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Sustainable Cleveland 2019

WHAT: Year of Local Food kick-off event

WHEN: Jan. 20, 11 a.m. -  2 p.m.

WHERE: Cleveland City Hall Rotunda, 601 Lakeside Ave., Cleveland, Ohio 44114

The Sustainable Cleveland 2019 (SC2019) initiative kicks off the 2012 Year of Local Food with a celebration at Cleveland City Hall. This event is free, open to the public, appropriate for all ages and will give people the opportunity to engage with local vendors, businesses and farmers. There will be informational tables set up for people to learn how to access local food and a variety of healthy local foods will also be available to sample and purchase.

Sustainable Cleveland 2019 is a ten-year initiative that engages people to work together to design and develop a thriving and resilient Cleveland region that leverages its assets to build economic, social and environmental well-being for all residents.

Individuals that represent farmers' markets, community supported agriculture (CSA) collectives or organizations that connect residents to local food, can host exhibition tables at the event for free.

Please note, you must bring photo identification to enter the City Hall Rotunda.

For more information on the event, click here or email Philena Seldon at Cleveland Office of Sustainability. To register for a table, click here. For more information on SC2019, click here

Bike Cleveland

A coalition from the City of Cleveland, Bike Cleveland and some Cleveland neighborhood groups will be traveling to Columbus Dec. 15 for a 10 a.m. Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) meeting at 1980 W. Broad St., Columbus OH 43223, regarding the West Shoreway road project in Cleveland.

The meeting will determine whether the city receives funding for Phase II of the West Shoreway project, which would include landscaping and some safety improvements to the road with the goal of reducing the road speed to 35 miles per hour.

Although Phase II of the project does not include any bike improvements, Bike Cleveland has decided to support the City in this effort because they have indicated that safety improvements are a prerequisite to the bike infrastructure that has been promised in Phase III.

In addition, the city has promised Bike Cleveland that they will:

• discuss providing an alternative bikeway between Lakewood and downtown Cleveland to make conditions better for cyclists until the West Shoreway project is complete.

• include representatives of Bike Cleveland in the future planning process for this project.

• be an update to the city’s Bikeway Master Plan.

• figure out how to close the West Shoreway for a day this coming summer for a “Walk and Roll”/Ciclovia-type of event.

No public comments will be accepted at the ODOT meeting. The event, however, will provide advocates with opportunities to interact with top city and state officials, and could provide an important grassroots lobbying opportunity for Bike Cleveland.

Buses will be leaving from the Gordon Square Arts District parking lot at W. 61st Street and Detroit Avenue at 6:15 a.m on Dec. 15, returning at 5 p.m. the same day. Lunch will be provided. For more information, email Chris at chris@bikecleveland.org.

If you want to bike to Columbus, Alex Nosse, co-owner of Joy Machines Bike Shop, will lead a group that will leave Cleveland on Dec. 13 and return on Dec. 17. For more information, email Alex at info@joymachinesbikeshop.com.

For more information, click here.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Ohio Citizen Action

by Sandy Buchanan

The City of Cleveland’s proposal to build a new garbage incinerator at its Ridge Road transfer station is drawing opposition from neighborhood residents, environmental groups and public health professionals. Cleveland’s city-owned electric company, Cleveland Public Power, is proposing to bring in garbage from the city and Northeast Ohio region to be “gasified” by using a type of incineration technology new to the U.S.

Cleveland Public Power has applied to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for an air pollution permit for the facility. According to the application, the incinerator would become one of the largest sources of air pollution in Cleveland, especially for soot and mercury. Dr. Anne Wise, a physician at Neighborhood Family Practice, a medical clinic just a few blocks away from the proposed incinerator site, said, “Children who live in highly polluted communities tend to have more asthma and respiratory problems than those who don’t—even controlling for things like parental smoking habits. Why should our kids who already have high lead, high levels of asthma, our seniors who are already struggling with lung and cardiovascular diseases in proportions much greater than outside of Cleveland, why should they be subject to these risks even more? They count. They shouldn’t be seen as collateral damage.”

According to the city, the incinerator could increase truck traffic up to 550 trucks per day—which would mean a garbage truck coming in every one and a half minutes. Claudette Wlasuk, who lives near the proposed facility, said, “The traffic is my big concern because you can’t argue about those fumes. The trucks worry me because I am so close to the incinerator, especially if they come from I-480 to Ridge Rd.”

Residents have launched a yard sign campaign with red, black and white signs that say “No Cleveland Incinerator,” and are preparing for meetings and public hearings. Earth Day Coalition, Environmental Health Watch, Northeast Ohio Sierra Club and Ohio Citizen Action have co-sponsored community meetings in Cleveland with recycling and waste reduction expert Neil Seldman, president of the Institute for Local Self Reliance, and Teresa Mills, who led the successful campaign to close the Columbus incinerator.

Neil Seldman, who has worked with cities and small businesses around the country, recommended that the city investigate alternatives to incineration, which would boost the city’s recycling rates and create jobs. The developer of the proposed Ridge Road facility is Peter Tien, the same individual who was the key figure in Cleveland’s failed attempt to set up an exclusive contract with the Chinese Sunpo-Optu light bulb manufacturer. Tien has received a contract for $1.5 million from Cleveland Public Power to apply for an air permit and design the facility. Cleveland Public Power said they are waiting for information from Tien on how much the facility will cost. The latest estimate was $180 million.

Citizens and environmental organizations have challenged the city’s attempts to hide much of the information about the facility as a “trade secret.” After eight months of keeping key data about the proposal out of the public version of the air pollution permit application, the city finally released an unredacted version on Nov. 15, after Natural Resources Defense Council attorney Shannon Fisk forced the issue with the Ohio EPA. Fisk’s letter also challenged the city’s attempts to avoid tougher air pollution restrictions by claiming they will operate the facility in such a way to come in just a fraction under several key emissions thresholds. This maneuver would mean that citizens would not be able to sue to enforce environmental laws, and that the incinerator could add to the overall air pollution of the area without forcing other air polluters to reduce their emissions. Because this facility is experimental, no prototypes exist for residents to examine. But the track record of garbage incinerators in the U.S. is dismal.

The permit for a facility known as Mahoning Renewable Energy in Alliance, which Cleveland Public Power said would have been comparable to the proposed Cleveland plant, was withdrawn in March 2011. The campaign against the facility was led by a local manufacturer of food packaging products who did not want toxic emissions from the facility contaminating his products.

Interested in getting involved? Here’s how—Contact Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson at 601 Lakeside Ave., Cleveland, Ohio 44114 or 216-664-3990, and Cleveland City Council at 601 Lakeside Ave., Room 220, Cleveland, Ohio 44114 or 216-664-2840, and let them know why you object to the proposed incinerator.

Join the citizens’ campaign against the incinerator by putting up a yard sign, circulating a petition or participating in neighborhood meetings. Contact Dave Ralph at 216-970-7724 or dralph@ohiocitizen.org, and visit www.ohiocitizen.org and click on Cleveland incinerator.

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