OECAF Letter to Gov. DeWine requesting HB166 line-item vetoes

July 17, 2019

The Honorable Mike DeWine
Governor of Ohio
77 S. High St, Fl. 30
Columbus, OH 43215

Dear Governor DeWine, 

The Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund (OECAF) actively works to protect and restore Ohio’s natural resources to strengthen the quality of life for families and communities, and improve the sustainability of Ohio’s natural environment. On behalf of OECAF and its members, we are writing to urge you to remove a certain provision from Amended Substitute House Bill 166 (HB 166)  that would have a negative effect on Ohio’s economic and environmental health, is not in the public interest, and thus should be vetoed.

Please find below the provisions within HB 166, and our justifications for each line-item veto request.

JCRCD4- Agency rule review for regulatory restrictions  (R.C. 121.95) Lines 4697-4762
This new provision requires executive agencies to identify and inventory which of their rules contain “regulatory restrictions” and post the inventory on their websites. The provision then prohibits these agencies, during FYs 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023, from adopting a new regulatory restriction unless they simultaneously remove two or more existing “regulatory restrictions."

By another name, these so-called “regulatory restrictions,” are protections. They are protections for our environment. They are protections for the health of our children. They are protections for the legacy of our state’s natural treasures.

To arbitrarily require an agency remove protections, just for the sake of having fewer total regulations on the books, is simply poor governance. The provision provides no guidance to state agencies on how to prioritize the elimination of certain regulatory restrictions over others, nor does not consider what an agency should do if it must develop regulations to respond to new emergency circumstances as they arise within our state without arbitrarily sacrificing at least two other protective regulations in the process. 

Furthermore, this provision is unnecessary. Ohio has already implemented laws in the past that address regulatory impacts on business development. The Common Sense Initiative and associated Five Year Review give agencies the tools to review, rescind, and amend regulations that unnecessarily burden businesses or create unneeded bureaucratic waste. This new provision shirks the current balanced approach to reform and instead forces state agencies to reduce “regulatory restrictions” with no consideration or examination of the potential consequences to human health and safety, or environmental quality.

Most problematic is that the provision seems to target state agencies that have “regulatory restrictions” with the most significant benefits on the lives of everyday Ohioans.  The Ohio EPA implements a large portion of the Ohio Administrative Code, so regulations protecting the water we drink, and the air we breathe appear to be under the greatest threat by this provision in HB 166. Reducing Ohio EPA’s ability to add or maintain regulations in the face of the multitude of environmental risks facing the state exacerbating those risks, and jeopardizing the strides your administration has made on conservation and the environment (including through other provisions of HB166).  Therefore, a veto of this provision is in the best public interest.

Thank you for your consideration of this item for line-item veto.

Trish Demeter

House Bill 6, Labeled a "Clean Air" Bill, is Anything But

By William Hardie, MD and Christopher Siracusa, MD

As physicians specializing in care for children with underlying respiratory diseases, we have deep reservations regarding Ohio’s House Bill 6. This legislation, which we feel is misleadingly termed the “Ohio Clean Air Program”, will repeal Ohio’s Renewable Portfolio Standard and Energy Efficiency Resource Standard which limit our state reliance on coal and natural gas power plants. De-regulating these standards will lead to a significant increase in air pollutants. The World Health Organization in their report on air pollution and child health says that developing fetuses, infants, and children are more biologically vulnerable when exposed to particulate matter and air pollutants emitted during the combustion process of burning fossil fuels. Exposure to air pollutants from these emissions is linked to increased school absenteeism, asthma-related emergency room visits and hospitalizations, and even higher rates of mortality. Last year, researchers from The University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital demonstrated an association between increased exposure to air pollution during the conception period for pregnant women living in Ohio and increased birth defects.

In a comparative study conducted by WalletHub, Ohio ranked 35th of 50 for the most environmentally friendly state. Moreover, Ohio was in the bottom five when it came to utilization of energy from renewable resources and air quality. Ohio’s poor air quality is made even more apparent in the Asthma and Allergy Foundation’s list of top 20 “asthma capitals” of America, in which Cincinnati, Dayton, Youngstown, Toledo, Cleveland and Akron are named. Furthermore, the American Thoracic Society has identified Cleveland and Cincinnati as two of the top ten cities in America that have the most avoidable mortality and morbidity rate by improving air quality. Ohio has an urgent need for legislation focused on strengthening air quality standards, not repealing them.

