our soil from contamination, and prominently talks about these issues on the campaign trail.

Trump attempts to turn the Clean Power Plan into a Dirty Power Scam

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By Melanie Houston, Director, Climate Programs

Last week, Trump’s EPA announced that it will significantly gut the Clean Power Plan (CPP) - an effort to set the first federal limits on carbon pollution from power plants. Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s “Affordable Clean Energy” rule is more accurately described as a “Dirty Power Scam,” which puts the interests of big coal over children's health and climate action.

Power plants generate more than a quarter of the carbon dioxide that America pumps into the atmosphere each year. Many are old, inefficient coal-burning plants, which emit toxic air pollution that harms the health of Ohioans.

We need the Clean Power Plan to protect children and vulnerable communities in Ohio. Ohio is one of the heaviest carbon pollution emitters in the United States as a result of having numerous coal power plants. And the pollution from these plants is most heavily concentrated in our largest cities. Unfortunately, communities of color and vulnerable communities are disproportionately impacted by pollution from these power plants, which are concentrated in low-income communities in Ohio.

If the Trump administration is successful in gutting this plan, we stand to lose enormous public health and economic benefits. The Trump Administration’s own analysis found that the Clean Power Plan could prevent as many as 4,500 premature deaths each year by 2030 (more than even Obama’s EPA estimated). And previous estimates found that the plan could provide up to $54 billion in health and climate benefits.

The Clean Power Plan also encouraged investment in cleaner, safer energy sources like wind and solar. Clean energy creates jobs and drives economic growth, and is supported by a majority of Ohioans.  

Unfortunately, Trump’s Dirty Power Scam moves us away from the clean energy future that so many of us in Ohio embrace. If we’ve learned anything from extreme Lake Erie toxic algae events over the last decade, the rise in tick-borne illness and record heat this summer, it’s that we need common sense climate action and health protections like the Clean Power Plan.

The Clean Power Plan is the result of extensive public engagement and has strong public support in Ohio and across the country. Under the previous administration, EPA experts conducted extensive technical analysis and engaged in unprecedented public outreach to determine the best way to reduce carbon pollution from power plants. In total, the Obama Administration held 11 public listening sessions and received 8 million public comments (over 340,000 from Ohio) in support of the Clean Power Plan before finalizing it. The result of that outreach is the Clean Power Plan.

But instead of listening to American families, Trump and Wheeler are pushing a corporate polluter giveaway that will cost thousands of lives, exacerbate climate change, and threaten our kids’ health.

Besides attempting to trash the Clean Power Plan, the president is pulling the United States out of a Paris climate accord that nearly 200 other nations signed. He also intends to roll back vehicle-efficiency standards aimed at reducing tailpipe emissions, the greatest domestic source of greenhouse gases.

With their new Dirty Power Scam, Donald Trump and Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler are endangering lives and undermining the transition to cleaner, safer energy sources. By proposing to bury the Clean Power Plan, Trump and Wheeler are putting corporate polluters before our health and safety. That is unacceptable. The OEC will continue to advocate on behalf of Ohioans, working with legislators on both sides of the aisle to make sure we all have access to clean air, land and water.  

Zack Space will Fix our Gerrymandered Districts

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By Heather Taylor-Miesle, Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund PAC President

Gerrymandering is a huge issue in Ohio… in fact, our state has one of the most polarized maps in the country, meaning the voices and votes of our communities go largely unheard. At the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund PAC, we believe a fair democracy is the first step toward a fair vote on the issues we care about most, including environment, which is why we need a fair Auditor of State who will be a leader on redrawing our district lines in a more accurate way.

The OEC family of organizations, alongside the League of Women Voters and Common Cause Ohio, NAACP, and Innovation Ohio, worked tirelessly on passing a ballot measure in May 2018 — known as Issue 1 — that will require a process of drawing our districts that is both fair and bipartisan. The first-of-its-kind amendment will end gerrymandering once and for all and give the power back to voters.

