Columbus, Ohio -- Following this morning’s announcement of Laurie Stevenson as the Director of the Ohio EPA, and Dorothy Pelanda as Director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the following statement can be attributed to Heather Taylor-Miesle, President of the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund:

“With a twenty-year career working for the Ohio EPA under different administrations to advance environmental protections, Laurie Stevenson provides a wealth of experience to bring to the cause of her agency. We look forward to working with Director Stevenson, and hope that she will bring her thoughtful, science-based approach to this new role so we can work to protect our health, environment, and economy, together.

“As the next Director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture, Dorothy Pelanda will be tasked with working with farmers across Ohio to ensure our state is fed, while protecting our natural resources. We look forward to working closely with Director Pelanda as we strive to ensure Lake Erie and other Ohio waterways are clean and healthy for the future.”


Columbus, Ohio -- Today, the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund and Innovation Ohio launched a round of digital ads highlighting opposition to HJR 19. As partners in the Coalition for Redistricting Reform, which worked to pass a fix to our gerrymandered congressional districts in Ohio, our organizations are keenly aware of the importance of the ballot initiative process.

In its current form, HJR 19 would set a higher threshold for the process to amend Ohio’s Constitution through a citizen referendum by making signatures due by April of an election year instead of July, make petition signatures only valid for 180 days, and require a 60 percent threshold to pass. 

“This measure is a misguided attempt to curtail the voice of the people to amend their state’s constitution,” said Heather Taylor-Miesle, President of the OEC Action Fund. “We are committed to fighting for the health of Ohio’s air, land, and water, and this bill would put an undue burden on regular Ohioans’ ability to stand up and fight for their future.” 

“Through ballot initiatives, Ohioans can make their voices heard on the issue that matter most to them,” said Janetta King, President/CEO of Innovation Ohio. “HJR19 stifles Ohioans' ability to engage directly in their democracy, and we need to fight for that right.”

The digital ads will run through Sunday, December 16th, calling for a strategically targeted list of Ohio legislators to vote against the measure.

Statement From the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund on the JCARR Vote to Revise and Refile the Watershed in Distress Rules

Columbus, Ohio -- Today, the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) voted to direct the Ohio Department of Agriculture to revise and refile newly proposed rules that would help curb the pollution responsible for toxic algae in Lake Erie. The proposed rules are backed by Governor Kasich and would require most agricultural producers that operate in a watershed designated as distressed to create a plan to reduce runoff pollution. The following statement can be attributed in full, or in part, to Peter Bucher, Water Resources Director at the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund:

“Today’s action represents a missed opportunity to establish clear rules that would help prevent excess nutrients from entering Ohio waterways in order to reduce toxic algae. The proposed rules were aimed at balancing agricultural concerns with the need to protect Lake Erie and the communities that depend on it for drinking water, job opportunities, and recreation. Every delay in implementing needed changes to reduce toxic algae makes the problem more expensive to fix in Lake Erie and across Ohio.”

The Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund Celebrates Sherrod Brown’s Return to the Senate

Columbus, Ohio -- The following statement can be attributed in full, or in part, to Heather Taylor-Miesle, President of the OEC Action Fund:

“All Ohioans should tonight celebrate Sen. Sherrod Brown’s re-election to the U.S. Senate. As an environmental champion who has demonstrated tremendous support for Ohio’s air, land and water, we are eager to send him back to Washington to represent us. We endorsed Sen. Brown and had his back because he’s always had our environment’s back.  

"With our national friends at League of Conservation Voters, NRDC Action Fund and Next Gen Action, we raised almost $318,000 for the Brown campaign.

“A truly iconic Ohioan, Sen. Brown has spent his career working tirelessly on our behalf, and I know he will continue to do so over the next six years.”


The Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund Reacts to Mike DeWine’s Election as Ohio Governor

Columbus, Ohio -- The following statement can be attributed in full, or in part, to Heather Taylor-Miesle, President of the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund:

“We applaud Mike DeWine on his victory in today’s gubernatorial election. The OEC Action Fund has a history of working effectively with elected officials in both parties, and that will continue. This cycle, we’ve endorsed both Democrats and Republicans, and our pragmatic, diligent approach to fight for Ohio’s environment will continue. 

“When it comes to our environment, Ohio is at a crossroads, and we need real leadership to ensure that we move forward to address serious issues like toxic algae on Lake Erie, and ensuring that Ohio competes in the clean energy economy. We will focus on making progress at all levels of government, including opportunities with Columbus and Cincinnati, who recently won Bloomberg's American Cities Climate Challenge. 

“The OEC Action Fund will be there every step of the way to fight for cleaner air, land, and water in Ohio.”


Statement from the OEC Action Fund on Last Night's Ohio Senate Debate

Columbus, Ohio -- The following statement can be attributed in full, or in part, to Heather Taylor-Miesle, President of the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund:  

“Last night, Senator Sherrod Brown displayed the qualities of a true leader and someone who will act on climate change. In response to concerns about the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, Brown backed up the science and made it clear that we can’t afford to waste any more time. We must transition away from fossil fuels and invest in renewable energy to ensure a healthy future for our planet.

The OEC Action Fund is proud to endorse a candidate who stands up for common sense environmental policies that protect Ohioans and our air, water, and land. Brown has been an avid environmental champion and deserves Ohio’s vote.”

Statement from the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund on Tonight’s Gubernatorial Debate

The following statement can be attributed in full, or in part, to Heather Taylor-Miesle, President of the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund:

“Tonight, Rich Cordray spoke about his environmental bonfides, including his endorsement from the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund. We have his back because he’s the candidate who will lead us into the future with clean energy jobs, and protections for our water. Rich Cordray is the true environmental champion in this race, and Ohio should elect him in November.”

Statement: The Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund PAC Endorses Slate of Legislative Candidates

Columbus, Ohio -- The Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund PAC is pleased to announce its endorsement of a slate of legislative candidates for the Ohio House and Ohio Senate. These environmentally conscientious men and women will work to advance Ohio’s clean energy economy, and protect and preserve the health of our citizens and the environment that sustains us.

“The OEC Action Fund is so excited to endorse these candidates to serve as legislators in the Ohio General Assembly,” said Heather Taylor-Miesle, President of the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund PAC. “We need legislators in both parties from around Ohio who are committed to ensuring clean air, water, and lands for all Ohioans. The opportunities to secure meaningful protections for Ohio’s environment have never been greater than now, and we’re confident these women and men are the right people for the job.”

The following candidates have received the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund PAC endorsement:

House Races

Erica Crawley (D-Columbus) for OH-26

Sedrick Denson (D-Cincinnati) for OH-33

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

Beth Liston (D-Worthington) for OH-21

John Patterson (D-Ashtabula) for OH-99

Michael Skindell (D-Lakewood) for OH-13

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

Casey Weinstein (D-Hudson) for OH-37

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

Senate Races

Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) for SD 23

Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) for SD 11

Melinda Miller (D-Newark) for SD 31

Statement: The Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund PAC Endorses Zack Space for Auditor of State

Columbus, Ohio -- The Auditor of State serves as Ohio’s top taxpayer watchdog, a position with broad authority to review all spending of taxpayer dollars. The Ohio Environmental Action Fund PAC believes that the Auditor of State can be our best ally in auditing and protecting environmental program funds, while shining the light on lost economic opportunities of a clean energy economy, which is why we endorse Zack Space for Auditor of State.

Growing up in eastern Ohio, Space saw firsthand the generational over-reliance on natural resource extraction that has stunted the development of a resilient, regional economy. As Auditor of State, Space will ensure that Ohio comes together on these issues, especially at the intersection of our environment, our economy and our public health. Space knows that clean air, water, and public lands are the building blocks of a healthy, thriving economy - not mutually exclusive of one another.

