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A look back on 2015

Ohio Environmental Council, December 10, 2015

Update! Thanks to your generous support, we far exceed our fundraising goal of $15,000 for the month of December! That’s because of your incredible help!

During this season of giving, thankfulness, and community, we’re so happy to be able to celebrate some tremendous victories thanks to your support!

The OEC has been a steady, powerful voice for Ohio’s amazing people, places, and creatures since 1969. You, and thousands of Ohioans like you, have built this organization, brick by brick, into a fierce defender of our beautiful one-of-a-kind state.

We’ve certainly carried the torch forward this year. From Lake Erie, to Hocking Hills, to fracking country, 2015 has been one to remember. Together we:

Secured a bi-national commitment to reduce phosphorus pollution in Lake Erie by 40%.

We successfully led a coalition that secured commitments from the Governors of Ohio and Michigan and the Premier of Ontario to tackle algae-causing pollution. Based on numerous scientific studies, a 40% decrease in phosphorus pollution should deal a significant blow to Lake Erie’s toxic algae menace, and help make our beaches and drinking water safer.

Part of this commitment includes the timely creation of a plan that outlines how each state will meet the pollution reduction goals, with public input.

Delivered 71,000 citizen comments to US EPA in support of stronger methane pollution rules for the oil and gas industry.

We worked with groups across the nation and were the Ohio lead in mobilizing public support of US EPA’s new proposal. Methane is a serious contributor to global warming, and can lead to chronic health issues like asthma. At a public hearing in Pittsburgh, supporters of the rule outnumbered opponents 92 to 1.

Saved some of Ohio’s oldest, most beautiful trees in Hocking State Forest.

This past summer we uncovered a proposed logging plan for one of Ohio’s most beautiful forests. Spruce Run Ravine is full of 100+ year-old trees, a true rarity in our state.

We scheduled a guided tour of the Spruce Run Ravine with the ODNR Division of Forestry, which had scheduled the cut. We explained why these trees should remain standing in the forest, where they belong. Division of Forestry cancelled the plan and is now considering this, and several other areas for permanent protections.

Thanks to the success of this campaign, we are planning to expand our work to protect and restore more of Ohio’s precious public land.

Passed the Clean Lake Erie Act.

After the Toledo Water Crisis, we used public momentum to secure immediate, lasting protections for Lake Erie. The OEC led efforts to educate the General Assembly and the public about the harmful practice of spreading manure and chemical fertilizer on frozen, snow-covered, and saturated soil. When spread improperly, fertilizers run off of farm fields and end up in Lake Erie. Fertilizers are the perfect food source for toxic algae.

Kept fracking out of state parks.

Earlier this year, oil and gas lobbyists were pushing legislation that would have allowed state parks and forests to be swept up into forced lease agreements with nearby private property. We met with lawmakers and testified against this outrageous proposal, and with your support, stopped it in its tracks.

Shared our neighbors’ fracking stories.

This year, the OEC launched a new campaign to tell the real stories of Ohioans who’ve been affected by fracking. By listening to, and sharing our neighbors’ stories, we can make a compelling case for securing greater fracking protections in our state.

Through this campaign, we’ve identified dozens of activists in fracking country who want to meet with their lawmakers, host community forums, and write powerful letters to the editor. We’re now working with leaders in the communities that are most affected by this issue – a just, and winning strategy.

Took big oil and gas to task for their false reporting.

After the US EPA published a study documenting specific cases of water contamination from fracking, big oil and gas put their spin machine to work. As a result, news headlines everywhere got the story completely wrong. We published a rebuttal blog that set the record straight. It’s since been shared over 12,000 times on Facebook and Twitter, and was picked up by national organizations.

These victories are only possible because of our members and supporters!  Here’s to an even better 2016!

To guarantee an even better 2016, please donate to Ohio Environmental Council. Your donations support our policy work and ensure a safe and healthy environment for all who call Ohio home.