Yesterday’s theme at the RNC was “Make America Safe Again.” We heard a lot about immigration and foreign policy, but nothing on several critical issues to ensuring safe, healthy, and vibrant communities.
1) Climate Change
Many national security experts agree that climate change is single biggest threat to our national security. In fact, the US military is already taking steps to address “the mother of all risks” as it will undoubtedly lead to even greater instability in already unstable regions of the world.
The consequences of climate change aren’t some distant possibility. In fact, climate change has already started to impact the lives of everyday Ohioans, right now. From alarming rates of allergies and asthma in children, to toxic algae in Lake Erie and the Ohio River, climate change is threatening our health and safety.
Although the lack of discussion around climate change is concerning, it is not at all surprising. If Donald Trump were elected President, he would be the ONLY major world leader to deny climate change is real, and is a product of human activity.
2) Unsafe drinking water
Communities across the country are becoming increasingly worried about the safety of their drinking water.
In 2014, the city of Toledo lost its drinking water for three days because a massive bloom of toxic algae poisoned nearby Lake Erie. Restaurants shut down, tourism and recreation came to a screeching halt, and families were left wondering how to bathe their children or cook.
This is absolutely unacceptable in a modern American city. Especially when we know the cause of toxic algae and ways to stop algae-causing pollution at its source.
Unfortunately, threats to Ohio’ drinking water don’t end with toxic algae. Early this year, reports of lead-contaminated water surfaced in the small Ohio village of Sebring. Worse still, residents weren’t notified of the lead contamination for many months after the tests showed a problem. Ohio has since passed first-of-its kind legislation to address lead in drinking water, making us a national leader.
Lead contamination isn’t just an Ohio problem. Flint, Michigan was in the national spotlight when we learned that thousands of children were poisoned from lead in drinking water. We do not know the extent of this problem in our country. The US’s water infrastructure is aging. In fact, we’re in such bad shape that the American Society of Civil Engineers gave our drinking water infrastructure a D rating. To make America safe we MUST ensure that everyone has access to this most basic right: safe drinking water.
3) Toxic air
Coal and Gas-fired power plants are responsible for hundreds of deaths in Ohio each year. In fact, a recent report showed that a power plant just outside of Cleveland is one of the dirtiest in the country, and has been out of compliance with the Clean Air Act for at least three years.
Many Ohio communities are also struggling from methane pollution. Ohio is home to thousands of oil and gas wells, which without adequate safeguards, emit dangerous levels of methane and other asthma-inducing pollutants.
Ohio has some of the highest asthma rates in the nation. We want to see a safer Ohio and America, but any plan that fails to address these three critical issues will ultimately fall short of what our families and communities deserve.