“The contrast between candidates on environmental issues couldn’t be clearer,” said Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund PAC President Heather Taylor-Miesle. “While Space’s opponent, Keith Faber, wants to keep Ohio’s renewable energy industry stifled, Zack understands that diversifying our energy portfolio and encouraging renewable energy investment is imperative for both the health of Ohio’s environment and a secure economic future.”

"For too long, corporate interests have controlled the self-interested politicians in the General Assembly, killing clean energy jobs and blocking billions in provable investments associated with new energy technologies,” said Zack Space. “As Auditor of State, I’ll shine a light on the corrupting influence of money in our politics, and hold accountable the politicians who have undermined our energy future to advance their political careers."

Space has also made the issue of redistricting a key focus of his campaign and understands that hyper-partisan legislative districts have disenfranchised and divided communities, polarizing our political landscape and making it incredibly difficult to reach compromise.

"Gerrymandering enables extremism and excludes millions of Ohioans from being properly represented in government,” said Space. “Ohioans have been disenfranchised and excluded from their government as a result of this hyperpartisan process for over a generation, and I will use my position on the Redistricting Commission to end gerrymandering by creating as many competitive legislative districts as possible.”

“Zack Space is balanced and fair. His experience working as a Public Defender and Congressman makes him acutely aware of the polarization our State is facing,” said Taylor-Miesle. “He’s seen the damaging effect that gerrymandering has had on our communities and the OEC Action Fund PAC is confident that he will work to find a solution.”

This November, we have a chance to vote for leaders who will help propel environmental policies forward. We look forward to supporting Space throughout his campaign and when in office, we will continue to work with him on issues that protect Ohio’s families.

Paid for by the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund PAC

Statement: The Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund PAC Endorses Richard Cordray for Ohio Governor

Columbus, Ohio -- The Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund PAC is pleased to announce its endorsement of Richard Cordray for Ohio governor. Ohio’s next governor needs to be a leader on the environment, and Cordray has exhibited the kind of passion and understanding Ohio needs in order to make real progress on environmental issues in our state.

“Richard Cordray has demonstrated a willingness to make environmental policy a priority during his term,” said Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund PAC President, Heather Taylor-Miesle. “We did not make this decision lightly. Long hours and conversations went into making this endorsement and we are confident that Cordray will deliver on environmental progress.”

Cordray has made clean energy a key part of his campaign and understands that Ohio is falling drastically behind on the clean energy revolution. Our state, once known as a leader in the energy industry, now currently ranks #38 in renewable energy development thanks to a state legislature that has turned back the clock on the renewable energy sector, sacrificing billions of dollars in revenue in the process. Other states are seeing a rise in good-paying jobs in the clean energy sector — the fastest growing job sector in the world — while Ohio continually lags behind. Cordray understands this risk to our future. Once in office, Cordray promises he will 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.

"If we're going to move Ohio into the future, it's imperative that we embrace our incredible potential to harness clean and renewable sources of energy like wind and solar,” said Cordray. “As Governor, my approach to energy will help protect our environment, while still creating jobs and keeping energy costs down for middle class families."

While Cordary works to bolster Ohio’s clean energy economy, he’ll also be focused on another important issue to Ohioans — the health of our Great Lake.

When 400,000 Ohioans go without drinking water for three days, hospitals shut down, businesses and schools close, and there is no clear resolve in sight, we call that a crisis. The Toledo Water Crisis was one of the worst algae-blooms on record in Ohio and scientists are already predicting another significant bloom this year. The unpredictability and severity of these blooms leave Ohioans worried about their drinking water, their places of recreation, and their health. The cause of the blooms, high phosphorus levels from nutrient runoff, place strain on Ohio’s important agricultural industry.

