Coal / FirstEnergy / Mountaintop Removal

New Cleveland Campaign Organizer: Nathan Rutz

Nathan Rutz, third from right, with Ohio Citizen Action staff and Larry Gibson, legendary Keeper of the Mountains, in Kayford, West Virginia, March 2011. Left to right: Jenn Roddis, Rachel Taylor, Molly Lutz, Nora Lardner, Gibson, Rutz, Carla Roth, and Alison Auciello.

CLEVELAND – “I am delighted to welcome Nathan Rutz as the new Cleveland Campaign Organizer for Ohio Citizen Action. Nathan, 24, grew up in Cincinnati, the oldest of four children. He says, ‘In high school I planned on being a computer programmer — until reading classic literature in 11th grade made me realize that computers are interesting but not important.’ In 2007, while a student at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana, Nathan spent the summer in Rock Creek, West Virginia, volunteering with Mountain Justice and Coal River Mountain Watch to stop  mountaintop removal coal mining. He also went to the U.S. Social Forum in Atlanta representing Coal River Mountain Watch with Judy Bonds, 2003 winner of the Goldman Prize. The next summer, Nathan canvassed for Ohio Citizen Action on the Eramet Marietta campaign.  In 2009, Nathan graduated from Wabash, magna cum laude in philosophy, with minors in chemistry & physics, and returned to Cincinnati to canvass full-time for Ohio Citizen Action.”

— Sandy Buchanan, Executive Director, Ohio Citizen Action

“I want to invite everyone reading this to get involved in our clean-air campaign. Many of you know that on December 21, the U.S. EPA issued a strong ‘mercury rule’ to crack down on utilities with obsolete coal plants. As a result, FirstEnergy is now deciding whether to scrap its old plants, including four on Lake Erie, or invest $2 – 3 billion to keep them running. They will likely announce their decision on February 29. For the health of people in Northeast Ohio, it is especially important that the currently-idled Lake Shore coal plant never be turned on again.  We’re urging people, organizations, and local governments to write to the company or pass resolutions urging FirstEnergy to do the right thing.

Meanwhile, the new U.S EPA rules will likely come under attack in Congress. U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio is a key swing vote from a key swing state. It’ll be important for him to defend the new standards.  Ohio Citizen Action members have already sent 6,000 letters and petition signatures to him on this issue. Writing a personal, handwritten letter to Senator Brown is an easy, powerful step.

“Want to pitch in? You can call me at (216) 861-5200, or email, and we can figure out together the easiest way to start.  Thanks.”

— Nathan Rutz, Cleveland Campaign Organizer, Ohio Citizen Action

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