Economically, there is even further incentive for improving air quality. The EPA has previously estimated that every dollar invested in reducing air pollution results in thirty dollars of health care savings.

Policies which will improve the air quality are wise and essential investments for everyone’s physical and economic health, which is why Ohio needs to maintain our renewable and efficiency standards. As pediatric pulmonologists and advocates for children’s health, we call on Ohio’s senators to protect Ohioans’ right to clean air by voting NO on House Bill 6.

Dr. Hardie and Dr. Siracusa are pediatric pulmonologists at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital

Park Maintenance Deferred

We need the Ohio Senate to step up for Ohio’s state parks. The Ohio Senate recently stripped $25 million in state parks improvement and maintenance funding from the Governor’s and the Ohio House’s versions of the pending state budget bill. Our state parks are some of our most important natural assets. The Senate should restore this critical funding. Park maintenance is a safety issue, a quality of life issue, and an economic issue. Restoration of this funding will allow projects such as fire safety, HVAC repair and other critical infrastructure improvements needed for operational success in the future, as well as to ensure parks customers have a safe environment.

The State Park Fund isn’t one that you might have heard of, but if you’ve visited a State Park, you have seen it in action. This crucial fund provides infrastructure improvements, such as fire safety systems, HVAC and electrical systems and roof repairs. In the past few years, there have been major dam repairs, which have been taking capital dollars. Now, it is time to focus on smaller infrastructure issues.

As we continue to invest in our State Parks, we need to make sure that they are well-maintained. Ohio consumers spend $24.3 billion a year in outdoor recreation. From an economic standpoint, it is important that our State Parks keep their quality high. The parks system has had a deferred infrastructure improvement/maintenance issue for years, and it is critical that we support their efforts to keep our parks and facilities beautiful and functionally sound.

We appreciate the many positive aspects to the Senate Operating Budget with regards to Ohio’s natural resources. The Senate has maintained additional funding for the Division of Wildlife through increased hunting and fishing license fees; kept new funding strategies for our Scenic Rivers; increased funding for Mahoning River projects; and maintained the $47 million for acquisition of part of the AEP ReCreation Land. It is a strong budget, but it misses the mark when it comes to improving the safety of our state park system.

We urge the Senate to reestablish the State Park Fund line item in the operating budget to include a one-time $25 million dollar transfer from fiscal year 2019 General Revenue Funds Surplus Revenue to provide Parks with the opportunity to update and improve our Park system.  Restoration of this funding will allow projects such as fire safety and critical infrastructure improvements needed for operational success in the future, as well as to ensure park-goers have a safe and enjoyable environment.

House Bill 6 Will Be Part of Our Next Scorecard

To: Members of the Ohio General Assembly

From: Heather Taylor-Miesle, President, Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund

Re: House Bill 6

Dear Honorable Senators and Representatives,

As the vote on Substitute House Bill 6 approaches, I am writing to inform you that the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund will be scoring this bill for the purposes of our Legislative Scorecard for the 133rd Ohio General Assembly. To the extent that House Bill 6 passes, the OEC Action Fund will be doing extensive public education on the content and the votes on this legislation due to its adverse impact to Ohio’s environment and the health of Ohioans. We urge a no vote on House bill 6 because:

  • HB 6 bails out aging coal and nuclear plants at the expense of clean energy, and will increase carbon emissions in Ohio. HB 6 repeals Ohio’s renewable portfolio and energy efficiency standards which are incredibly valuable and cost-effective policies that drive investment in clean energy. These clean energy standards are on track to reduce Ohio’s annual carbon pollution by approximately 10 million tons between 2017 and 2029—the equivalent to avoiding emissions from the annual electricity consumption of 1 million homes.  

  • HB 6 will make Ohioans sick. If Ohio’s renewable energy and efficiency standards are eliminated, Ohioans will experience dirtier air, and we won’t receive the projected health benefits that these standards provide through 2029—prevention of over 44,000 asthma attacks, 4,400 heart attacks, over 2,800 premature deaths and more—all attributable to coal-plant pollution.

