Some of the people who spoke at last night’s Cincinnati aggregation hearing posed on the steps of city hall. In attendance were members of Leaders for Environmental Awareness and Protection (LEAP) from the University of Cincinnati, Occupy Cincinnati, Greenpeace, Ohio Citizen Action, Ecovillage, Sierra Club and many others. Photo: Joe Smyth, Greenpeace
CINCINNATI — On Election Day last November, Cincinnati voters overwhelmingly approved Issues 44 and 45, authorizing the city to negotiate group buying rates for electricity and natural gas — and provide savings to residents and small businesses. The process requires the city to hold two public hearings on the plan.
Last night was the first of two public hearings on aggregation in Cincinnati. There were 67 people in the audience, and 30 people gave testimony. Those who testified were overwhelmingly supportive of 100% renewable energy being a top priority for Cincinnati’s electric contract. Others also spoke out against natural gas that has been extracted by the method of hydrofracking.
The second public hearing will be held Monday, February 6 at 1 p.m. in Council Chambers at Cincinnati City Hall. I encourage everyone to come and speak out for cleaner and cheaper energy in Ohio on Monday.
Cuyahoga County recycling rates, from Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District's 2010 annual report.
CLEVELAND – The Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District tracks how much garbage gets thrown away every year, including what goes to landfills and what gets composted or recycled. The most recent year reported is 2010. The county as a whole recycled 27.93% of its waste. The City of Cleveland recycled just 11.23% of its waste.
The City of Cleveland has set a goal of recycling “up to 25%” of its garbage, as part of its plan to build a new incinerator. In 2010, 38 of the 59, or 64% of communities in Cuyahoga County recycled more than that. Cities surrounding Cleveland have much better recycling rates: Lakewood – 48.02%, Independence – 56.64%, Lyndhurst – 47.25, and Solon – 42.11%, show that greater Cleveland can recycle much of their waste. Cleveland should follow their lead.
The closure of the Bay Shore Power Plant could restore the fish population. / WNWO newsfile
TOLEDO — “Environmentalists and charter fishing captains expect Lake Erie’s fish population to climb with the closing of coal-burning units at a Ohio power plant near the mouth of the lake’s biggest tributary.
The plant, which is being shut down by its operator because of new air pollution rules, sucks in billions of gallons of water each year and kills millions of fish near some of the lake’s most popular fishing spots.
Environmental groups have said for years that the fish kills have contributed to declining levels of both yellow perch and walleye, two prized fish that draw anglers from around the Midwest. The groups have tried to force the plant’s owner, Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp., to install costly changes that would stop millions of fish from being killed each year.
But last week, FirstEnergy announced it was shutting down six older, coal-fired power plants, including one that sits along the Maumee River near Toledo. The plant cools its machinery with water from the river, which also is a prime spot for spawning walleye.
Drawing out the water kills 46 million adult fish each year, many of which were less desirable fish, but would have gone into the lake’s food chain. The toll includes millions more fish eggs and tiny fish in their larval form. ‘Now those numbers will be way down,’ said Sandy Bihn, who leads a group called the Western Lake Erie Waterkeeper Association.”
CLEVELAND — “As opponents of Cleveland’s proposed gasification plant took their protest to city hall Monday night, one city councilman predicted the project won’t happen.
‘I predict tonight that this is never going to happen,’ Ward 14 Councilman Brian Cummins said, ‘because of the financing, but the more people learn about this, the more they’re against the pollution. People don’t want to be polluted anymore.’”
Protestors at the West Side Market Saturday, January 28.
WHERE: Front steps of Cleveland City Hall, 601 Lakeside Ave, Cleveland
WHEN: Monday, January 30, Press conference will begin at 6:30 p.m. People will gather with signs at 6:15 p.m. (City Council meeting begins at 7 p.m.)
WHO: Neighbors of the proposed incinerator, leaders of Cleveland’s major environmental and public health organizations and Councilman Brian Cummins.
WHY: Cleveland Public Power is proposing to build a garbage incinerator at the Ridge Road transfer station. The incinerator would be a significant new source of air pollution for soot, lead, mercury, dioxin, and other chemicals.
The City of Cleveland has already spent or pledged more than $1.5 million on its plans to build the garbage incinerator, without investigating alternatives such as a stronger recycling program, composting, or resource recovery. Cleveland Public Power is now asking city council to approve another $250,000 to pursue the incinerator project.
Sandy Bihn of the Western Lake Erie Waterkeeper Association
OREGON — Sandy Bihn, Executive Director of Lake Erie Waterkeeper, has lived on the shores of the Maumee Bay since 1987. She has devoted her life to protecting the lake, and the people who depend on the lake for their livelihoods, recreation and drinking water.
Sandy’s persistent investigation of the causes of the decline in the fish population in Lake Erie led her to prove that FirstEnergy’s Bay Shore power plant is “a massive fish-killing machine”. Bay Shore’s intake system kills 46 million adult fish each year and 2.1 billion juvenile fish, fish eggs, and larvae sucked into the plant, including 14 million walleye larvae and 4 million yellow perch larvae.
