"Enough is enough. Pipelines leak—it's not a question of 'if', but 'when.' The pending permit for TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline should be flatly rejected by Nebraska's Public Service Commission (PSC), but know that no matter what the outcome, the fight's not over yet," said Scott Parkin, Rainforest Action Netrwork's Organizing Director. "We need to stop all expansion of extreme fossil fuels such as tar sands oil—and we need the finance community to stop funding these preventable climate disasters—disasters for the climate, the environment and Indigenous rights."
CNN reported that the spill occurred in the same county as part of the Lake Traverse Reservation.
"We are concerned that the oil spill is close to our treaty land, but we are trying to stay positive that they are getting the spill contained and that they will share any environmental assessments with the tribal agency," said Dave Flute, tribal chairman of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate.
According to TransCanada, the Keystone pipeline system delivers Canadian and U.S. crude oil supplies to markets around North America, stretching 4,324 kilometers (2,687 miles) in length. It starts from Hardisty, Alta., east into Manitoba where it turns south and crosses the border into North Dakota. It then runs south through South Dakota to Steele City, Neb., where it splits. One arm goes east through Missouri for deliveries into Wood River and Patoka, Ill., and the other runs south through Oklahoma to Cushing and onward to Port Arthur and Houston, Texas.
The proposed KXL would add to the massive Keystone system, with its line starting in Hardisty, Alberta and ending in Steele City.
Image of Amherst incident taken earlier today by aerial patrol as part of our initial response. For more updates, v… https://t.co/u4Vt8aLLR6— TC Energy (@TC Energy)1510874860.0
In March, President Trump overturned President Obama's rejection of the KXL by signing an executive order to advance the project forward. Trump said that doing so would boost construction jobs but critics noted that it would only create 35 permanent jobs.
Environmental groups have long battled against the proposed tar sands project, over fears it would lock in decades of increased climate pollution. A peer-reviewed study funded by the U.S. Department of Energy found that extracting and refining oil sands crude from Canada produces 20 percent more greenhouse gas emissions than the same process for conventional American crude, Newsweek reported in 2015.
As the KXL's proposed route crosses the Ogallala Aquifer, a major underground deposit of fresh water, a spill could threaten waterways and drinking water sources.
"Americans fought the Keystone Pipeline, because we knew it endangered our nation's water and a stable climate," Environment America's Global Warming Director Andrea McGimsey said in a statement after the spill. "The Nebraska Public Service Commission should look to today's disastrous leak as Exhibit A when commissioners decide in the coming week whether to allow Transcanada to extend this hazardous pipeline through their state. This latest disaster is an urgent reminder that we must stop building infrastructure for dangerous fossil fuels and transition to clean energy as soon as possible."
TransCanada said Thursday that it shut down the pipeline after detecting a pressure drop in their operating system. An investigation into the cause of the spill is underway.
“The safety of the public and environment are our top priorities and we will continue to provide updates as they become available," the company said.
This isn't the Keystone's first spill. In April 2016, the line gushed 18,600 gallons (400 barrels) of oil in South Dakota.
"With their horrible safety record, today's spill is just the latest tragedy caused by the irresponsible oil company TransCanada," said Ben Schreiber, senior political strategist at Friends of the Earth. "We cannot let the world's fossil fuel empires continue to drive government policy toward climate catastrophe. The only safe solution for oil and fossil fuels is to keep them in the ground."
Brian Walsh, a spokesman for the state's Department of Environment and Natural Resources told CNN that the were no initial reports of waterways, water systems or wildlife impacted by the leak.
"It is a below-ground pipeline but some oil has surfaced above ground to the grass," Walsh said. "It will be a few days until they can excavate and get in borings to see if there is groundwater contamination."
TransCanada said that crews, including its own specialists from emergency management, engineering, environmental management and safety as well as contracted, nationally recognized experts are assessing the situation.
Groups from other states that are facing their own pipeline battles have also decried the incident.
“From the multitude of spills we've seen in Ohio along the construction of the Rover Pipeline, to the 210,000 gallon spill today in South Dakota due to a mishap with the Keystone XL pipeline, we should be sure safeguards are in place to ensure that all Ohioans, and Americans, have clean air, land and water," said Melanie Houston, the director of Climate Programs at the Ohio Environmental Council.
Greenpeace is also urging Nebraska officials to say no to the new pipeline.
"The Nebraska Public Service Commission needs to take a close look at this spill," said Rachel Rye Butler of Greenpeace. "A permit approval allowing Canadian oil company TransCanada to build Keystone XL is a thumbs-up to likely spills in the future."
Conservation groups have filed an administrative protest challenging the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) plan for a September auction of three parcels in Ohio's only national forest for oil and gas leasing. The parcels are adjacent to the Rover Pipeline.
The protest, filed Monday, targets the BLM's failure to adequately analyze the impacts of fracking and pipelines on watersheds, forests and endangered species and its decision to open portions of the Wayne National Forest to fracking. Construction of the Rover Pipeline, which could transport fracked gas from the Wayne, has been halted because of spills and numerous safety and environmental violations.
"We're protesting this dangerous fracking plan because drinking water safety and public lands should come before corporate profits," said Taylor McKinnon with the Center for Biological Diversity. "The Ohio and Little Muskingum rivers provide precious water to millions of people in Ohio and downstream states. Pollution from fracking and faulty pipelines would be disastrous for the people who depend on this water."
Center for Biological Diversity
Fracking would industrialize Ohio's only national forest with roads, well pads and gas lines. The infrastructure would threaten or destroy habitat for threatened and endangered species and damage watersheds and water supplies within and beyond the national forest. In 2014 a well pad caught fire in Monroe County, resulting in the contamination of a creek near the forest; wastewater and fracking chemicals spilled into Opossum Creek—an Ohio River tributary—killing 70,000 fish over a five-mile stretch.
"The Wayne National Forest is a place for families to hike, hunt, fish, camp and enjoy nature. Toxic air pollution and pipeline corridors don't square with those values," said Nathan Johnson, public lands director with the Ohio Environmental Council. "Oil and gas development is a threat to the public's enjoyment of this special place, and the Ohio Environmental Council is committed to ensuring the Wayne National Forest is available for future generations of Ohioans."