  • HB 6 will cause Ohioans to lose $7.71 in energy efficiency savings on their electric bills per month per household. Ohioans have received over $5.1 billion in energy savings on their utility bills since 2009 thanks to utility-run efficiency programs per the efficiency standard. Because the bill wipes out energy efficiency programs, the average Ohio family will lose $7.71 in energy efficiency savings per month if HB 6 becomes law.

  • HB 6 bails out two coal plants at a cost of $368 million, and one plant isn’t even in Ohio. Sub. HB 6 continuously bails out two coal plants jointly owned by the Ohio Valley Electric Corporation (OVEC), one in Cheshire, OH and one in Madison, IN. The cost to ratepayers of AEP Ohio, Duke, and DP&L will be at least $368 million through 2030, heaping millions more in costs on Ohio families and businesses.

  • HB 6 puts Ohioans jobs at risk and shuts out the fastest growing job sectors in the country: Over 112,000 Ohioans work in the clean energy sector, including 84,000 construction and manufacturing jobs. While HB 6 will subsidize nuclear and coal power plants, and may be effective at retaining jobs, the bill would not create new demand for clean energy projects and jobs moving into the future. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, solar installers are projected to be the fastest growing job over the next decade, and wind energy maintenance technicians are expected to see the second fastest growth through 2026. HB 6 disguises a bailout of two coal plants owned by OVEC, and Ohio’s two old, uncompetitive nuclear power plants as a “Clean Air Program” that allegedly includes new wind and solar, but if you take a closer look, it disqualifies most, if not all, wind and solar projects.

  • HB 6 contains no worker or community protections and enriches certain utility interests at the expense of consumers. HB 6 does not guarantee that Ohio’s two nuclear power plants will stay open even with new ratepayer-funded subsidies created in the bill. The legislation does not require the nuclear plants owner - FirstEnergy or any potential future owner - to keep the plants open and operational for any period of time, and does not restrict the use of the ratepayer-funded subsidies to be used only for operation and maintenance of the nuclear plants. This leaves customers and workers exposed, and could potentially allow the funds to be allocated for utility shareholder profits or other purposes.

  • HB 6 puts us further behind neighboring states. While the rest of the country is moving forward, and doubling down on a path towards more diversified energy portfolios, Ohio’s modest 12.5% by 2027 Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) is still effectively driving investment in Ohio. But Ohio’s RPS pales in comparison to neighboring states’ targets: Michigan is going to hit 35 percent by 2025, Indiana will hit 25% by 2025-2026, Illinois will hit 25% by 2025 - 2026), and Pennsylvania will hit 18% by 2020-2021 (According to the National Council of State Legislatures).

In summary, HB 6 cannot be fixed. The OEC Action Fund reiterates its call for a comprehensive approach to energy policy reform that would; truly and measurably reduce carbon emissions from the power sector and reduce air pollution overall; create new jobs and economic opportunity in communities across Ohio; encourage competition and cost-effective solutions that can be implemented by utilities and customers alike, and; protect the health of the most vulnerable Ohioans suffering from asthma and other respiratory illnesses.

If you have any questions, please direct them to Trish Demeter, Chief of Staff, at tdemeter@theoec.org or (614) 598-8374.


Heather Taylor-Miesle, President

Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund

Proposed Tax on Electric Vehicle Owners will Hurt the Market and the Environment

Electric vehicles (EV), particularly those utilizing renewable energy to charge, are the future of transportation. EVs use Ohio roadways without using gas, and under current Ohio law, that means they are not contributing to the tax fund the state relies on for roadway infrastructure. But, the Ohio legislature’s proposed fees would be a huge burden on EV and hybrid owners.

The annual fee proposed in the House is $200 for electric vehicles and $100 for all hybrid vehicles — much higher than annual fees in other states. While the OEC Action Fund agrees that EV owners should pay their fair share in roadway infrastructure taxes, this excessive fee on EVs and hybrid vehicles would penalize drivers who are taking part in the future of transportation.  

At $175 for EVs and $75 for plug-in hybrid vehicles, the Senate proposal is slightly better than the House version, importantly removing any fee on regular gas-powered hybrid vehicles (hybrid owners already pay the gas tax and should not be charged additional fee). But, both versions still contain fees that are far too high if the goal is to make the tax on EV drivers equal to what non-EV owners pay in gas taxes. Most EV owners will now pay a higher fee for their vehicles than they would by paying the gas tax.

