Environment & Energy

photo of Tim Donovan
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

The 30th annual RiverSweep is happening Saturday morning in Cleveland, along the Cuyahoga River.

Volunteers are invited to help collect trash, old tires and other refuse that litters the river bank. They’ll also be painting over graffiti in the area.

photo of Harshaw Chemical entry gate
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

A Cleveland site that was once part of the World War II-era project to develop the atomic bomb, could be re-developed. But first, it needs to be cleaned up. And residents who live near the property are concerned about the options.

ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

A House panel has recommended changes to a bill that would ultimately change the rates on everyone’s electric bills. The energy bill has the potential to bail out the state’s struggling nuclear plants while repealing Ohio’s green energy standards. 

Republican lawmakers are looking to draw out some of the big changes proposed in the energy bill.

The legislation originally proposed charging residential ratepayers $2.50 on their monthly electric bill to support subsidies, most of which would go to nuclear plants.

photo of Perry plants
DAN KONIK / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

House lawmakers are working on possible changes to a bill that would bail out nuclear plants while repealing the state’s green energy standards on utilities. The measure could dole out more than $150 million to Ohio’s two nuclear plants. The bill is collecting a variety of opponents that don’t usually take the same side.

Conservative groups have joined environmental groups in voicing their objections to the energy bill - albeit for different reasons.

photo of Pamela Barnes
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

Cuyahoga Valley National Park is hosting Junior Ranger Day on Saturday to cap off National Park Week.

The event runs from noon until 2 and will offer activities for youth from 4 to 12 years old. Junior Rangers will be “sworn-in” at 1 p.m. and be given a badge for participating.

Pamela Barnes, community engagement supervisor with the parks, says it’s a way to engage young people in the nation’s parks.

photo of Cuyahoga River
JEFF ST. CLAIR / WKSU

A local group focused on protecting the Yellow Creek watershed could soon see creation of a conservancy district to restore the Cuyahoga River tributary.

The Yellow Creek watershed in Summit and Medina counties has been over-stressed by development, leading to flooding and erosion. After flooding in 2014 led to the collapse of roadways and damaged homes in Bath, Akron and Cuyahoga Falls, Brenda McShaffrey took action.

WKSU

The term “green economy” refers to growth that’s environmentally friendly. The head of the Cleveland Water Alliance says there’s a new term growing in regional importance—that’s the blue economy.

“The blue economy or water cluster added almost 1K net new jobs…”

photo of Tom Froehle
Andy Chow / Statehouse News Bureau

One of Ohio’s largest electric companies is weighing in on the bill that would create a new charge to benefit “green energy” but eliminate an existing fee on ratepayers.

The proposed legislation would likely bailout the state’s two nuclear plants while also tossing out the requirements that utility companies invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency.

AEP’s Tom Froehle said his company has spent years following these standards and urged that the energy bill honor their current contracts and programs, which he said have saved customers $1 billion.

For the first time in many years, Cuyahoga County has received a “pass” grade for particle pollution from the American Lung Association’s annual State of the Air report. The pass/fail grade is set based on federal EPA standards

photo of tires and trash
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

More than 250 volunteers were at Summit Lake in Akron over the weekend for the first large-scale clean-up of the year.

The event was organized by Keep Akron Beautiful, which has hosted similar events at Summit Lake for close to a decade. A spokeswoman says each year, there’s been less trash and less dumping of large objects in and around the lake, which is a focal point for the neighborhood.

photo of the scenic railroad
M.L. SCHULTZE / WKSU

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad is launching a new program this summer to educate its guests. Visitors of any age can take a two-hour interactive train ride to learn more about the park’s history and its wildlife.

Director of Events Kenzie Conner says CVSR has worked with the National Park System on education programs before, but this new program will be led by local staff members.  

Five Central Ohio communities will be handing out 38,000 new recycling bins to their residents, free of cost, over the next month.

photo of Dave Griffing
ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

The Ohio House is holding hearings on a bill that would revamp the way renewable and nuclear energy is incentivized in the state. A committee heard from FirstEnergy Solutions, the owners of Ohio’s two nuclear plants, which said this bill brings parity to energy policy. 