Space has made redistricting a top priority and will serve on the redistricting commission to draw better districts for the 2022 election cycle and beyond. As a former Public Defender and Congressman, Space has seen first-hand what redistricting does to a community, especially one that is underserved. Space championed working class Ohioans while in Congress and we believe he will continue to do the same as Auditor of State.

The Action Fund PAC looks forward to supporting Space during his campaign and we are eager to work with him in office, to make sure our districts are drawn as fairly as possible so that we can come together on the issues that matter most.

Paid for by the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund PAC

Cordray Cares about Ohio Families and the Environment

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By Heather Taylor-Miesle, President of the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund PAC

The Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund PAC proudly announces an endorsement for Richard Cordray for Ohio governor. Cordray exhibits the kind of character and passion Ohio needs in order to make real progress on environmental issues in our state.

Cordray has made energy a key part of his campaign and understands that Ohio is falling drastically behind on the clean energy revolution. We not only are missing out on thousands of new jobs but billions of dollars in tax revenue that we could be using for much needed improvements in our communities.

Up until now, Ohio has largely ignored and even worked to halt progress on clean energy development. Once in office, Cordray has promised to invest in solar power to create more local jobs, starting with AEP’s proposal for a 400 MW facility in Appalachian Ohio, one of the most underserved regions of our state.  

We need a governor who will take drinking water issues seriously. Ohio cannot afford another crisis like the Toledo Water Crisis in 2014 when 400,000 people were left without useable water. Hospitals, schools, and businesses were shut down for three days while we desperately waited for answers. The toxic algae bloom that caused this crisis could have done so much more damage and it is likely to happen again this year if we don’t put immediate pressure on our lawmakers to instill regulations on agricultural runoff, the lead cause of algal-blooms.

Cordray is devoted to the one in seven Ohioans who are employed by the agriculture industry and the Action Fund PAC believes we can work with him to find a positive solution for farmers and those who depend on Lake Erie for drinking water. With the right steps, algae blooms can be eradicated.

Clean air, water, and land are the building blocks of a healthy environment and economy, which is why we need a governor like Cordray who will take these issues seriously and make sure they do not go unnoticed for another four years.

Please join us in telling Cordray he has our vote.

PAID FOR BY THE OHIO ENVIRONMENTAL COUNCIL ACTION FUND PAC

New version of Ohio House Bill 114 is a Mishmash of Good, Better & Bad

By Trish Demeter

On May 16, the Ohio Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee introduced a new version of HB 114, and the new package is a mash-up of great moves, and better provisions than last year’s House version, but contains a few Trojan horse amendments that could tear down Ohio’s efficiency opportunity from the inside out.

While the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund’s opposed position on this clean energy standards rollback bill has not changed since its introduction in early 2017, we must commend the Ohio Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee for their  more reasonable, common sense efforts when it comes to approaching clean energy policy.

Our unmoving opposition to this bill is due to the fact that even with all the good changes, the legislation contains provisions that would more than likely increase harmful air pollution throughout the state. Compared to the status quo, this impact is unacceptable.  

The introduction of the substitute bill got the attention of editorial boards, namely the Akron Beacon Journal, which cited a very timely report called Powering Ohio (released in late May) which found that the state could attract $25 billion in investment and add 20,000 jobs if the state were to create an environment in which clean energy could flourish.

The good:

  • Corrects the overly-burdensome wind turbine siting requirements enacted four years ago that essentially established a de facto moratorium on new wind farms in Ohio. This change has the potential of unlocking approximately 3,000 megawatts of new wind development in the state which is enough to power over 100,000 homes
  • Adds a provision that increases the size threshold from 5 megawatts to 20 megawatts for behind-the-meter wind projects that would have to undergo lengthy Ohio Power Siting Board review and approval. This will shorten the timeline for companies that seek to put small wind projects on their property in order to power their businesses with up to 100% wind power.

The better-than-before measures:

  • Maintaining minimum mandatory renewable and efficiency standards, rather than voluntary goals.
  • Removes expanded definitions of energy efficiency that allow utilities to count efficiency measures that they had no hand in creating.
  • Puts some constraints on the previously carte blanche expanded opt out for some business customers such as a delayed effective date of January 1, 2020, and imposes some reporting requirements for the businesses that choose to opt-out.