"The co-conspiring of federal, state and local agencies to do the bidding of fossil fuel and energy companies while abdicating themselves from following federal and state laws is disgusting," said Tabitha Tripp, spokesperson for Heartwood. "Incomplete and flawed environmental assessments not only place public health and safety at colossal risks, but leave a legacy of morbid consequences to our children and the environment."
Conservation groups filed protests challenging BLM oil and gas lease sales in December and March. In May the groups sued the BLM and other federal agencies for failing to protect endangered species and analyze other environmental impacts before opening the Wayne to fracking. In total about 40,000 acres of the Wayne National Forest are available for fracking.
'Government Violating Own Laws to Pave Way for Fracking Plan' in Ohio's Only National Forest https://t.co/dghI6eaF4u (via @EcoWatch)— Sierra Club (@Sierra Club)1499357367.0
"The Wayne is Ohio's only national forest and it belongs to the people. As one of our last vestiges of wilderness, it should be preserved for generations to come instead of serving as a profit center for the fossil fuel industry," said Jen Miller, director of the Sierra Club's Ohio Chapter. "We call on the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service to immediately stop the irreparable harm that industrial fracking and the dangerous ETP Rover Pipeline will invariably cause."
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
The bright patterns and recognizable designs of Waterlust's activewear aren't just for show. In fact, they're meant to promote the conversation around sustainability and give back to the ocean science and conservation community.
Each design is paired with a research lab, nonprofit, or education organization that has high intellectual merit and the potential to move the needle in its respective field. For each product sold, Waterlust donates 10% of profits to these conservation partners.
Eye-Catching Designs Made from Recycled Plastic Bottles
waterlust.com / @abamabam
The company sells a range of eco-friendly items like leggings, rash guards, and board shorts that are made using recycled post-consumer plastic bottles. There are currently 16 causes represented by distinct marine-life patterns, from whale shark research and invasive lionfish removal to sockeye salmon monitoring and abalone restoration.
One such organization is Get Inspired, a nonprofit that specializes in ocean restoration and environmental education. Get Inspired founder, marine biologist Nancy Caruso, says supporting on-the-ground efforts is one thing that sets Waterlust apart, like their apparel line that supports Get Inspired abalone restoration programs.
"All of us [conservation partners] are doing something," Caruso said. "We're not putting up exhibits and talking about it — although that is important — we're in the field."
Waterlust not only helps its conservation partners financially so they can continue their important work. It also helps them get the word out about what they're doing, whether that's through social media spotlights, photo and video projects, or the informative note card that comes with each piece of apparel.
"They're doing their part for sure, pushing the information out across all of their channels, and I think that's what makes them so interesting," Caruso said.
And then there are the clothes, which speak for themselves.
Advocate Apparel to Start Conversations About Conservation
waterlust.com / @oceanraysphotography
Waterlust's concept of "advocate apparel" encourages people to see getting dressed every day as an opportunity to not only express their individuality and style, but also to advance the conversation around marine science. By infusing science into clothing, people can visually represent species and ecosystems in need of advocacy — something that, more often than not, leads to a teaching moment.
"When people wear Waterlust gear, it's just a matter of time before somebody asks them about the bright, funky designs," said Waterlust's CEO, Patrick Rynne. "That moment is incredibly special, because it creates an intimate opportunity for the wearer to share what they've learned with another."
The idea for the company came to Rynne when he was a Ph.D. student in marine science.
"I was surrounded by incredible people that were discovering fascinating things but noticed that often their work wasn't reaching the general public in creative and engaging ways," he said. "That seemed like a missed opportunity with big implications."
Waterlust initially focused on conventional media, like film and photography, to promote ocean science, but the team quickly realized engagement on social media didn't translate to action or even knowledge sharing offscreen.
Rynne also saw the "in one ear, out the other" issue in the classroom — if students didn't repeatedly engage with the topics they learned, they'd quickly forget them.
"We decided that if we truly wanted to achieve our goal of bringing science into people's lives and have it stick, it would need to be through a process that is frequently repeated, fun, and functional," Rynne said. "That's when we thought about clothing."
Support Marine Research and Sustainability in Style
To date, Waterlust has sold tens of thousands of pieces of apparel in over 100 countries, and the interactions its products have sparked have had clear implications for furthering science communication.
For Caruso alone, it's led to opportunities to share her abalone restoration methods with communities far and wide.
"It moves my small little world of what I'm doing here in Orange County, California, across the entire globe," she said. "That's one of the beautiful things about our partnership."
Check out all of the different eco-conscious apparel options available from Waterlust to help promote ocean conservation.
Melissa Smith is an avid writer, scuba diver, backpacker, and all-around outdoor enthusiast. She graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in journalism and sustainable studies. Before joining EcoWatch, Melissa worked as the managing editor of Scuba Diving magazine and the communications manager of The Ocean Agency, a non-profit that's featured in the Emmy award-winning documentary Chasing Coral.
By Kathiann M. Kowalski
The Rover Pipeline project in Ohio faces continuing problems, with more spills of drilling mud, ongoing questions about diesel fuel contamination, and orders issued last week by both the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
"The significant thing that is very new here is that Ohio EPA has said that they are working very closely with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission," observed Cheryl Johncox of the Sierra Club. FERC issued a July 12 order that echoes multiple directives from the Ohio EPA's July 7 order to Energy Transfer Partners.
Energy Transfer Partners, the Texas-based company that runs the pipeline project, has also now acknowledged Ohio EPA's regulatory authority, Johncox noted. "Those are pretty big significant changes to this conversation."
FERC also issued another notice of violation on July 13, claiming that Energy Transfer Partners "did not fully and forthrightly disclose all relevant information" before demolishing a historic home. Meanwhile, more problems with the project have also emerged in Michigan and West Virginia.
The concerted federal and state enforcement actions in Ohio, plus the other disputes, could slow plans for the pipeline to begin operation early next year.
On July 2, drilling for the Rover Pipeline project released 5,000 more gallons of drill slurry into a Stark County area where the company was working on a five-foot borehole that would go under the Tuscarawas River. Work was already underway to deal with a previous spill in that area.
On July 3, another "inadvertent release" of 1,500 to 2,500 gallons of drilling mud took place at a nearby area ten feet from the river.
This month's leaks are a tiny fraction of the millions of gallons already released by the Rover Pipeline's drilling work in Ohio. The Ohio EPA issued a proposed administrative order against Energy Transfer Partners in May.
