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Stop Toxins from Algae in Drinking Water

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Click here to submit public comments to Ohio EPA by November 19.

1.) Insist algae toxin standards be created for Ohio drinking water supplies

2.) Request mandatory testing to occur at community water systems

 

 

Don’t Let Ohio Coal Get A Bailout

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Carbon pollution rolls from Sammis Coal-fired Power Plant. Utilities are asking PUCO to approve passing costs for outdated plants like Sammis onto customers. credit: Akron Beacon Journal

In June 2014, Governor Kasich signed into law a bill that guts Ohio’s clean energy and efficiency standards. Passing this new law was not enough for Ohio’s utilities, though. 

Now, Ohio’s largest electric utilities, AEP, Duke, and FirstEnergy are seeking to keep a number of Ohio’s oldest and dirtiest power plants open for years to come.

And they want you and me to pay for it.

Take Action ->

Press art 4_Ohio coal plant bailouts


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Fight for Ohio’s State Forests – No Logging!

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Shawnee State Forest trail next to logging site. Which is the trail? Where are the logging roads? Why can’t we tell?

Ohio DNR wants to clear-cut and burn it’s way through Ohio’s natural forests. Take action

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Gas and Oil Fracking

The Ohio Chapter Gas and Oil Fracking Committee is comprised of a core team of Sierra Club members from across the state working in cooperation with partner organizations to protect Ohio’s air and water from the impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing Drilling “Fracking”. We empowers citizens to protect their communities locally while supporting a statewide moratorium until fracking’s impacts are studied and until we believe that safe and effective regulation will prevent unacceptable harm to wildlife, human health, water, air, and property values.

 

Gas and Oil Fracking - Latest News

by Ohio Chapter Executive Committee member Jack Turner

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Protesters on the Little Miami River

On Tuesday, May 19, Democratic Voices and ProgressOhio staged a kayak and canoe rally outside Ohio Junior Senator Rob Portman’s Terrace Park estate. The rally was dubbe the “American Armada.” Democratic Voices and Progress Ohio were joined by activists from other statewide organizations including the Ohio Sierra Club. Participants traveled from every corner of the state to insist the Senator oppose the Trans Pacific Partnership.

The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a trade deal being negotiated between Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam. The deal is being pushed by the Obama Administration and Congressional Republicans. Although the negotiations are secret, between what can be gleaned from similar recent treaties as well as portions of the treaty leaked by Wikileaks, shows that the TPP would have disastrous environmental impacts.:

The TPP would Increase Fracking in the U.S.: The Department of Energy must determine that exporting natural gas is in the public interest before gas exports can proceed. But, this requirement is waived for nations with which the United States has a so called “Free Trade Agreement” (FTA) that includes “national treatment for trade in gas.” The TPP could establish such an agreement between the United States and 11 other member countries. Japan in particular is eager to buy gas drilled in North America’s shale beds.

Allow Corporations to Sue Member Countries in Secret Tribunals for Protecting the Environment: The treaty would establish what are known as Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) tribunals. In these tribunals, companies can sue countries and receive compensation for “expected future profits.” Corporations can claim they have lost future profits because of the environmental, labor, or consumer protection laws of signatories. If an ISDS tribunal decides that a member-nation’s laws or policies interfere with the corporation’s profits, the tribunal can award compensation to the corporation at taxpayer expense. This means a country that tried to pass regulations to protect clean water and air, ensure public health, regulate or ban the of exploiting dirty fossil fuels, or tried to protect the environment, public health, or workers rights in that went above lowest common denominator among member-nations would be opening itself up to being sued.

Although Portman has failed to oppose the bad deal outright, to his credit he has co-authored an amendment against currency manipulation. The amendment, if passed, could frustrate the would be trade pact.

Protesters display a banner on the Little Miami River within view from the Senator’s back yard.

Protesters display a banner on the Little Miami River within view from the Senator’s back yard.

            Activists traveled down the Little Miami River past Portman’s in state residence, holding up signs and banners as they passed the property. Besides the banners and signs denouncing the TPP for the harm it would do to the environment and American labor, the boats were decorated with American and Ohio flags. Someone who saw the saw the flotilla before the unfurling of the banners could have been forgiven for assuming they were seeing an early Memorial Day celebration.

