On September 3, 2016, Oklahoma declared a state of emergency following a 5.6 magnitude earthquake near Pawnee, Oklahoma. The earthquake matched the strongest recorded tremor ever to have hit the area, back in 2011.That same day, Oklahoma officials temporarily shut down 37 of the state’s 3,200 active fracking wastewater disposal wells.
Green news, reflections, and stories from Ohio's leading environmental advocates.
Last month, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Science Advisory Board completed and published their review of the agency’s long-awaited report on drinking water impacts from hydraulic fracturing or “fracking.” To make a long story short, if the Science Advisory Board were handing out grades, then the EPA report would have received an F. They found a number of flaws with virtually every aspect of the report.
“It is not enough to understand the natural world; the point is to defend and preserve it. Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul.” ~ Edward Abbey
At what point does a concern turn into a passion? What pushes us to turn sentiment into action? I cannot pinpoint any singular moment that led me to environmental work. Rather, a combination of growing up in beautiful southwest Ohio, my mom’s activism, and having a fierce trial lawyer for a father led me to be an environmental advocate.
My first national park visit wasn’t that long ago. On a Route 66 road trip with a friend, we saw an interesting sign outside of the small town of Chambers, Arizona that said “Welcome to Petrified Forest National Park.” Our one rule on this trip was either of us could request a stop for anything we thought would be interesting and this seemed very interesting to me. Not only had I never been to a National Park, a petrified forest in the middle of the desert sounded fascinating.
Two years ago today, FirstEnergy filed its original coal bailout case at the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. At the time, industry insiders, consumer groups and environmental organizations alike thought it unlikely that FirstEnergy would get what they were asking for - billions of dollars from their customers to pay for the Sammis coal plant and the Davis-Besse nuclear plant.
On August 2, the Clean Power Plan hit a milestone; one year ago the final carbon pollution limits were released by the USEPA, and it was clear that Ohio must get itself on track to reduce carbon pollution from power plants by 27% by 2030. The ultimate fate of this critical policy is still a bit uncertain. But the global temperature trends and the climate change impacts felt both close and far from Ohio make me think that perhaps 2016 is shaping up to be the poster child for why we need the Clean Power Plan now more than ever.
Today, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency released its draft list of severely polluted lakes and rivers it considers “impaired” under the Clean Water Act. Included are portions of Lake Erie where Toledo draws its drinking water, as well as miles of shoreline and areas around the lake islands. Even before the Toledo water crisis almost two years ago where nearly half a million residents were told not to drink their tap water due to toxic algae contamination, several organizations were calling for an impairment designation, and those voices have only gotten louder.
This sums up the latest twist in FirstEnergy’s plan to saddle customers with the cost of their bad bets on coal-fired power plants. Despite the federal rejection of their bailout proposal several months ago, FirstEnergy modified its “ask” to the PUCO, and in hearings starting this week, the utility has a leg up. This is largely due to the PUCO staff already recommending that the commission give the utility $130 million per year in “credit support” for the next few years. Who will be paying for this? FirstEnergy customers.
The map to the right is of last year's nitrate advisory.
The city of Columbus just issued a warning that infants (6 months or younger) and pregnant women should avoid using tap water due to elevated nitrate levels found in the water provided by the Dublin Road Water Plant.