On July 7, Ohio EPA Director Craig Butler issued final findings and orders to Energy Transfer Partners, adding the new releases to its initial list of charges. The order also notes that some previously-leaked material had subsequently been found to contain diesel fuel.
The fluids are defined as "industrial waste" under Ohio law and must go to a licensed landfill or other authorized location, the July 7 order noted.
The total fines sought from the company so far exceed $900,000, and the matter has been referred to the Ohio Attorney General's office for possible further action. Announcing the referral on July 10, Butler described the company's response leading up to the action as "basically a stiff arm to the state of Ohio."
"We continue to work with FERC and the Ohio EPA to resolve these issues in a manner that is satisfactory to everyone involved," said spokesperson Alexis Daniel at Energy Transfer Partners.
Daniel identified the additional materials released this month as "drilling mud, which is made up of water and naturally occurring bentonite clay. Bentonite is a type of clay that is non-toxic."
Daniel provided no explanation for how diesel fuel got into some of the previously released material. "We are working with the Ohio EPA on the investigation of this matter," she said.
Johncox applauded the Ohio EPA "for really doing the right thing here and demanding that they [Energy Transfer Partners] clean up the mess that they have created." In her view, the company's actions so far have shown "basic disregard for their plan on how they're going to protect the waters of our state."
She and other environmental advocates are especially concerned about the finding of diesel fuel in some of the previously released material.
"Everyone was talking about it as nontoxic material. That was a talking point," said Melanie Houston at the Ohio Environmental Council. "It turns out it really was toxic material." Even a very small amount "can pollute the river and be a real concern for aquatic life," she noted.
As an added concern, some used drilling mud has already been deposited in former sand and gravel quarries. "Quarries can be very close to the groundwater supply," Johncox said.
The Ohio EPA's July 7 order calls for a plan by Energy Transfer Partners to remove wastes from quarry sites and dispose of them in a way to be approved by the agency. Additional sampling and groundwater monitoring is also required.
Follow-up action from FERC is also likely, Johncox noted. In May, federal regulators told Energy Transfer Partners to conduct additional environmental review and to delay construction at several spots along the pipeline route.
A flood of concerns
The July 13 notice of violation from FERC appears to relate to the company's previous purchase and demolition of the Stoneman House in Carroll County, Ohio. The company agreed last month to pay $1.5 million to the Ohio History Connection Foundation in connection with that dispute.
Also last week, residents near Silver Lake in Michigan held a protest against the company's latest move there, which would block the sole drainage point for a wetland area. Homes and a YMCA day camp are nearby.
"This newest development is further evidence that Energy Transfer is ignorant of the geology in the areas in which it is building," said Laura Mebert, an assistant professor of social science at Kettering University in Flint, Michigan.
Energy Transfer Partners got a permit for the planned work from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality several months ago. However, that permit "was granted in error," said Toledo attorney Terry Lodge, who represents pipeline opponents in both Michigan and Ohio. "Neither MDEQ nor Rover apparently understood the watercourse that was going to be affected by the trenching."
When representatives from the state and pipeline company previously visited the area, they "failed to understand that the marshland continues downstream as a narrow creek," Lodge explained. "There is potential for flooding that could harm foundations and other aspects of at least a dozen homes if the elevation of the flood plain is altered."
On July 12 Michigan Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters wrote to FERC, asking for a temporary halt on that part of the work. If the request is granted, it would block the work there for now. But, Lodge noted, the senators' letter itself is not legally binding.
Although the company might argue that concerned parties should have commented on the Silver Lake problem during the public comment period, Lodge believes the neighbors have strong grounds for their complaints.
"Federal courts interpret [the National Environmental Policy Act] to require the lead agency—here, FERC—to conduct an independent investigation of any possible environmentally destructive feature of the project when it is discovered, even at this late state," Lodge explained.
As a practical matter, he added, if the company moves forward before the situation has been addressed fully, there is a prospect for "monetary liability if serious flooding is caused, and interruption of operations of the pipeline if there is a subsequent realignment or other change required."
"Safety remains a top priority to us, and we continue to work closely with FERC on the safe construction of our approved route," Daniel said. "It is always our goal to work closely with affected landowners, governments and the neighboring communities to foster long-term relationships and build the pipeline in the safest, most environmentally friendly manner possible."
Undermining the pipeline
On July 14, the ISKCON New Vrindaban religious community in Moundville, West Virginia drew FERC's attention to yet another potential problem.
The pipeline route had already been changed to avoid sacred areas on the community's property. Project representatives were advised at that time that the alternate area agreed upon was already slated for longwall coal mining this summer, said Gabriel Fried, secretary/treasurer and executive agent for the religious community.
The better practice would be for the Rover Pipeline project to delay that part of the construction for a few weeks after Murray Energy finished undermining, Fried said. That would allow time for subsidence to take place, he noted, adding that he has decades of experience as a former pipe welder.
Leaving the ditch uncovered could allow for correction of obvious problems, Fried said. "But if there's stress on the pipe due to it being undermined, they're not going to know it," he said. "And that means it's an action waiting to happen."
The groups are challenging a new 1,147-acre March 2017 lease sale in Wayne National Forest and adding claims that the federal fracking plans violate the Endangered Species Act, threatening animals in the forest and downstream.
"Federal officials should not be putting corporate profits ahead of endangered species, safe drinking water and public health," Taylor McKinnon with the Center for Biological Diversity, said. "The government is violating its own laws to pave the way for this dangerous fracking plan, and we can't let that happen."
In May four conservation groups sued the federal agencies in U.S. District Court in Columbus for their failure to analyze impacts to public health, water, endangered species and the climate before opening 40,000 acres of the Wayne National Forest to fracking in 2016, and prior to leasing 670 acres of those lands to the oil industry in December.
The expanded lawsuit shows that fracking will threaten endangered mussels downstream from lease parcels, as well as endangered Indiana bats and threatened northern long-eared bats. The bats are already imperiled by forest fragmentation, white-nose syndrome and climate change. Habitat destruction, deadly wastewater pits and water contamination from fracking activities compound these threats.
"The Wayne National Forest is home to many species who can't afford to have their habitat damaged by oil and gas development," said Nathan Johnson, public lands director with the Ohio Environmental Council. "We need to do all we can to protect wildlife that can't protect themselves."
