AKRON — On Wednesday night, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown announced that he was a co-sponsor of S. 696, a bill to ban mountaintop removal coal mining. The announcement came at a political fundraiser in the Akron home of Mari-Lynn Evans, Executive Producer of the movie Coal Country, which examines mountaintop removal and what it has done to Appalachian communities. After Brown’s introductory remarks, he asked for questions. Jenn Roddis, Ohio Citizen Action phone canvass crew manager, said, “I can’t help but notice that we’re standing in the home of a lady who has spoken out so passionately and eloquently against the destructive practice of mountaintop removal. I can’t help but wonder why you haven’t co-sponsored…” At this point, Brown interrupted Roddis, “I am a co-sponsor. As of today.” Then he laughed, saying, “I knew you were going to ask me that question.”
Since last June, 23,586 Ohio Citizen Action members have sent Brown letters, mostly handwritten, urging him to co-sponsor the ban. Brown is the 11th co-sponsor of the legislation, including chief sponsor, Sen. Benjamin Cardin (MD). Other co-sponsors include Sens. Lamar Alexander (TN), Bernard Sanders (VT), Robert Menendez (NJ), Sheldon Whitehouse (RI), Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), Dianne Feinstein (CA), Richard Durbin (IL), Amy Klobuchar (MN), and Frank Lautenberg (NJ). Of all the states represented by co-sponsors, Ohio uses the most coal for electricity production, and has the most powerful coal lobby.
— Paul Ryder, Organizing Director, Ohio Citizen Action