Imagine a dynamic, hard-working fund that can build a cleaner, greener Ohio — a more attractive Ohio in which to start a business, grow a family, and enjoy the great outdoors.
A fund with locally nominated projects that can benefit all 88 counties, rural and urban alike. A fund that is so popular that demand far outstrips the available supply of funding.
A proven fund that has:
- enabled the assessment, clean up and revitalization of 400 abandoned and polluted industrial sites
- preserved nearly 40,000 acres of prime farmland;
- protected 26,000 acres of natural areas;
- created more than 216 miles of family-friendly recreational trails; and
- leveraged additional investments to create a total economic impact of approximately $2.6 billion in public and private investments.
Imagine no more. That fund exists. It’s called the Clean Ohio Fund, and it has a stellar track record of success.
The Ohio Environmental Council and partners, including the Nature Conservancy, Sierra Club, and Tecumseh Land Trust, have championed the Clean Ohio Fund since its inception.
In 2000, a $400 million state bond initiative was first approved by Ohio voters. It was overwhelmingly renewed in all 88 counties in 2008 with strong bipartisan support from the executive and legislative leadership.
Today, all but $52 million has since been appropriated and invested in a cleaner, greener Ohio. In 2013, the OEC and partners are going all out to urge lawmakers to get the job done and appropriate those final dollars.
Good news! State lawmakers in Columbus have added, and Gov. Kasich approved, $52 million for the Clean Ohio Fund to Ohio's state operating budget for Fiscal Years 2014-2015.
This appropriation maxes out the rest of a $400 million bond that Ohio voters in 2008 gave the state permission to borrow for the fund.
Since first approved in 2000, the Clean Ohio Fund has helped enable the permanent conservation of thousands of acres of open space and family farmland, built hundreds of miles of recreational trails, and cleaned up and put back into production hundreds of abandoned old industrial sites.
According to two recent economic analyses, the Clean Ohio Fund is paying a pretty dividend to Ohio taxpayers and Ohio's economic and natural environments:
- The Trust for Public Land found that every $1 invested in land conservation returned $4 in natural goods and services to the Ohio economy.
- The Greater Ohio Policy Center similarly found that every $1 spent on brownfield redevelopment produced a return on investment of $4.67in new economic activity on 21 surveyed brownfield projects.
The OEC and partners are working hard to assure that the full $52 million remains in the budget as a joint Ohio House-Ohio Senate conference committee irons out differences between the two chambers' budget plans.
Ohio Environmental Council's:
- Clean Ohio Fund Fact Sheet (2013)
- Testimony on State Operating Budget - Land & Water Management (see page 10 for Clean Ohio Fund)
- Position Paper (2012)
- Press Release: $42 million appropriation for the Clean Ohio Fund (2012)
- The Trust for Public Land report: Economic Benefit of Clean Ohio Fund Conservation
Official Clean Ohio Fund website.