Fracking will industrialize Ohio's only national forest with roads, well pads and gas lines, the lawsuit asserts. In addition to destroying Indiana bat habitat, this infrastructure will pollute watersheds and water supplies that support millions of people, and endanger other federally protected species in the area.
"Fracking our national forest is the last spasm of crony capitalism on the eve of climate chaos," Tabitha Tripp, spokesperson for Heartwood. "Our job is to shepherd some intact habitat through to the other side in the hopes that, while diminished, it will survive and be a refuge for as many resilient species as possible."
In 2014 a well pad caught fire in Monroe County, resulting in the contamination of a creek near the national forest. Wastewater and fracking chemicals spilled into Opossum Creek—an Ohio River tributary—killing 70,000 fish over a five-mile stretch.
"Fracking in Wayne National Forest would be nothing short of disastrous for Ohio's only national forest and the wildlife that depends on it," said Sierra Club staff attorney Elly Benson. "The industrialization and destruction that fracking would bring is the type of activity the forest's protections are meant to safeguard against. The Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management should do their job and protect this wild place, not green-light its destruction."
The Bureau of Land Management intends to lease 40,000 acres of the Wayne National Forest's Marietta Unit, setting up two-thirds of the unit to be auctioned off in upcoming quarterly Bureau of Land Management lease sales.
Conservation groups sued the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Tuesday over plans to permit fracking in Ohio's only national forest, the Wayne National Forest. The lawsuit aims to void BLM leases and halt fracking in the national forest.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Columbus, charges that the agencies failed to analyze threats to public health, endangered species and the climate before auctioning off more than 670 acres of forest land for large-scale, high-volume fracking.
"We're suing to stop this dangerous fracking plan because drinking water safety and public lands should come before corporate profits," said Taylor McKinnon at the Center for Biological Diversity. "The Ohio and Little Muskingum rivers provide precious water to millions of people in Ohio and downstream states. Pollution from fracking would be disastrous for the people who depend on this water."
In the lawsuit, the conservation groups note that the agencies violated the National Environmental Policy Act by approving oil and gas leases without addressing risks to watersheds, public health, climate and endangered species, including Indiana bats.
Fracking will industrialize Ohio's only national forest with roads, well pads and gas lines, the lawsuit asserts. This infrastructure would destroy Indiana bat habitat, pollute watersheds and water supplies that support millions of people, and endanger other federally protected species in the area.
The lawsuit challenges a December 2016 BLM auction of more than 670 acres of public land in the Wayne National Forest's Marietta Unit in southeast Ohio, arguing that the agency relied on outdated plans in approving the leases.
Many of the parcels sold in the most recent lease auctions are near or along these rivers.
"We filed this lawsuit because the Wayne is an important natural resource for all Ohioans," said Nathan Johnson, public lands director for the Ohio Environmental Council. "We won't let the Wayne be trashed by pipelines and frack pads. The law is on our side, and this public forest is worth fighting for."
In 2014 a well pad caught fire in Monroe County, resulting in the contamination of a creek near the national forest. Wastewater and fracking chemicals spilled into Opossum Creek—an Ohio River tributary—killing 70,000 fish over a five-mile stretch.
"The Wayne National Forest is already so small and fragmented, but it's all Ohioans have left," said Tabitha Tripp with Heartwood. "We will fight like hell to protect it and the waters that run through it."
The groups have also filed an appeal with Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke, challenging the most recent March 2017 lease sale. And they've filed two 60-day notices of intent to sue the agencies for violating the Endangered Species Act. The Endangered Species Act claims will be ready for litigation in June.
"There's no escaping the truth about what fracking will do to Wayne National Forest. Quite simply, it will destroy it," said Jen Miller, Ohio Sierra Club director. "Rather than permitting the destruction of our only national forest, we must continue to fuel the transition to clean, renewable energy which protects our wild places and creates jobs here in Ohio."
The BLM intends to lease 40,000 more acres of the Wayne National Forest's Marietta Unit, setting up two-thirds of the unit to be auctioned off in upcoming quarterly BLM lease sales.
Conservation groups filed a notice of intent to sue the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Thursday over invalid and outdated Endangered Species Act approvals of oil and gas leasing plans for the Wayne National Forest.
The Center for Biological Diversity, Ohio Environmental Council, Heartwood and Sierra Club are challenging the approvals for failing to consider the effects of fracking, white-nose syndrome and climate change on the endangered Indiana bat and other protected species threatened with extinction.
"The Indiana bat is already over-stressed by white-nose syndrome and climate change. Summer bat detection rates in Ohio have declined by more than 50 percent since 2011," said Wendy Park, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity. "But instead of protecting this fragile species, the BLM and Forest Service are allowing the razing and pollution of important bat habitat in the Wayne for harmful fracking."
In December 2016 the BLM auctioned 719 acres of public land in the Wayne National Forest's Marietta Unit in southeast Ohio, opening up the forest to large-scale, high-volume fracking of the Marcellus and Utica shales for the first time. The groups' legal challenge aims to void this auction and halt fracking in the Wayne to protect the forest's wildlife and water.
700+ Acres of Ohio's Only National Forest Sold for #Fracking https://t.co/HL089JsgGV @MarkRuffalo @sierraclub @CenterForBioDiv @joshfoxfilm— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1481830937.0
The groups assert fracking would industrialize Ohio's only national forest, increase climate pollution, destroy the Indiana bat's habitat and risk contamination of water supplies that support endangered mussels and local communities.
"Pipelines, well pads and wastewater pits destroy habitat and harm people and wildlife," said Nathan Johnson, an attorney with the Ohio Environmental Council. "These impacts are real. In 2014, a frack pad fire and chemical spill near the Wayne forced the evacuation of local residents and killed tens of thousands of fish and mussels."
The 2014 Monroe County well pad fire resulted in the contamination of a creek near the national forest. Wastewater and fracking chemicals spilled into Opossum Creek—an Ohio River tributary—killing 70,000 fish over a five-mile stretch.
"Fracking the Wayne National Forest in Ohio is like kicking someone when they're down," said Tabitha Tripp of Heartwood. "This land has been overworked for the last 200 years. Are we not rich and wise enough now to let a tiny percentage go wild? Declining species need that. We need that. Instead, we are witness to the betrayal of the public trust and we have no recourse but to sue."