Cordray has proven his devotion to the one in seven Ohioans that the agricultural industry employs. With the help of the Action Fund PAC, Cordray will fight for a solution that protects farmers and our Great Lake so that blooms are eradicated for good. Once in office, Cordray plans to appoint an Assistant Director of Food Policy and Rural Development in the Ohio Department of Agriculture who will work on improving farm policies to prevent algal-blooms.

“The toxic algae bloom in Lake Erie has blighted our environment and has hurt the economy and well-being of communities along the coast. This problem must finally be addressed by our state government with urgency that is commensurate with the harm that the algae bloom has caused,” said Cordray. “As Governor and Lt. Governor, Betty Sutton and I will bring everyone to the table — including farmers, local leaders, environmental advocates, and affected Ohioans — to find solutions and implement them in an effective and sustainable manner.”

The November election is critical in choosing leaders who will push Ohio forward on environmental policy and protect our families. We are eager to work with Cordray on all of our most pressing issues across the state to ensure clean air, water, and public lands for all.

Paid for by the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund PAC

Statement from the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund on Rep Ryan Smith’s Speaker of the House victory

Columbus, Ohio — The following statement may be attributed to Sarah Spence, the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund’s Government Affairs Director, on Rep. Ryan Smith (R- Bidwell) being named Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives.

“The Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund is looking forward to working with Speaker Smith on addressing the environmental issues that matter to Ohio communities. We congratulate the new Speaker on his victory and are eager to find commonsense solutions to Ohio’s pressing environmental concerns including protecting drinking water, ensuring adequate protections from oil and gas development, and expanding Ohio’s clean energy opportunities.”


Statement from the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund on SB 299 the “Clean Lake 2020 Plan”

Columbus, Ohio Today, the Ohio Senate Finance Committee passed SB 299 also known as the Clean Lake 2020 Plan. The following statement can be attributed in full, or in part, to Peter Bucher, Water Resources Director at the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund.

“This legislation is a well rounded, short term approach that will provide some much needed resources to combat harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie. Not only does it provide support for agricultural equipment and technology to reduce phosphorus runoff, it supports research efforts and the people power to assist farmers in developing best management practices. Prioritizing these funds to watersheds within the western Lake Erie basin watershed will help ensure the Soil and Water Phosphorus program is efficient and effective.”

“We’re hopeful the Senate will take quick action on this legislation with a full floor vote. With another large algal bloom predicted for this year we need to utilize as many resources as possible to reverse this trend and clean up Lake Erie.”


Statement from the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund on the Passage of Orphan Well Bill in the Ohio Senate

Columbus, Ohio -- Today, the Ohio Senate unanimously passed HB 225, which includes a number of improvements to Ohio law to expedite the plugging of abandoned oil and gas wells by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). In January, the bill unanimously passed in the Ohio House. The following statement in regards to HB 225 can be attributed in part, or in full to Melanie Houston, Director of Climate Programs:

“We commend members of the Ohio Senate for advancing a bill that is certainly in the interest of the public and Ohio’s natural environment. 

“Orphan wells pose a hazard to the environment and to human health and safety. Until they are located and properly plugged, they provide unnecessary health, safety and groundwater contamination risks. Orphan wells have been found under school buildings, houses and streets, and even in lawns and recreation areas in both rural and urban areas.

“This bill improves the Orphan Well Program and gives ODNR Division of Oil and Gas clear guidance and the ability to expedite the plugging of hazardous abandoned and orphaned wells throughout Ohio.”

Release: Republican Congressman Jim Renacci Votes Against Lake Erie

Republican Congressman Jim Renacci Votes Against Lake Erie

Stark Difference Between Senator Sherrod Brown and Opponent on Ohio’s Greatest Natural Resource

Columbus, Ohio — Last week, on the very same day that Ohio declared the western portion of Lake Erie impaired, Republican Rep. Jim Renacci voted against millions of dollars in funding to help restore the Great Lakes. Renacci’s opposition stands in stark contrast to the bipartisan group of Ohio lawmakers who came together in support of funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, including Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown.

