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Northeast Ohio Updates from the Field – January

Letter from the Regional Director:

OEC Northeast Ohio: January 2023 Updates


Welcome to 2023 and another year of fighting the good fight to protect our environment in Northeast Ohio. As we progress into 2023, I am excited to promote environmental justice in the region and grow the OEC’s partnerships with organizations like the BRITE Energy Incubator and Climate Reality Project, all while continuing to connect our local work to resources and policymakers in Columbus. 

To start this year, I want to hear from you! If there is an environmental issue in your community that you are passionate about, let me know by emailing me at Let’s work together to solve these issues one by one. Together, everyone achieves more!. 


Christopher L. Colón, MPH, LSW
Northeast Ohio Regional Director

Regional Events & Opportunities:

Mill Creek Metropark Full Moon and Recreation Hikes

February 6 & 8, 2023

Mill Creek Metropark is always a great place to look for fun hikes that might be outside of those you have explored before. The parks feature wonderful bikeways, riverside gardens, covered bridges, and accessible trails. Find all of their upcoming hikes and activities.

2023 Naturalist Series

February 16 & March 16, 2023

OSU Mahoning County Extension Office (490 S. Broad St., Canfield, OH)

OSU’s Mahoning County Extension office has a couple of interesting and informative sessions coming up as part of their 2023 Naturalist Series. In February, they will focus on white-tailed deer, and they will be discussing vernal pools in March. Find these events and more.

Carolyn Finney Author Talk

February 24, 2023 | 7-8 PM

Author Carolyn Finney, PhD will lead this book club discussion of her book “Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors” during this virtual event sponsored by St. John’s Episcopal Church, YWCA Mahoning Valley, Citizens’ Climate Lobby, GYCDOR, and other great local organizations! Learn more.

Earth Day Everyday Lecture Series presented by Equal Districts Coalition

March 15, 2023 | 6 PM


Equal Districts Coalition, which is a group of organizations committed to ending gerrymandering in Ohio, is hosting this virtual event to talk about how fair (and unfair) redistricting impacts Ohio and our ability to act on climate change and protect our environment. Email for the registration link if you’d like to join. 

Regional Updates:

Youngstown City Council introduces Environment and Sustainability Technology Committee 

During the last Youngtown City Council meeting of 2022, outgoing councilperson and newly elected Ohio Representative Lauren McNally introduced a new committee, the Environment and Sustainable Technology Committee. Earlier this month, I was excited to witness them seat the committee members for the first time, with Councilmember Anita Davis serving as Chair. We will be working closely with this committee to see Youngstown achieve its greenhouse gas reduction goal. 

Wrapping up our Building the Table series 

The final session in a three-part training series called Building A Better Table was a huge success. I am so grateful to YWCA, League of Women Voters, Healthy Community Partnership, Fair Shake, United Returning Citizens, Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership, and others for partnering with me to organize these events and bring more people into advocacy and activism for our region. Thank you to everyone who made it out and spread the word!

Keeping an eye on an e-waste recycling proposal

Over the last few months, I have been working with partners to research and inform the public on a proposal from SOBE Thermal Energy Systems to use the Youngstown Thermal Plant to convert tire and plastic waste into steam. I think it’s important for Youngstown residents to be informed and have a voice in developments impacting their lives, and have been grateful to be part of spaces providing that opportunity. To learn more about how SOBE will impact the community click here.

Removing Tires Along the Mahoning River

While advocating, community organizing, and coalition building are wonderful ways to change the systems that impact our environment, it’s nice to get on-the-ground and make a noticeable impact in caring for our local environments. That’s why, in 2023, I was happy to join Friends of Mahoning River in removing tires and other waste along the river. I hope you’ll join myself and this wonderful group in doing more in 2023! 

OEC Updates:

Continuing the push for accountability to end energy bribery

This month marked the beginning of the trial against former Republican Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder. He is accused of accepting bribes from FirstEnergy to pass House Bill 6, a coal power plant bailout that made it harder to increase clean energy and energy efficiency in Ohio. This trial started right after news was breaking that dark money funded the passage of House Bill 507. We fought this bill, which wrongly classifies natural gas as “green energy” and opens our state parks to more oil and gas drilling, but the Ohio legislature passed and Governor DeWine signed it into law at the beginning of this year. 

The fossil fuel industry has a lot of money moving here in Ohio, and it’s clear we need more transparency and accountability. With the power of your voices and the strength of our coalitions, the OEC is pushing for policy that puts Ohioans’ interests over the interests of industry insiders.

Gaining historic protections for an important Ohio creek

We are seeking to gain Ohio’s first-ever Outstanding National Resource Waters designation—the highest level of protections afforded under the Clean Water Act—for an Ohio creek that is home to important endangered aquatic species under threat by rapid development. Take action today to speak up for the Big and Little Darby Creeks!

Join us to cut methane emissions

Working to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas industry is one of the quickest, most cost effective ways to slow the rate of climate change happening now and protect communities’ health. That is why we are holding President Biden and the U.S. EPA accountable in their most recent methane regulations. Hundreds of Ohioans have joined us by sending comments to the U.S. EPA. Can we count on your voice?

Check out current openings at the OEC and our partner organizations.