The groups have also filed an appeal with the secretary of the interior to challenge the December 2016 lease sale.
As of 2016, private fracking operators had nominated 18,000 acres of the Wayne National Forest's Marietta Unit for leasing, setting up this land to be auctioned off in upcoming lease sales that BLM conducts quarterly. Another lease auction is scheduled for March 23. BLM is accepting formal "protests" from the public for this proposal to auction over 1,100 acres of the forest until Feb. 13.
"There has been statewide opposition to leasing our only national forest for hydraulic fracturing. Ohio ranks 47th per capita in providing public lands to our state citizens. People do not want to hike near frack pads, smell diesel fuel in a forest or fear that streams and rivers are contaminated," said Loraine McCosker, southeast Ohio resident and co-chair of the Forests and Public Lands Committee of the Sierra Club Ohio Chapter.
"Along with the impact to citizens who depend on our forest to provide clean air and water and recreational lands, this habitat is critical for many endangered and declining species challenged by climate change and other threats. In addition, Ohio is currently receiving great quantities of fracking waste from within Ohio and adjacent states which is then injected into class 2 injection wells. This proposed extraction will increase the waste created thereby increasing this burden."
Ohio Gov. John Kasich vetoed House Bill 554 Tuesday, a bill that would have effectively extended the freeze on the state's clean energy standards.
Ohio's renewable energy and energy efficiency standards have been frozen for the past two years, ever since Gov. Kasich signed SB 310 on June 13, 2014. According to the Environmental Defense Fund, the freeze cost the state its place as a national leader in the clean energy economy by hampering innovation, investment and jobs.
A 2015 survey by Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), a national, nonpartisan group of business owners and investors, showed that job growth in the clean energy sector in Ohio slowed to 1.5 percent, and those firms that did grow had to find business out of state.
"Today Governor Kasich put economic growth over politics ... With the state's renewable and efficiency standards back in place, Ohio can reclaim its spot as a clean energy leader, clearing the way for well-paying jobs, millions in investment and healthier air for all," Dick Munson, director of Midwest Clean Energy for Environmental Defense Fund, said. "Ohioans should cheer—it may be winter, but the clean energy freeze has finally thawed."
4 Reasons Why Gov. Kasich Must Veto Ohio's Energy Bill https://t.co/aP2A3nPK1j @energyaction @RenewablesNews— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1482185408.0
The Ohio General Assembly, lead by lame-duck Republicans in the House and Senate, passed House Bill 554 earlier this month, ignoring Kasich's warning that he would not favor a bill that "went backward on the environment."
"Reinstating these policies means the state can continue to work toward creating jobs and growing the economy, all while reducing harmful global warming emissions to better protect our children, public health and natural resources," Melanie Moore, Midwest field director at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said. "Ohio can now join other states as they charge forward towards a clean energy future for our nation."
The state's original Renewable Portfolio Standard, SB 221, was passed in 2008. It set a target for the state to get 25 percent of its electricity from "advanced energy sources" by 2025, with a requirement that at least half (12.5 percent or more) to be generated from "renewable energy resources," including one-half of one percent from solar and 50 percent of the energy to be generated within the state.
Now, unless Kasich's veto is overridden, Ohio can take advantage of the public health benefits of the clean energy standards. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, in 2017 alone, the standards could prevent 140 premature deaths, 230 heart attacks, 2,230 asthma attacks and 16,900 lost days of work and school.
"I applaud Governor Kasich for showing true leadership and vetoing this bill," Heather Taylor-Miesle, executive director of Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund, said. "HB 554 is a sloppy piece of legislation that could increase electric bills and clog our air with pollution while hampering innovation and job growth. We urge legislators to follow Governor Kasich's lead and allow Ohio's clean energy potential to be unleashed."
According to Ceres, several research reports show Ohio's clean energy policies were bringing money into the state and benefiting consumers before the freeze was put in place in 2014:
- Ohio attracted $1.3 billion in private clean energy investment from 2009 to 2013 and was projected to generate an additional $3 billion over the next ten years, according to Pew.
- Electricity customers were saving hundreds of millions of dollars each year on their bills and were on track to save over $5 billion cumulatively by 2020.
- Investments in Ohio's clean energy sector created thousands of new jobs and stimulated over $160 million in annual GDP growth.
- Ohio's wind industry lost more than 1,400 jobs last year, according to the report by the Clean Energy Trust and Environmental Entrepreneurs.
"Policies that encourage clean energy investment are on the rise in many U.S. states because they make strong business sense," Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres, said. "By allowing Ohio's clean energy standards to come back online, Governor Kasich joins other Midwest states—including Michigan and Illinois—that recently passed laws strengthening renewable energy and energy efficiency efforts, which will stimulate private investment, economic growth and new jobs."
Geoff Greenfield, president of Third Sun Solar, agrees. "This anti solar legislation was more about protecting the old-fashioned energy industry than about economic development and competition. We are thrilled Governor Kasich decided to move past the bill's shortsighted views on energy policy and position Ohio to participate in solar, the nation's fastest growing energy segment."
By Samantha Williams
Now that Ohio's Senate and House have sent an ideologically-driven bill, HB 554, to Gov. John Kasich's desk that would further delay implementation of the state's popular clean energy standards (and weaken them, too), the governor has until Dec. 28 to do the smart thing for his state's economy and the wellbeing of Ohioans: Veto it.
Will Gov. #Kasich Save #Ohio's #CleanEnergy Economy? https://t.co/qnanXt5x2X @cleantechfacts @OhioEnviro @EnvDefenseFund @mzjacobson @e2org— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1481391522.0
That's what Ohio citizens (including conservatives) and the businesses that employ them overwhelmingly want, including national players like Nestle, Campbell's Soup, the Gap and the world's largest manufacturer of energy efficient appliances, Whirlpool.
There are many good reasons why businesses are weighing in. The clean energy standards—which were frozen two years ago in another ill-advised legislative attempt to delay progress, and will resume on Jan. 1 if Gov. Kasich vetoes this bill—mean more good jobs for residents. They also represent a draw for the growing number of employers who want to locate their companies in states where they can readily achieve their own corporate sustainability goals.