The bad:

  • Cuts down the cumulative targets for Ohio’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) and energy efficiency resource standard (EERS). The RPS is lowered from 12.5% by 2027 to 8.5% by 2022, and the EERS is lowered from 22.2% by 2027 to 17.5% EERS by 2026
  • Maintains an expanded opt out under the EERS for “mercantile” customers, which is a huge swath of customers ranging from a string of convenience stores, to a hospital campus, to a mid-size manufacturer.
  • Adds a provision that allows utilities to earn shared savings incentives on energy savings that they have banked from previous years, which is a stark departure from past PUCO decisions on whether or not utilities could earn profits on previously-achieved savings. This change would turn an incentive payment mechanism designed to encourage utilities to go above and beyond minimum benchmark into a profit guarantee of approximately $500 million, regardless of whether the utilities are running good efficiency programs or not.

On Wednesday, June 20, the OEC Action Fund will testify in opposition of this bill in front of the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee.

During the week of June 25th, it’s highly likely that the committee invites Opponent testimony, amends the bill, passes it out of committee, and schedules it for a full Senate floor vote, and possibly over to the Ohio House for concurrence.

The timeline is incredibly short, and it’s still unclear what the Ohio House would do with this new version of the bill, and not to mention Ohio Governor John Kasich, who has reaffirmed several times a veto threat of a bill that rolls back Ohio’s standards. Not only has the Ohio House already affirmed they would like to repeal the “mandates” via their vote on HB 114 in March 2017, they also house the preeminent anti-wind energy crusader, Rep. Bill Seitz, who continues to have a powerful voice among his colleagues on this issue.

While we cannot predict the exact outcome of this bill, we can bet it’s going to be an interesting few weeks.

OHIO SENATE: In Renacci vs. Brown, Stakes Are High for Ohio’s Clean Energy Jobs, Air & Water

Senator Sherrod Brown fights for Ohioans as Jim Renacci sells out clean air, water & land to corporate polluters & his fellow Washington lobbyists

Washington, D.C.  Lobbyist-turned-Congressman Jim Renacci would threaten Ohio’s clean air, water, and growing clean energy economy if elected to the U.S. Senate – and the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) Victory Fund will be out in force to ensure Ohioans know that Senator Sherrod Brown is the only candidate who will fight for our health and environment.

LOBBYIST JIM RENACCI:                      

X Repeatedly voted to slash funding to protect clean drinking water

X Opposed efforts to restore funding to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and voted to eliminate safeguards to prevent invasive species from invading Lake Erie

X Voted to gut the Environmental Protection Agency and severely weaken its ability to enforce clean air, clean water, and public health safeguards

X Was still a registered lobbyist when elected to Congress and failed to disclose nearly $50,000 in donations

X Has a pathetic 3 percent lifetime score on LCV’s National Environmental Scorecard

SENATOR SHERROD BROWN:

 Champions clean water, including having two bills signed into law to protect drinking water from lead contamination

 Fights to protect Lake Erie from toxic algae, including working across the aisle to pass the Drinking Water Protection Act

 Secured funding for the first-ever wind farm in Lake Erie and supports expanding clean, renewable energy jobs in Ohio and across the country

 Stands up to Big Oil and the Koch Brothers by pushing to repeal billions in tax breaks for polluting special interests

 Has a stellar 93 percent lifetime score on LCV’s National Environmental Scorecard

“Jim Renacci is out of step with Ohio and has no business representing us in the U.S. Senate,” said Aryeh Alex, Director of the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund. “While Senator Sherrod Brown has been a champion for clean water – passing bills to fight lead contamination and working to clean up Lake Erie, which supports 124,000 Ohio jobs – Renacci’s voting record shows he only cares about making profits for the polluting special interests who fund his campaigns.”

“Ohioans have a clear choice this November between Sherrod Brown, who has worked with both parties to protect clean water and to build a renewable energy economy, and lobbyist Jim Renacci who doesn’t care about our communities,” said Pete Maysmith, LCV Victory Fund Senior Vice President for Campaigns.“Renacci would be one of the most anti-environmental members of the U.S. Senate – he’s simply too extreme for Ohio.”