The energy bill would give out what’s being call “clean air” credits to energy generators who don’t produce carbon emissions. It would also do away with the green energy standards that require utilities to invest in alternative sources.

photo of CVNP graffiti
CUYAHOGA VALLEY NATIONAL PARK

The Cuyahoga Valley National Park is thanking the public for helping to successfully identify suspects who vandalized property in the park.

photo of Larry Householder
Andy Chow / Statehouse News Bureau

The plan to overhaul Ohio’s energy policy would get rid of the state’s green energy standards and would likely bailout nuclear power plants. The utility company, FirstEnergy, has been strongly advocating for those two things to happen for years now.

Republican House Speaker Larry Householder has a connection to FirstEnergy. FirstEnergy donated more than $150,000 to House Republicans during the 2018 election.

Perry nuclear power plant seen from the south
TIM RUDELL / WKSU

Lawmakers are considering subsidies that could save the state’s two nuclear power plants which are set to be shut down in two years. Opponents say proposed rate increases to cover those subsidies amount to an unnecessary bailout. Workers say it will save their jobs and their town.

SUMMIT METROPARKS

While the design phase moves forward on the removal of the Gorge Dam on the Cuyahoga River, efforts are also underway to ensure residents have their questions answered.

At this week’s public meeting announcing the timeline for the removal of the dam, most people were pleased because the dam is a barrier to a healthier Cuyahoga River.

Gorge Dam
JEFF ST. CLAIR / WKSU

A plan is now in place to bring down the Gorge Dam in the next four years.

Officials presented the plan with a timeline to a crowd at the Cuyahoga Falls Natatorium Tuesday night. If all goes as expected, the Gorge Dam could come down by 2023 at an estimated cost of $65 million to $70 million.

WKSU

A new investigation by two environmental groups cites unpermitted livestock farms as contributors to the algae problem in Lake Erie. The Environmental Working Group and Environmental Law & Policy Center collected and studied aerial photos of the Maumee River watershed.

photo of Cuyahoga River
JEFF ST. CLAIR / WKSU

Social media has been abuzz over the use of concrete slabs by the city of Cuyahoga Falls to help slow erosion along the Cuyahoga River.   

Over the past several days, Burning River Adventures, a canoe and kayak rental business in Cuyahoga Falls, got a lot of attention posting photos on Facebook of concrete slabs lining the river near Water Works Park, calling the practice “dumping.”

Cuyahoga Falls Superintendent of Parks Sara Kline said that’s misleading.

photo of power plant
FirstEnergy

The company that runs two coal and two nuclear plants in Ohio is working on a new bankruptcy proposal after a federal judge denied their initial filing. There’s a broad range of opponents in the case, including environmental groups who fear the energy generator’s parent company is trying to shirk its responsibility. 

FirstEnergy Solutions is filing for bankruptcy in a restructuring plan that would officially separate the company from FirstEnergy Corp., the energy distributor.

A picture of tunnel boring machine nicknamed Rosie
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

The City of Akron is working to improve its 100 year old sewage system.

Dubbed Akron Waterways Renewed!, the project is federally mandated and aims to eliminate the discharge of sanitary sewage, which contains human excrement, into the Cuyahoga River. 

Cleveland Lead Advocates for Safe Housing (CLASH) has delivered what it says are 10,300 signatures to the Clerk of Council to petition for a change in the city's lead paint law.

The proposed ordinance would require rental properties built after 1978 be safe from lead paint.

CLASH attorney Rebecca Maurer says their proposal wants to flip the current method.

WKSU

A new Cleveland City Council subcommittee is meeting for the first time today, and its focus is to figure out how to improve Lake Erie’s water quality.

SUMMIT COUNTY EXECUTIVE'S OFFICE

Summit County officials have reached out to Ohio leaders, asking them to find a way to keep the Davis-Besse and Perry nuclear power plants open.

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