A Look Back on 2017: Fit for the Fight

Heather Taylor-Miesle, December 27, 2017

A few days a week, I go on a run at my local park. When I started this routine at the beginning of the year, I found myself stopping frequently and wheezing from lack of breath. Though every run, and every workout, brought a new challenge, I rose to the occasion because being in my best shape means that I am ready for every fight. In the last 18 months, I’ve lost more than 100 pounds!

This year brought unprecedented challenges to the OEC family of organizations. It required us to get more fit than ever, and we, too, rose to the occasion. This year we:

Restored Ohio’s clean energy standards and kept new attacks at bay. We rang in the New Year by defeating legislation that would have continued the freeze of Ohio’s clean energy standards. Soon after, another bad bill was introduced. The OEC Action Fund advocated against it and garnered grassroots opposition that stalled this bill for all of 2017.

Shut down costly bailouts for dirty coal plants. With little time to respond, the OEC Action Fund, working the Environmental Defense Fund, produced advertisements that reached hundreds of thousands of Ohioans. Their opposition stopped legislation that would have raised electricity bills.

Reached a deal with electric utilities to reduce carbon pollution. The OEC’s pragmatic staff intervened in an AEP planning case to negotiate an agreement that will boost clean energy development in our state. 

Passed resolutions to fight toxic algae. Our on-the-ground regional staff worked with local leaders to draft and pass resolutions against harmful algae. On World Water Day, we announced their passage and demanded the state take action to tackle toxic algae for good.

Brought national attention to Lake Erie. Working with a local Toledo brewery, we released a bright green “Ale-gae” beer that brought national press coverage to Lake Erie’s algae issues.

Launched Ohio Clinicians for Climate Action. The OEC knows that doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals are trusted by lawmakers, so we assembled a team of clinicians to advocate for climate-related issues.

Persuaded the U.S. Senate to vote against delaying the BLM methane rule. Thousands of Ohioans took action and helped deliver this victory, the first against the Trump Administration’s anti-environment agenda.

Kept fracking out of Ohio’s state and local parks. During a long, intense biennial budget process, amendments were snuck into our state budget that would have opened local and state parks to fracking. The OEC Action Fund’s budget team caught it quickly and stopped these bad amendments from passing.

Sent thousands of messages to protect Ohio’s specially protected places. OEC supporters took action for Rock Run, the Spruce Run watershed, and Mohican-Memorial State Forest. Thousands of messages demanded special protections for these special places.

I am grateful that when I take my morning run, I can breathe just a bit easier, but polluted air, contaminated drinking water, and lack of access to public lands prevent so many Ohioans from enjoying a similar experience.

The journey to a healthy Ohio is a marathon, not a sprint, and the OEC family of organizations will not rest until there is healthy air, land, and water for all who call Ohio home.

As you can tell from our victories, none of our victories are possible without Ohioans like you. So, can I count on you to be by our side every step of this marathon?

Read our Annual Report to learn even more about our 2017 victories.