The standards have also succeeded (and will continue if they're allowed to reinstate) in lowering energy bills for residents and businesses, factories, and farms. They ensure Ohio's kids cleaner air to breathe. They improve public health. And, of course, they're a vital hedge against dangerous climate change.
Over the last year, Gov. Kasich has promised, admirably, "I'll veto the bill," calling any further delays in implementing the clean energy standard "unacceptable." Now, he has the opportunity to show Ohioans—and Americans as a whole—just what leadership looks like, demonstrating not just backbone but a smart head on his shoulders. After all, he'll signal to the growing number of businesses that want clean energy that they can find it in Ohio, not just in Michigan and Illinois, two neighboring states led by Republican governors that have recently upped the ante on their own clean energy standards.
Wake Up #Ohio Lawmakers and Unfreeze Your #RenewableEnergy Standards https://t.co/5eI5OhTIYR @NRDC @OhioEnviro @NextGenClimate @mzjacobson— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1477518759.0
To help you understand just how successful the clean energy standards have been in Ohio, and the potential if the freeze is thawed, let's run the numbers:
100,000 clean energy jobs: That's how many Ohio has now. Buckeyes, for instance, already lead the nation in wind power component manufacturing, with more than 60 factories across the state. But since the standards were put on hold two years ago, they've sold far fewer products within Ohio. The freeze (and other wind-power restrictions the legislature imposed) have put an end to most Ohio-based projects. Then there's First Solar, which employs 1,200 in the Toledo area. The company told legislators in testimony last month that if HB 554 becomes law, "it would take a hard look at staying in Ohio." Should Gov. Kasich veto HB 554, and the standard becomes reinstated, the opposite is possible. Not only might First Solar stay put, but the state will have the opportunity to retain, and even grow, the clean energy jobs that already exist in fields as wide-ranging as insulation manufacturing, solar component parts development, and light bulb design.
112 businesses: Businesses want certainty, so they know how to plan for their future. HB 554, which will delay the standard for two more years and then open it up again for reinstatement, offers the opposite. Take it from Worthington's Republican Representative Mike Duffy in his comments during debate on the bill. "More uncertainty. More legislation. Not a lot to like," he's said.
Not only that: In 2016, 17 U.S. companies with combined revenues of more than $826 billion, including Apple, General Motors, and Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble, pledged to get all of their electricity from renewable sources. More are lining up to join them, and they want to site their facilities near clean energy projects. They want the energy-bill savings that wind, solar power and energy efficiency provide, and the future hedge against the volatility of natural gas prices. That's why 112 Ohio businesses opposed the bill and support the veto, dozens of which came out to testify in legislative committees urging a thaw to the clean energy freeze.
14 Republican lawmakers: A growing contingent of Republicans, both inside and outside of the legislature, support clean energy for Ohio.
In total, 14 GOP legislators opposed the bill—nine in the House of Representatives (Arndt, Boose, Burkley, Dean, Duffey, Grossman, Hall, Reineke, Thompson) and five in the Senate (Hite, Gardner, Beagle, Manning, and LaRose.) Senator Hite even went so far as to call wind turbines "beautiful." Many of these legislators have clean energy projects and employers in their districts. And, together, they're enough to stop a veto override.
140 premature deaths: The public health benefits of the clean energy standards are enormous. In 2017 alone, the standards can prevent 140 premature deaths, 230 heart attacks, 2,230 asthma attacks and 16,900 lost days of work and school. By 2029, if Gov. Kasich vetoes HB 554, the clean energy standards stand to prevent 2,820 premature deaths among neighbors, families and friends in Ohio.
So we call on the governor to be, literally, a lifesaver, a job creator, an energy-bill-savings-promoter and a greenhouse gas pollution fighter.
As is especially important now, with President-elect Trump and his appointees promising to gut the country's clean energy policies and programs, Gov. Kasich can be a smart and important leader when we need one most.
Veto the bill, governor!
According to the Associated Press, oil and gas companies from Texas, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Colorado and Oklahoma forked over $1.7 million for the right to explore parts of Wayne National Forest for drilling operations. Lessees still need to obtain a permit before any drilling can start.
The online auction took place on Dec. 13 with the minimum acceptable bid for as little as $2 per acre. The
Columbus Dispatch reported that offers made by the 22 registered bidders ranged from the $2 minimum to a high of $5,806.12 per acre.
Opponents of the federal auction, cited concerns over public health impacts and effects on air and water quality, and submitted more than 17,000 comments to the BLM during its 30-day comment period.
Rise of Fracking Wastewater Injections in Ohio Sparks Fears of Earthquakes, Water Contamination https://t.co/hXGv3uIIRe @DontFrackNY @ukycc— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1457485341.0
"Public lands are for the people, not for the benefit of Big Oil and Gas," Lena Moffitt, director of the Sierra Club's Beyond Dirty Fuels campaign, said in a statement last month. "Drilling for oil and gas means more fracking, and fracking means poisoning our air and water, and threatening the health of our communities and our environment. At a time when clean energy like solar and wind is proving to be safest, healthiest and most cost-effective way to power our country, it's high time we recognized that we need to leave dirty fuels like coal, oil and gas in the ground."
The BLM reportedly received 100 "valid" complaints but they were all denied by the agency on Monday and the auction moved forward.
Nathan Johnson, an Ohio Environmental Council attorney who helped file a protest on behalf of conservation groups, told the Dispatch that the BLM failed to address new information about the size of well pads and pipelines that come with large-scale fracking projects.
"Once they've made the decision to lease, that's the ballgame for them," he said.
Feds to Auction Off Ohio's Only National Forest to #Fracking https://t.co/ursmUIzujN @MarkRuffalo @joshfoxfilm @FrackAction @NoFrackOhio— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1478104592.0
The protest letter also states that the BLM did not adequately address the potential impacts from the oil and gas leasing on threatened or endangered species, including the Indiana bat, northern long-eared bat, fanshell, pink mucket pearly mussel, sheepnose mussel and snuffbox mussel.
"The government's plan is remarkably shortsighted in its failure to consider the full extent of fracking and wastewater disposal that could occur throughout the forest," Wendy Park, a senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, said. "Water quality and wildlife will suffer regardless of where these activities occur."
Just this week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its widely anticipated final report on fracking confirming that the controversial drilling process does impact drinking water. The report is a stunning reversal of its misleading draft assessment that stated fracking has not led to "widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources."