The senator was not home to see the event, since congress in in session, but and Democratic Voices produced a press release about the rally and both shared the news t on social media. Participants (including this one) tweeted the news from the water.

            Democratic Voices Executive Director Alex Kass described the demonstration and what demonstrations like this one mean for American Politics in an email:

We’re here, protesting on the Little Miami River, to show Ohio’s junior senator that he will be held accountable for the decisions he makes while serving us in office. We’re moving farther and farther into a time when the average American voter can feasibly attain a higher degree of everyday political involvement than she or he has ever been able to command in the past. Social media is the critical vehicle of non-election cycle connection between people and the political process, and through it, we as citizens must demand accountability, transparency and foresight from our elected officials. That’s what our objection to fast-tracking this trade deal is all about.

It’s no wonder to anyone why the orchestrators of a massive trade agreement like the TPP or NAFTA would be pushing for fast-track. A simple up or down vote and no amendment process is the perfect recipe for a bunch of Big Money-funded legislators to be able to vote in a way that pleases their corporate donors, while maintaining enough non-involvement in the particulars to claim no wrongdoing when their constituents later ask them to answer for the consequences.

A frack waste spill in Vienna Township, Ohio. Credit: Frack Free Mahoning

A frack waste spill in Vienna Township, Ohio. Credit: Frack Free Mahoning

The Sierra Club Ohio Chapter and several other environmental groups submitted a letter to the US EPA today which outlines multiple failures of oversight of fracking waste in Ohio. The groups are calling for the US EPA to intervene and to strip Ohio of it’s self-regulation.

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Columbus, Ohio - The Ohio House Energy and Natural Resources Committee rekindled a debate about allowing fracking to occur in Ohio’s State Parks, Forests, and Nature Preserves this week during considerations of House Bill 8 (Hagan). The bill established a fast-track provision, which would have forced approval of fracking in portions of parks, forests, and preserves. This bill sought to amend the process laid out in the previously passed House Bill 133 (2011), which opened up Ohio’s public lands to fracking and established a “public lands leasing commission” required to approve permits. The Governor has instituted a “de facto moratorium” on drilling in these areas by refusing to appoint members to this leasing commission. HB 8 would have circumvented the Governor’s decision not to drill in these areas by working around the commission and utilizing a process called “forced pooling.”

An amendment was carried forward in HB 8 earlier this week (attachment), which added protections to these sensitive areas. The Ohio Sierra Club worked with allies at the Ohio Environmental Council to help educate the committee members about how drilling would impact Ohio’s most sensitive public lands.

Click below to read our statement >

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Mohican-winterWe hope you were able to  join the 150 Sierra Club members who gathered for our annual Chapter Retreat at Mohican State Park. As one of the largest and most influential environmental organizations in the state,  we celebrated our victories, renewed our spirits, and made our plans for the year ahead.  Check out the Retreat Presentations and take the survey!!!

 

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UPDATE: one of these facilities has exploded, injuring three workers.

In 2013, the Ohio legislature quietly inserted a provision in the budget (HB 59) that modified state oil and gas laws in ORC 1509.22(B)(2)(a) to read as follows:

On and after January 1, 2014, no person shall store, recycle, treat, process, or dispose of in this state brine or other waste substances associated with the exploration, development, well stimulation, production operations, or plugging of oil and gas resources without an order or a permit issued under this section or section 1509.06 or 1509.21 of the Revised Code or rules adopted under any of those sections. For purposes of division (B)(2)(a) of this section, a permit or other form of authorization issued by another agency of the state or a political subdivision of the state shall not be considered a permit or order issued by the chief of the division of oil and gas resources management under this chapter.

This has allowed over 20 facilities to exist in Ohio that can handle dangerous (explosive, toxic chemicals and radionuclides present) without a permit, rather simply with an “order by the chief” of Ohio DNR. For an explanation of this issue, see Terry Lodge’s letter to Attorney General Mike DeWine raising concerns about worker safety and environmental contamination below. Also see the testimony where Patriot advocated for this “grandfathering clause” in ORC 1509. It should be noted that this is the very same non-regulatory strategy that lead to the tragic contamination of water in West Virginia earlier this year.

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