FirstEnergy

The grandma who stood up

Sandy Bihn of the Western Lake Erie Waterkeeper Association

OREGON — “The power plant official called the bespectacled grandmother of two a liar when she said his company had already admitted responsibility for 10 percent of the young fish killed in the Maumee River.

So Sandy Bihn started digging through the documents she brought with her to the public meeting a year ago with First Energy. Before the meeting ended, she pulled the company’s report citing the figure.

She asked for an apology and didn’t get it. But the incident swelled support for her and other activists in a room full of fisherman who until then had been skeptical whether there was even a problem.

Bihn is a master community organizer, says Sandy Buchanan, executive director of Ohio Citizen Action. Buchanan has known her since 1983 when Bihn volunteered with the League of Women Voters.

‘She’s just very creative in thinking about allies, and she has tremendous personal integrity,’ Buchanan says.”

— Andrew Norman, Great Lakes Echo

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