Final @EPA Study Confirms #Fracking Contaminates Drinking Water https://t.co/8J118OT1Nw @MarkRuffalo @joshfoxfilm @Earthworks @FrackAction— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1481660493.0
In addition to allowing fracking on public lands, Ohio lawmakers passed House Bill 554 last week, which will freeze renewable energy mandates for another two years if Gov. John Kasich signs the bill. More than 25,000 clean energy jobs are at risk.
A two-year freeze was enacted when
Gov. Kasich signed SB 310 on June 13, 2014. HB 554 now seeks to extend that freeze, making renewable energy targets voluntary for utilities. Ohio is the only state in the nation that has frozen its renewable energy mandates.
In the final hours of Ohio's lame-duck session, lawmakers passed House Bill 554 late Thursday night, which will freeze clean energy mandates for another two years if Gov. John Kasich signs the bill. More than 25,000 jobs could be at risk.
The state's original Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), SB 221, was passed in 2008. It set a target for the state to get 25 percent of its electricity from "advanced energy sources" by 2025, with a requirement that at least half (12.5 percent or more) would be generated from "renewable energy resources," including one-half of one percent from solar and 50 percent of the energy to be generated within the state.
A two-year freeze was enacted when Gov. Kasich signed SB 310 on June 13, 2014. HB 554 now seeks to extend that freeze, making renewable energy targets voluntary for utilities. Ohio is the only state in the nation that has frozen its RPS. To date, 38 states have adopted RPS targets.
Wake Up Ohio Lawmakers and Unfreeze Your Renewable Energy Standards https://t.co/B5xPMrIVzU @BusinessGreen @GreenCollarGuy— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1477613710.0
"Ohio's renewable energy and energy efficiency standards have been frozen for the past two years, costing the state its place as a national leader in the clean energy economy by hampering energy innovation, investment, and jobs," said Dick Munson, Midwest clean energy director for Environmental Defense Fund. "Before the freeze, these standards saved families money and brought huge investments into the state, supporting more than 25,000 jobs, saving Ohioans over $1 billion on their electricity bills, and slashing the Buckeye State's air pollution."
A 2015 survey by Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), a national, nonpartisan group of business owners and investors, showed that job growth in the clean energy sector in Ohio slowed to just 1.5 percent following implementation of the freeze in 2014. Moreover, those firms that did grow had to find business out of state.
"Investments in renewable energy in Ohio have dried up," stated the E2 report. "Solar development has ground to a halt, with new solar resources dropping below 100 kW per month when industry averages for the six months prior stood at 1 MW or more per month."
One example is First Solar. The company employs 1,200 people in Ohio and spends $100 million a month on its production and research labs in the Toledo area, according to testimony by its director of regulatory affairs Colin Meehan. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that the company would "take a hard look at staying in Ohio" if HB 554 were enacted.
A manufacturing associate at work in First Solar's Perrysburg, Ohio plant.Source: First Solar
Nationally, renewable energy grew to 16.4 percent of total installed capacity in 2015. Job creation in the solar sector grew 12 times faster than overall job creation. The green workforce in the U.S. now numbers 2.5 million.
"The Ohio House of Representatives did a great disservice to the people of Ohio," said Trish Demeter at the Ohio Environmental Council. "This rushed and sloppy legislation will have untold impacts on electric bills, result in dirtier air, and stifle economic innovation and job growth."
"Newly published emails confirm the influence of utility and industry lobbyists on 2015's controversial Energy Mandates Study Committee report, which recommended an extension of the freeze on Ohio's clean energy standards," said Dave Anderson, policy and communications manager for the Energy and Policy Institute. The emails were obtained from state legislators by the Energy and Policy Institute via a public information request, and were not available publicly before now.
"In one August 18, 2015 email addressed to several Republican state policymakers and 10 industry lobbyists, Ohio Senator Bill Seitz suggested that 'we should be meeting as a small group to figure out what that report is going to say.' The following month, the Energy Mandates Study Committee that Seitz referenced in his email issued a contentious report that recommended extending the freeze on Ohio's clean energy standards indefinitely.
"Seitz's email went to lobbyists for American Electric Power, Dayton Power & Light, Duke Energy, and FirstEnergy, as well to Samuel Randazzo, a lobbyist for the Industrial Energy Users of Ohio and anti-wind attorney."
Source: Energy and Policy Institute
Seitz is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the Koch brothers-backed group that supplies corporate-friendly model bills to state legislators. In 2012, ALEC joined with the Heartland Institute, a think tank described by DeSmogBlog as "at the forefront of denying the scientific evidence for man-made climate change," to write model legislation aimed at repealing renewable energy standards across the country.
Prior to the 2014 freeze on Ohio's renewable energy portfolio standard, emails show a trail of energy industry lobbyists working with Seitz.
The question now is whether Gov. Kasich will sign or veto HB 554.
Changes to HB 554 are accepted 55-34. It now goes to Gov. Kasich for approval #OhioHouseSession https://t.co/qwP3P1TP8D— Ohio House GOP (@Ohio House GOP)1481266001.0
In response to a reporter's question on Nov. 30, Kasich said, "I just would hope the legislature will not have a headline that Ohio went backward on the environment." But he did not say that he would veto the bill.
During the governor's aborted presidential campaign, he took an "all sources" approach to energy supply and said that he would approve the Keystone XL pipeline. He also touted his job creation in Ohio without mentioning that many of those came from the clean energy sector. The Environmental Entrepreneurs report numbers Ohio clean energy jobs at 89,000 from 7,200 businesses.
If he does veto HB 554, it's questionable whether the legislators could override it. Most, but not all, Republicans voted for the bill.
"Today, Ohio lawmakers decided to significantly stall the state's clean energy efforts, putting politics over economic growth. The governor should continue the leadership he has demonstrated and reject this harmful legislation, so Ohio can get back to work building its clean energy economy, opening the door to well-paying jobs and millions in investment," Munson said.
"Governor Kasich has an opportunity to show that Ohio's energy policy is not for sale to utility lobbyists by vetoing HB 554 and unfreezing clean energy in the Buckeye State," Anderson concluded.
The Ohio EPA finalized its general permit for production operations at shale gas well sites. The Ohio Environmental Council, Buckeye Forest Council, and Center for Health, Environment and Justice are calling for further protections for health and environment.