An economic loss study conducted in 2010 estimates that Bay Shore’s fish kills cost the local fishing economy $29.7 million annually. Western Lake Erie is the heart of the fishing industry in Ohio.
Last week, when FirstEnergy announced that they will permanently close all but one unit of the Bay Shore plant by September 1, 2012, Sandy was able to explain to her grandsons that, when the plant closes most of its units and reduces water use, they will be able to walk the shoreline and catch more fish from their dock. “They looked up at me in wonderment,” Sandy says, “it’s a moment I’ll never forget.”
CINCINNATI — “Cincinnati City Council will hold the first of two public hearings tonight on the city’s plan to form buying pools to seek lower electric and gas rates for residents.
The hearing before council’s Budget and Finance Committee will be held at 6 p.m. at city hall. A second hearing will be held Feb. 6 at 1 p.m. at city hall.
In November, city voters approved Issues 44 and 45 authorizing the city to negotiate group buying rates for electric and gas. The proposals were authorized under Ohio’s 10-year-old utility deregulation law, allowing municipalities and other organizations to combine, or aggregate, their purchasing power to seek better rates.
More than 300 municipalities across Ohio has since approved aggregation plans including some of the area’s largest townships such as Green, Springfield and West Chester in Butler County.
‘We have a tremendous opportunity to negotiate savings and put real money back in the pockets of city residents, so that we can enjoy the benefits of competition that other communities in the region have seen,’ said Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls, who sponsored ordinances to put both measures on the ballot.”
AKRON — “What deserves emphasis is the reason behind the closings, the Clean Air Act placing the national priority on public health. Mercury is a neurotoxin, science revealing its capacity to cause developmental problems for children, not to mention contributing, along with other toxic pollutants, to heart disease, asthma, cancer and premature death. More, emissions fall to the ground, and carried by rain and snow flow into rivers and lakes, even attaching to the food chain.
For years, federal officials have had the task of curbing mercury pollution. George W. Bush attempted to implement rules, but they were found insufficient by the courts. In that way, the effort of the Obama White House comes as no surprise, the Environmental Protection Agency finally issuing rules that reflect the mandate of the law.
The cry quickly sounded about the excessive cost, especially in a fragile economy. What the critics push aside are the far greater benefits, long the outcome of such environmental legislation. The EPA calculates that the mercury rules will prevent 11,000 premature deaths and 4,700 heart attacks per year. They will reduce childhood asthma cases by 130,000 and result in fewer hospital visits and fewer missed days at school and work.
The agency projects that an estimated $11 billion in implementation costs will translate into $37 billion to $90 billion in benefits by 2016.”
CLEVELAND — “The EPA should be more deliberative in rolling out regulations that disproportionately affect coal states, with adjustment assistance to the communities most affected.
The EPA’s draft rules on the temperature of water discharges by power plants are expected by the end of the summer, with final rules on fly ash and cinders by the end of the year, said Ray Evans, director of FirstEnergy’s environmental department. FirstEnergy officials said the company is looking at whether other plants will have to be shut down, although they didn’t identify which ones might be vulnerable.
Even if PJM Interconnection, the regional transmission organization to which FirstEnergy belongs, decides that FirstEnergy must build a plant or keep one of the six plants open to protect the grid, the decision still won’t save all of the jobs.
The feds have to find a way to make achieving clean air hurt a lot less.”
Chinese parents with children suffering from respiratory ailments, possibly caused by air pollution, flock to the Capital Institute of Pediatrics in Beijing.
BEIJING, CHINA — “Weary of waiting for the authorities to alert residents to the city’s most pernicious air pollutant, citizen activists last May took matters here into their own hands: they bought their own $4,000 air-quality monitor and posted its daily readings on the Internet.
That began a chain reaction. Volunteers in Shanghai and Guangzhou purchased monitors in December, followed by citizens in Wenzhou, who are selling oranges to finance their device. Wenzhou donated $50 to volunteers in Wuhan, 140 miles inland. Officials have claimed for years that the air quality in fast-growing China is constantly improving. Beijing, for example, was said to have experienced a record 274 ‘blue sky’ days in 2011, a statistic belied by the heavy smog smothering the city for much of the year.
But faced with an Internet-led brush fire of criticism, the edifice of environmental propaganda is collapsing. The government recently reversed course and began to track the most pernicious measure of urban air pollution — particulates 2.5 microns in diameter or less, or PM 2.5. It decreed that about 30 major cities must begin monitoring the particulates this year, followed by about 80 more next year.
The Ministry of Environmental Protection also promised to set health standards for such fine particulates “as soon as possible.” Last week, after years of concealing its data on such pollutants, Beijing began publishing hourly readings from one monitoring station.”
TOLEDO — “FirstEnergy Corp. says it will close by Sept. 1 the three oldest and most-polluting units at its Bay Shore power plant in Oregon. It’s time.
Bay Shore is not primarily a victim of new anti-pollution rules, as the utility asserts. Instead, its poor planning and lack of vision date to 1955, when the largely coal-fired plant opened.
