Past Accomplishments

42 Years of Door-to-Door Democracy

Update: 2016 accomplishments

Protecting public health and the environment

Preventing pollution

1982-86: Ohio Citizen Action leads the campaigns to pass the landmark toxic chemical right to know laws in Cincinnati, Akron, and Cleveland, and then plays a key role in shaping the federal Right to Know law enacted by Congress.

1998 – 2008: Ohio Citizen Action pioneers “good neighbor campaigns” around the state, helping Ohioans win key investments in pollution prevention from major corporations, including:

  • Eramet Marietta’s pledge to invest $150 million to upgrade its facility and significantly reduce airborne manganese emissions and odors.
  • AK Steel’s decision to invest $66 million in new pollution control equipment at their huge steel mill in Middletown.
  • Rohm and Haas’ decision to eliminate 90% of their cancer-causing emissions and their on-going commitment to community involvement.
  • Brush Wellman’s implementation of safety measures to prevent workplace and community exposures to dangerous beryllium dust.
  • Sunoco’s commitment to spend $100 million to prevent emissions of sulfur dioxide and other pollutants from their Toledo refinery.
  • Good neighbor campaigns at Lanxess Corporation, Cincinnati Specialties, Columbus Steel Drum, Shelly Asphalt

1995-2008: Ohio Citizen Action leads successful campaigns to prevent the siting of harmful solid waste incinerators in Montgomery County and helps pass landmark groundwater protection laws there, prevents a new “tire-melting” plant in Columbus, helps shut down the environmental outlaw General Environmental Management facility in Cleveland, helps prevent Perma-Fix corporation from burning deadly nerve gas in Dayton, and forces the River Valley High School in Marion to relocate from a hazardous waste dump.

Laura Rench, Michelle Cooper, Jane Forrest Redfern and Mary Johnson celebrate after a united community campaign forced the U.S. Army to abandon its plan to treat VX nerve agent hydrolysate in Dayton. (Jan Underwood, Dayton Daily News)

2006: Ohio Citizen Action publishes “Good Neighbor Campaign Handbook: How to Win”

Challenging Ohio’s dependence on dirty coal

2007: Ohio Citizen Action, working with national environmental groups, Northeast states, and the U.S. EPA, settles the landmark lawsuit known as “Ohio Citizen Action et. al. v. AEP,” where American Electric Power agrees to spend $4 billion to invest in pollution reduction at its coal-fired power plants.

American Electric Power’s Conesville, Ohio coal plant. (Peter Essick, National Geographic)

2009: Ohio Citizen Action plays key role in preventing American Municipal Power from building a new 1,000 megawatt pulverized coal plant in Meigs County

Elisa Young of Meigs CAN in Ohio and Judy Bonds of Coal River Mountain Watch cheers with sludge and sludge contaminated water from West Virginia. photo: Liz Veazy

2010: Ohio Citizen Action works with allies in Appalachia on a successful campaign to persuade the Obama administration to crack down on mountaintop removal coal mining

Getting pesticides and chemicals out of the food and drinking water

1995-6: After three years of pressure by Citizen Action and others, Congress passes the Food Quality Protection Act to shield children from harmful pesticides in their diets, and thousands of letters from Citizen Action members persuades Ohio grocery chains, including Heinen’s, Kroger, Finast, Rini-Rego, Big Bear and Acme, to offer organic food grown without pesticides

1996: a grassroots campaign led by Citizen Action persuades the cities of Columbus and Bowling Green to take steps to keep the weedkiller atrazine out of drinking water.

This billboard outside Columbus City Hall and more than 500 letters from Ohio Citizen Action members pressured the city to begin treating its water with granular activated carbon to reduce levels of atrazine – an herbicide that causes cancer and disrupts the hormone system.

2006: Ohio Citizen Action, working with Environmental Working Group, wins federal action to take Teflon products out of consumer products, and convinces WalMart and ConAgra to phase out the use of Teflon products in good packaging

Following the money in Ohio politics

1992: Ohio Citizen Action plays a key role in successful ballot initiative for term limits for state legislators

1999: Ohio Citizen Action wins campaign to enact electronic reporting of campaign contributions in Ohio.

1994- 2010: Ohio Citizen Action becomes known as the pre-eminent organization following the money and blowing the whistle on corruption in Ohio politics, publishing studies, assisting reporters in uncovering the spiderwebs of campaign contributions, supporting key legislation to reform Ohio’s election and campaign finance laws.

Mobilizing for consumer rights

1975: Citizen Action begins a nationwide campaign to require advance notice of plant closings, which becomes federal law, sponsored by Senator Howard Metzenbaum, in 1989.

1982: Citizen Action wins the largest private consumer anti-trust settlement in U.S. history against three northeast Ohio grocery chains for price-fixing, resulting in a $20 million victory for a million Cleveland, Akron, and Lorain area households.

1983 – 2004 : Ohio Citizen Action helps win campaigns to stop two nuclear power plants in Ohio (Zimmer and Perry II) due to safety and financial issues, and from 2002-2004, when FirstEnergy’s Davis-Besse nuclear power plant on Lake Erie comes within an eighth of an inch of a nuclear meltdown, leads the campaign to force the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and FirstEnergy to confront safety violations.

1983-2004: Citizen Action plays a key role in stopping millions in rate hikes by Ohio utilities, including Columbia Gas, East Ohio Gas, Ohio Edison, Toledo Edison, and Cleveland Electric Illuminating Co.

1987: After a two year legislative brawl, Citizen Action and others win victims-rights protections in an insurance industry “tort reform” bill.

1997: Citizen Action, unions, injured workers, and trial attorneys win the first referendum vote in Ohio in 60 years. Voters rejected a new law to reduce injured workers compensation and make it harder to prove damage from chemical exposures.

1999: Ohio Citizen Action campaigns successfully to put the local government option in the state electric deregulation law.

Ohio Citizen Action repeatedly takes action in federal court to preserve the First Amendment, when municipalities enact ordinances restricting door-to-door canvassing.

Training generations of activists

1977 – 2010 – Ohio Citizen Action runs continuous, year-round, door-to-door canvasses throughout the state, and adds a phone canvass in 1983 , training tens of thousands of new activists in community organizing skills.

Ohio Citizen Action “alumni” go on to do great things, including running non-profit organizations, becoming doctors, lawyers, and teachers, getting elected to public office and taking leadership in their communities.

1995: To celebrate its 20th anniversary, Ohio Citizen Action establishes the Howard M. Metzenbaum Award, which has been awarded ever since to Ohioans who exemplify Senator Metzenbaum’s spirit of “principled tenacity.”