Ohio Environmental Council

A satellite photo of Lake Erie shows a toxic algea bloom
JOSHUA STEVENS / NASA EARTH OBSERVATORY

Ohio farmers say they’re on board with the state’s plans to slow down agricultural runoff into Lake Erie. And they’re joining environmental activists and conservationists in embracing how Gov. Mik DeWine says he’ll spend $172 million in the newly created H2Ohio fund.

A photo of the Ohio House subcomittee on energy
ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Opponents are speaking out against the bill that would prop up two struggling nuclear plants while also tossing out the state’s green energy requirements for utilities. 

The proposed law would create a monthly fee of $2.50 to create clean air credits for carbon-free power generators.

House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) said ratepayers will end up paying less because the bill gets rid of the alternative energy standards which can end up being more than $4 a month.

A photo of Lake Erie near Sandusky
ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Ohio Senate Republicans are saying one of their top goals is to protect what they believe to be the state’s number one natural resource: Lake Erie. They say keeping Lake Erie clean will be a team effort that doesn’t just fall on the shoulders of farmers.  

Sen. Bob Peterson of southeast Ohio said they want to bring in environmentalists, water treatment facility operators and farmers to make sure fertilizer and other nutrients don’t get into Lake Erie, causing harmful algal blooms.

A photo of the Everett Covered Bridge. It crosses Furnace Run in Ohio's Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
KENNETH KEIFER / SHUTTERSTOCK

Environmental advocates say time is running out to save a federal fund that helps improve local parks, pools, and playgrounds. 

For decades the Land and Water Conservation Fund has given a boost to improvement projects. They range in size from as small as parking lots for local swimming pools to as large as millions of dollars in improvements for the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and Wayne National Forest.

Ricardo Granados of the Ohio Environmental Council says, whether they know it or not, many Ohioans have likely benefited from this fund.

photo of PUCO
JO INGLES / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

The agency that regulates public utilities has a new plan for modernization of aging electricity grids.

Public Utilities Commission of Ohio Chairman Asim Haque said its new PowerForward plan is a comprehensive roadmap that will be used as electricity companies upgrade infrastructure.

He said the plan ensures grid security and the ability to adapt to future power usage, and it gives customers options.

photo of dark money
KAREN KASLER / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Now that they’ve had success in changing the way the maps for lawmakers at the state and federal level are drawn, Ohio activists who worked on those ballot issues are turning their attention to other concerns.

Jen Miller from the League of Women Voters of Ohio says the Congressional redistricting issue that passed in the primary is still top of mind for her group.

photo of natural gas drilling pad
DAVID GAYLOR / SHUTTERSTOCK

The state budget director is pushing back on a bill that environmental advocates and the oil and gas industry say would streamline the process of capping some 600 old oil and gas wells that don’t have owners. The bill would also triple the amount of money set aside to cap those wells. 

James St. John / creativecommons.org

An environmental group and an oil and gas industry lobbying group are both praising a bill that passed the Ohio House that would streamline the process of capping some 600 old, unused wells that don’t have owners. Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports they also want more money put toward that process.

Drilling Crew
TIM RUDELL / WKSU

The Trump administration decided quietly over the holidays to abandon proposed federal regulations governing fracking on public lands. For Ohio environmentalists, the decision is big and bad news. For Ohio’s oil and gas industry, it’s a practical approach to regulation. 

photo of Fair Congressional Districts for Ohio ballot launch
THE FAIR CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS FOR OHIO COMMITTEE

Several Ohio groups helped kick off a new campaign Thursday to put a redistricting reform amendment on the state ballot.

The Fair Congressional Districts for Ohio committee is pushing a ballot proposal which will need more than 300,000 signatures to be considered.

The committee says the proposal is similar to Issue 1, a redistricting amendment which passed with bipartisan support in 2015.

Fair Districts Ohio logo
FAIR DISTRICTS

Two years after winning a reform of the way Statehouse lawmakers’ districts are drawn, advocates for congressional redistricting in Ohio have taken the first step to putting that issue before voters. 

The League of Women Voters, Common Cause Ohio and the Ohio Environmental Council have collected 1,000 petition signatures to ask voters to change the way Congressional district maps are drawn.

Algae Bloom seen from Lake Erie
NOAA / GLERL

Environmental groups have filed a federal lawsuit, accusing the Environmental Protection Agency of violating the Clean Water Act.

The lawsuit involves a dispute over whether Lake Erie should be classified as an impaired waterway

Keystone pipeline
Pan Demin / SHUTTERSHOCK

President Donald Trump’s go-ahead for the Keystone pipeline that will run from Canada to the Gulf shore is triggering concerns from Ohio environmental groups. 

While the Keystone pipeline never gets close to Ohio, environmental groups believe President Donald Trump's giving it the go-ahead creates a bad precedent.

Ohio Environmental Council’s Melanie Houston says the Keystone project doesn’t go far enough to protect land and water.

Ohio Environmentalists Slam President Trump's EPA Cuts

Mar 4, 2017
photo of Algae bloom on Lake Erie, Summer 2014
NOAA

Ohio environmental advocates say Lake Erie would be hurt by  President Donald Trump’s proposed deep budget cuts to the U.S. EPA, and that damage would hurt the state’s economy.

photo of covered bridge in Ashtabula
KENNETH KEIFER / SHUTTERSTOCK

Ohio’s top attorney is taking on the Obama Administration one last time just as the president prepares to leave office.

President Barack Obama authorized a rule change to be implemented on his second to last day in the Oval Office. The change to the Stream Protection Rule requires mining companies to restore the quality of waterways once their work is done.

Kasich signs water-testing bill
M.L. SCHULTZE / WKSU

Environmental advocates are touting a new law that they say strengthens water testing rules and adds accountability. But they say there’s still more work to do. 

The bill Gov. John Kasich just signed makes Ohio one of the best states when it comes to cracking down on lead in water, according to Melanie Houston of the Ohio Environmental Council.

But she says state officials will need to team up with leaders from around the country to fix the nationwide problem.

photo of Blue Creek Wind Farm turbine
IBERDOLA RENWABLES

Though lawmakers are out of the Statehouse for the summer, many issues remain that might get a lot of attention when they get back. They include Ohio’s green energy policies. 

As of now, the laws that required electric utilities to provide a certain amount of renewable energy and achieve a certain amount of efficiency are on hold. But those policies are secheduled to go back into effect at the end of the year.

Several conservative lawmakers want to pass a bill that extends the freeze.

Photo of Aryeh Alex
ARYEH ALEX / TWITTER

Big oil and coal companies have been known for making major campaign contributions. Now an environmental group wants to beat those companies at their own game.

The Ohio Environmental Council has created a political arm with a new action fund that can raise money and campaign for or against candidates running for elected office.

As Fund Director Aryeh Alex explains, this is a way to fight fire with fire on the campaign trail.

  A group of states, including Ohio, earned a victory in their challenge to federal regulations that would reduce coal-plant carbon emissions.

The Supreme Court sided with Ohio and 26 other states in delaying implementation of the U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan.

Dan Tierney with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office says the federal government is overextending its authority, saying a one- size-fits-all mentality hurts a state like Ohio.