The plant provided decades of stable local employment, but too often at the expense of Ohio’s greatest natural asset, Lake Erie. Although the closures will cost 80 of Bay Shore’s 153 remaining employees their jobs, FirstEnergy says 57 of them qualify for the company’s most-generous severance package.
Last year, the Obama Administration imposed a new rule on mercury emissions, a long-overdue measure that, FirstEnergy says, doomed Bay Shore because of enormous compliance costs. The utility also is closing five other small and mid-sized facilities; with Bay Shore, they generate 10 percent of the company’s energy and are used mostly on a seasonal basis.
Bay Shore’s problems began with its site in the Great Lakes region’s most productive area for spawning fish — a narrow intake canal where the Maumee River meets Lake Erie’s Maumee Bay. Built before modern anti-pollution laws took effect in the 1970s, Bay Shore killed 46 million adult and 14 million juvenile fish annually for years — more than all other Ohio power plants combined.
That was lethal to the Great Lakes region’s $7 billion fishery, which generates $1 billion a year for Ohio’s economy. Despite protests by elected officials, regulators, and scientists, FirstEnergy never solved Bay Shore’s fish-kill problem.
…Bay Shore has operated on borrowed time for years. No single policy is responsible for the closures there. Advances in science and technology, and a greater understanding of how pollution affects public health, also have contributed.
Utilities such as FirstEnergy must embrace those advances, or wait for their aging facilities to be replaced by cleaner sources of energy.
CLEVELAND — “Extending the time for comments, questions and study of the Cleveland plan to build a gasification plant at Ridge Road is the right thing to do.
This new technology, which would be a first in the nation on this scale, is touted as clean source of energy. The plant would not directly burn garbage but would heat garbage after recyclable material is removed. Steam yielded in the process would fuel turbines and create electricity. Proponents see it as a clean, cheaper alternative to dumping trash in a landfill.
Skeptics and opponents, including environmental groups and U.S. Rep Dennis Kucinich (D-10), question the risks to nearby residents of releasing toxic pollutants into the air, including nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, lead, cadmium, arsenic, chromium and mercury, among others.
Brooklyn residents in particular want answers about these emissions, not to mention the increased truck traffic it will see if the project goes forward. Kucinich has promised to keep a close eye on this initiative and has sought a briefing from the federal Environmental Protection Agency on the technology.
Environmentally sustainable energy initiatives and experimental technologies to support them should be part of our future. But Cleveland’s neighbors deserve to be heard and to have their questions answered on this latest initiative that could have a profound effect on their communities.
Extending the time frame for public meetings is necessary before any further action is taken on approvals, funding or construction plans for this major project, which would have a huge impact on Cleveland residents as well as their neighbors.”
West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin with President Barack Obama in 2011.
LAS VEGAS, NV — Yesterday, President Barack Obama followed up his State of the Union speech with a trip to Las Vegas for a speech called “American-Made Energy.”
In his hour-long State of the Union speech, Obama had pointedly avoided saying the word “coal.” The next day, the White House issued a booklet called, “Blueprint for an America Built to Last”, which contained one passing reference to coal. On page 7, the booklet refers to “clean sources” of energy, and lists “renewable energy sources like wind, solar, biomass, hydropower, nuclear power, efficient natural gas, and clean coal.”
The Las Vegas speech, focusing on energy, was another chance for Obama to mollify coal interests. Instead, his speech addressed oil and natural gas, and again did not use the word “coal.”
— Paul Ryder, Ohio Citizen Action
January 27th, 2012 | Category: Coal, Energy | Comments are closed
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. EPA is considering stronger pollution limits on the toxic air pollutants from manganese refinery Eramet Marietta Incorporated and similar sources. These emissions include manganese, lead, hydrochloric acid, mercury, nickel, arsenic, chromium, and others. The U.S. EPA has recognized that these pollutants create a high health risk for people who live within 50 km of the Eramet plant, including cancer and chronic central nervous system damage. The U.S. EPA estimates its proposal would reduce lifetime cancer risk based on actual emissions by 94%, reduce the risk of chronic effects to the nervous system by 98%, and reduce the acute health risk by 97%. This agency rule review comes after Sierra Club and legal group Earthjustice brought a lawsuit for failure to review the rule on a previously established schedule. Under the leadership of Administrator Lisa Jackson, the U.S. EPA agreed to review, propose and finalize a rule by June 2012. If approved, the new rules would go into effect by June of 2014. The public is invited to comment on the proposed rule change.
All comments must be submitted no later than this Tuesday, January 31, 2012.
Letters to Senator Sherrod Brown and Senator Rob Portman
6,615 members have sent handwritten letters and petitions to Senator Brown urging him to support US EPA rules that will protect our health from polluting coal plants as of January 24, 2012.
3,751 members have petitioned Senator Portman urging him to support US EPA rules that will protect our health from polluting coal plants as of January 24, 2012.
Please feel free to redistribute content from this website, citing Ohio Citizen Action. Powered by WordPress & Atahualpa