Emily Bacha, Vice President of Public Affairs, December 15, 2020
This has been a difficult year for many. However, the Ohio Environmental Council continues to thrive despite the challenges. The global pandemic has changed how we interact and where we work, but not our dedication to our mission of serving Ohio’s environment and its people. Throughout 2020, the OEC powered key wins and progress in the environmental movement.
Because of your support, we are resilient in our fight for a healthy environment for all Ohioans.
Scandal rocked the statehouse this year, as the FBI revealed House Bill 6—the state’s dirty energy bailout—was passed as part of the largest bribery and money laundering scheme in Ohio’s history. We immediately called for the repeal of this bad bill and continue to fight HB 6 every step of the way. Though the statehouse has largely turned its back on climate policy, we have seen galvanized leadership on clean energy solutions at the local level. This year saw major successes with local ballot initiatives and the Power a Clean Future Ohio campaign to encourage cities to act.
But that’s not all. This year, the OEC and our partners won a three-year federal court battle to protect the Wayne National Forest from extensive fracking and oil and gas development. We played an important part in the launch of H2Ohio, one of the most comprehensive, science-based plans for clean water in state history. And we fought alongside local and statewide partners for safe and fair access to the ballot box on behalf of all Ohio voters.
November saw electoral progress for the environment—our sibling organization, the OEC Action Fund, and its affiliated PAC, helped elect key environmental champions across the state, supported successful local park levies, and passed energy aggregation initiatives to spur more clean energy usage. At the national level, President-elect Joe Biden ran on the strongest climate, clean energy, and environmental justice platform ever advanced by a presidential ticket. He and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris have made climate action one of their top transition priorities, providing us with hope going into the new year.
The fight for social justice was at the forefront throughout 2020. The OEC spent the year growing and strengthening our focus on our core values of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. We created our first paid internship program this summer, provided several grants to social and community justice partner organizations, and made significant progress to update our hiring practices to better diversify the organization and the environmental movement. The OEC also ratified its first collective bargaining agreement in June. Our contract recognizes the important work OEC staff members do every day to secure healthy air, land, and water and empowers staff to have a larger voice at the decision-making table. The OEC is a proud, long-term partner of labor unions. Unions make our world better and the labor movement has been central to major advancements in the protection of people and the environment.
Our success and our resilience is made possible by generous support from OEC members and allies like you. You are deepening our understanding of climate change, expanding the environmental movement, and ensuring a healthier future for ALL Ohioans.
This work takes all of us and we’re grateful you are by our side as we travel this path. From the whole OEC team, thank you for all your support!
For a printed copy of this year’s report, contact us at OEC@theOEC.org or (614) 487-7506.