Jim Renacci was just endorsed by one of the most anti-environment politicians in history

If you’re a pro-environment voter in Ohio, this year’s U.S. Senate race is one you have to pay attention to. Senator Sherrod Brown, who has a near-perfect lifetime League of Conservation Voters score, is running against Congressman Jim Renacci, who has a terrible record on clean energy, protecting Lake Erie, and public land protection.


The Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund Endorses The Wood County Park District Levy

Bowling Green, Ohio — On May 8, Wood County residents will have the opportunity to vote for a park levy renewal that would increase funding by $200,000 annually without raising homeowners’ taxes. The levy would bring current annual funding from $2.8 million to $3 million and would allow for continued operations and maintenance. This renewal would not be a tax increase, but would renew the current levy set to expire at the end of the year.

The Woody County Park District operates 20 parks, nature preserves, and historical sites throughout the county, including the Bradner Preserve, the Carter Historic Farm, and Otsego Park.  

“Increased funding is a vital step in the maintenance of Wood County’s precious natural landscape, and will ensure a safe environment for the community to enjoy for many years to come,” said Ricardo Granados, Public Lands Coordinator with the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund. “We look forward to supporting the Wood County Park District in their efforts to conserve, enhance, and protect the natural and cultural resources of the county.”   

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The Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund Announces Delegation Scores from LCV’s 2017 National Environmental Scorecard

The Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund Announces Delegation Scores from LCV’s 2017 National Environmental Scorecard

Columbus, OH -- The Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund today released the Ohio delegation’s scores on the League of Conservation Voters’ 2017 National Environmental Scorecard. The Scorecard is the LCV’s primary yardstick for evaluating the environmental records of every member of Congress, and is available online at scorecard.lcv.org.

The Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund Announces Independent Actions Taken in Cincinnati Municipal Elections

Cincinnati, OH -- Over the last two weeks, the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund launched direct mail and digital ads to support a greener Cincinnati. We sent out two rounds of digital ads and mailers to support the campaigns of our endorsed candidates: John Cranley for Cincinnati Mayor, and Derek Bauman, Greg Landsman, and P.G. Sittenfeld for City Council.

You can view a few examples of these tactics below.

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These actions were not coordinated or authorized by any candidate or candidate’s campaign, and paid for independently.

Paid for by the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund (www.TheOECActionFund.org) and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee. 

 

OEC Action Fund Testimony Against HB 114

The world is undergoing a massive transition in how it generates, transports, manages and delivers electricity to homes, neighborhoods, and businesses. Consider that in 2015, global capacity for renewable energy surpassed that of coal for the first time ever in human history. About half a million solar panels were installed every day around the world in 2015. In 2015, China was installing two wind turbines every hour and continued that growth in 2016 to the tune of one turbine installation per hour.

Thanking Governor Kasich for Protecting State Parks and Public Lands

The following statement can be attributed in full, or in part, to Sarah Spence, Director of Government Affairs at the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund:

“Today, the Governor vetoed a provision in the State Budget Bill that would have fast-tracked oil and gas leasing in state parks and public lands across Ohio. We thank Governor Kasich for standing up in defense of public lands that we all share in ownership. We cherish our state parks and state lands as places to hike, hunt, fish, and enjoy with our families, and the Governor’s veto keeps these lands safe from oil and gas development for the time being.

“The Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund remains steadfast in our efforts to protect public lands across Ohio for use and enjoyment for future generations.”

Urging Governor Kasich to Veto Budget Bill’s State Lands Drilling Amendment

“This week, the Conference Committee working on Ohio’s budget submitted Amended Substitute House Bill 49 (H.B. 49) to Governor Kasich. The bill includes an amendment that eliminates the governor’s authority to appoint members of the Oil and Gas Leasing Commission (R.C. 1509.71), the state body charged with leasing state lands to the oil and gas industry. The bill would give the governor’s appointment authority to the Speaker of the Ohio House and President of the Ohio Senate. Governor Kasich has declined to appoint members to the Commission since its creation in 2011.