EVs are not only for the rich and elite. Used varieties can be essential to low-income communities due to their price and companion costs. Southeastern Ohio saw a tremendous build-out of EV ownership with the launch of EV Cruisers, and the creation of a zero percent interest loan fund for EV and hybrid vehicle loans through the Ohio University Credit Union. Through this program, income-qualified and credit-challenged folks were able to obtain an EV for an affordable price. This fee would set their progress back and limit the accessibility of EVs.

Owners will now need to factor in $1,750 of extra costs over a ten year period—that’s roughly fourth of the cost of a used Nissan Leaf. For many people, this fee will turn them off of EV ownership, meaning less zero emission vehicles on the road and, ultimately, dirtier air. Vehicles emit greenhouse gasses, such as carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane, which contribute to climate change—and we should be encouraging, not discouraging, Ohioans to shift toward EVs. This fee will stunt EV ownership in our state, meaning less EVs and therefore continued emission of greenhouse gasses.

Ohio needs infrastructure improvements, but those betterments should not come at the cost of our future, and the taxes to make those improvements should not be raised by singling out and penalizing Ohioans who drive EVs. We should tax all drivers fairly and equally, and we should not use our state’s infrastructure shortfalls to put forth damaging legislation that hurts a rapidly growing industry that helps all Ohioans breathe cleaner air. The legislature should reject any fee over $100 for EVs owners, and if their proposed transportation budget contains a higher number, Governor DeWine should line-item veto the proposal to ensure we aren’t damaging this growing piece of Ohio’s future.

State of the Environment 2019

As Ohio Governor Mike DeWine prepares to give his first State of the State Address from the Ohio Statehouse, we are optimistic that the new administration will put forward comprehensive plans to protect our public lands, Ohio’s waterways, and the air we breathe for future generations.

Governor DeWine has named several highly qualified people to important posts in his administration, including selecting the most diverse cabinet in Ohio’s history. It’s important for this administration to represent the diversity of Ohio, giving a voice to those who have been voiceless in the past.

In Ohio, we have real work to do. Recent studies have shown that we only have about twelve years to avert the worst impacts of climate change. We’ve taken that news to heart.

At the federal level, a divided government has kept politicians from both parties from agreeing on policies that would protect our air, land, water, and democracy. Despite roadblocks of the federal government, we have ample opportunity in Ohio to move in the right direction of addressing climate change.

In the last year, there have been several big opportunities to grow Ohio’s public lands, including  the purchase of part of the AEP ReCreation Lands that resulted in the creation of Jesse Owens State Park.

But, the potential here is even greater. The state has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to purchase tens of thousands of additional acres of the AEP lands and increase our public lands by nearly 10 percent. We can’t miss this chance.

While this past summer was milder than in the past, toxic algae remains a huge problem for Lake Erie and surrounding waterways. We need Ohio to take swift and far-reaching action to solve the issue once and for all, and bring stakeholders from every side of the issue to the table as we roll out a solution.

We are also still waiting on a bill to pass the legislature that will free up Ohio to wind development, putting renewable energy back on track, leading to hundreds of jobs, and income for landowners and communities.

Wind development is currently stalled in Ohio due to an unnecessary regulation which essentially keeps new projects from being developed. We could soon be left behind in the clean energy era if this doesn’t get fixed.

Last May, voters overwhelmingly chose to fix our gerrymandered congressional districts by amending the state’s constitution to create a more fair system of drawing maps. Now we must focus on ensuring that all citizens of Ohio can easily cast their ballots by making voter registration easier and more accessible.

As communities across this state prepare for the great census count of 2020, we must work hand in hand with our state and local elected leaders to make sure that all people who live in this state are counted.

Importantly, we also have a real opportunity to make change at the local level. Last year, Cincinnati and Columbus were selected as winners of the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge. This award will give these cities needed funds to tackle climate change and promote a sustainable future for residents.

Communities across the state are working to find solutions to the climate crisis, and we’re eager to help them find the path to a more sustainable future.

While the state of the environment in Ohio is at this point uncertain, I hope that the promising start to Governor DeWine’s administration will lead to a positive direction for our air, land, water, and most importantly our climate.

With just over a decade to get things in check, we don’t have time to waste.

Thank you.

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.  



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


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


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


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.


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


 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.”   



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.