“Lake Erie is Ohio’s greatest natural resource, an economic engine, and drinking water source for millions of people,” said Aryeh Alex, Director of the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund. “When Ohioans go to the poll this November, they will have a choice to vote for a champion of Lake Erie in US Senator Sherrod Brown, or a Congressman that doesn’t think protecting drinking water and stopping toxic algae is important.”  

Restoring and protecting our Great Lakes is vital to Ohio communities and am important issue in this year’s election. Toxic algae blooms threaten millions of Ohioans’ access to clean water, as well as the region’s economy:

As The Youngstown Vindicator editorial board wrote, last week’s bipartisan vote in support of funding for Great Lakes restoration was, “one of the more notable victories of common sense over recklessness in the era of President Donald Trump.” By voting against the funding, Rep. Renacci turned his back on the many Ohio communities that rely on Lake Erie.


Statement from the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund on the Ohio House’s Vote to Open up State Parks to Oil and Gas Development

“Today, the Ohio House voted to override the Governor’s veto on a provision of the State Budget that would allow for the fast tracking of oil and gas development in state parks and other public lands. Simply put, this unconscionable attempt to override this veto puts the business interests of oil and gas companies ahead of the well-being of all Ohioans. With one vote, our legislative leaders have diminished the quality of public lands that we all own, in exchange for a one-time check.

OEC Action Fund Testimony regarding House Bill 114 (to review energy efficiency provisions)

The world is undergoing a massive transition in how it generates, transports, manages and delivers electricity to homes, neighborhoods, and businesses. Consider:

  • 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. In 2016, growth in wind has slackened, but only to the tune of 1 turbine per hour.

Governor Kasich’s State of the State wades into Lake Erie issues, is shallow on details

The Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund’s President, Heather Taylor-Miesle, issued the following statement today in response to Governor Kasich’s State of the State address from Sandusky, OH.

"Tonight, we heard Governor Kasich start his State of the State address by recalling childhood memories on the majestic Lake Erie. He nodded to the state’s new Sandusky Bay Initiative, which is an innovative local solution to help clean up our Great Lake. With the Lake as the backdrop, there was no better time or place to place conservation and public health issues center stage.

“Under Gov. Kasich’s leadership, Ohio has made strides to protect and restore Lake Erie, but Ohio has yet to take the bold action needed to end Lake Erie’s toxic algae plague. I call on Governor Kasich to urge state lawmakers to get serious about curbing agricultural runoff pollution. Pollution from industrial farms is the leading cause of toxic algae. We know the problem. Our leaders must step up to fix it.

“At the federal level, President Donald Trump has proposed an EPA budget that completely eliminates Great Lakes restoration and protection funding. The OEC Action Fund, and the Ohioans who depend on Lake Erie for drinking water and jobs call on the Governor to end these draconian cuts.

“Missing entirely from the Governor’s speech was any discussion of clean energy jobs. Gov. Kasich has been a champion for Ohio’s clean energy industry in the past, and has pledged to veto any attempts to repeal Ohio’s successful clean energy standards. With the Ohio House of Representatives’ recent passage of HB114, another attempt to gut Ohio’s clean energy progress, we need to hear where the Governor stands. If Gov. Kasich truly wants to see a diversified economy for the state, Ohio must put its open for business sign up for clean energy. "

Ohio House revives another desperate attempt to freeze clean energy standards

Columbus, OH - Today, in response to the introduction of House Bill 114 aimed at freezing Ohio’s renewable energy standards, the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund released the following statement:

“With the introduction of HB114, the Ohio House of Representatives is re-hashing failed attempts to thwart the renewable energy standards that Ohioans overwhelmingly support. Governor Kasich vetoed very similar legislation in HB554 last year and has continued to advocate for the standards to remain in place. Ohio needs to be a leader in the energy revolution that is sweeping the world instead of debating legislation that is dead on arrival.”