"The Agency seemed to forget there are two other phases of oil and gas operations," states Nathan Johnson of Buckeye Forest Council. "The drilling/fracturing and completion phases have been ignored. Left unchecked, these phases will put tons of harmful air pollutants into our communities."
The groups also state that it is not uncommon for the drilling/fracturing phase to use nearly 30,000 gallons of fuel in a two-week time frame.
"That 1980s-era construction vehicle could stay in one county for weeks or months at a time, burping out dangerous pollution," states David R. Celebrezze of Ohio Environmental Council. "It may be considered 'temporary,' but the health impacts of diesel pollution can be life-long."
Medical researchers have linked diesel pollution to asthma attacks, painful breathing, heart and lung disease, cancer and early death.
"These oil and gas operations have a responsibility to the local community to use all technologies to reduce every aspect of air pollution from each phase," states Teresa Mills of Center for Health, Environment and Justice. "If they do not install best emissions reduction technology, it tells us they prioritize making money over the health of our communities."
Although it is difficult to gauge the exact amount of pollution that will be generated as a result of oil and gas operations in regard to the Marcellus and Utica Shales, the groups calculated emissions from existing operations in West Virginia and Pennsylvania that are drilling in the Marcellus Shale.
Phases not covered under the General Permit include the drilling/fracturing phase and the completion phase.
Drilling phase (range)*
PM: 80lbs-680 lbs
NOx: 1.4 tons
VOCs: .06 tons (120 lbs)
PM: .05 tons (89 pounds)
NOx: 2.26 tons (4,512 pounds)
VOCs: 2.51 tons (5,011 pounds)
PM: .29 tons (571 pounds)
*emissions amounts depend on the type of diesel engines being used [tier 0 (dirtiest) to tier 4 (cleanest)]. There is nothing that prevents a contractor from using 30 or 40 year old, inefficient, highly polluting diesel engines on an oil and gas operations.
A general permit improves the efficiency of the permitting process by setting out all of the terms and conditions in advance. However, environmental and community groups have serious concerns with the local implications of this general permit.
"This general permit short-circuits the public input on these operations," states Mills. "If a large operation comes to your community and they already have a general permit, you have little recourse but to get a gas-mask and hold on for the ride."
According to the Ohio EPA "a summary of the potential emissions expected from this source is as follows:
Generally, the groups are praising the Ohio EPA for being proactive in regulating the production phase of oil/gas operations. The groups credit the agency for requiring frequent inspections of unpaved roads to ensure dust emissions are kept to a minimum.
Additionally, they compliment Ohio EPA for revising a section of the permit to include limitations on the total volume of material to be stored rather than limiting the size of the tanks (which would have allowed a loophole for industry to exploit).
Another positive point: the General Permit does require at least tier 3 engine standards for engines installed at the production facility. Tier 3 engines have a 71 percent reduction in PM and 53 percent reduction in NOx compared to tier 0 engines.
As the Ohio EPA moves forward with these rules, the groups encourage the Agency to stringently track air emissions for all three phases and revisit this permit in one year.
The mission of the Ohio Environmental Council (OEC) is to secure healthy air, land, and water for all who call Ohio home. The OEC is Ohio's leading advocate for fresh air, clean water, and sustainable land use. The OEC has a 40-year history of innovation, pragmatism, and success. Using legislative initiatives, legal action, scientific principles, and statewide partnerships, the OEC secures a healthier environment for Ohio's families and communities.
by Kristy Meyer
Some decision-makers apparently need a refresher course on clean water.
From the mid-1800’s to the late 1960’s, many rivers around the U.S. caught on fire, including Ohio’s mighty Cuyahoga River. The cause? Uncontrolled dumping of pollution.
In the 1930’s, algal blooms became a nuisance in the Great Lakes. A 1953 report by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources concluded that “long periods of pollution barriers to fish existed in the form of toxic material or deficient oxygen.” In the 1960’s and 1970’s, scientists declared Lake Erie to be biologically “dead.” As a result, Congress and the U.S. and Canada passed two historic pieces of legislation—the federal Clean Water Act and the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.
Our lakes and rivers rebounded. People flocked to Lake Erie and other waterways to fish, swim and boat. Small businesses dependent on the fishery and water-based recreation flourished. The number of coastal marine businesses along Lake Erie’s coast has more than doubled from 207 in 1977 to 425 today. In 1975, there were 34 charter boat captains. Today, there are about 800 of these small business owners.
Take home message? Clean water is part of the equation that yields good jobs and recreation.
Today, many decision-makers in Congress want to gut the Clean Water Act. They want to stop any federal agency from protecting our waterways from increased pollution. These politicians claim they are acting in the name of jobs and the economy. They apparently think that clean water strangles jobs and recreation.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, nearly 90 percent of Ohio’s population receives its drinking water from small and/or seasonal streams. Yet Congress is threatening to strip these streams of protections that have existed for 40 years under the Clean Water Act. If Congress abandons these streams, it will leave them vulnerable to being filled and polluted.
Some of our nation’s leaders actually think that Americans should chose between their family’s health and the health of our economy. As a trained scientist, I know that life itself depends on clean air and water. As a co-breadwinner, I know that my husband and children depend on a thriving economy. And as a mother, I am not willing to sacrifice either the environment or the economy.
Since the passage of the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act, people are living healthier and longer lives, in part because of these very regulations. Congress, however, has placed our drinking water, our health, and our economy in their crosshairs with the passage of such bad pieces of legislation as the Dirty Water Bill (the Barrasso-Heller amendment, H.R. 2354), which the Senate is now considering.
At a time when Lake Erie and Grand Lake St. Marys is grappling with toxic algal blooms rivaling those of the 70’s, Congress should not be rolling back protections for our waterways that provide drinking water, food, and jobs to millions of Ohioans. President Barack Obama should swiftly restore Clean Water Act protections to our streams, rivers and lakes. His administration has started the guidance and rule-making of what waterways are legally considered waters of the U.S. and afforded Clean Water Act protections. But big-money polluters and their friends in Congress are now trying to stand in the way.
Now is the time for concerned citizens to raise their voice. Don’t wait until you can no longer fish or swim in your favorite fishing hole. Contact your Senators today and tell them to vote no on the Dirty Water bill, before it’s too late.