Press Release

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Organizations launch Cleveland Comprehensive Environmental Policy Platform

Cleveland, OH — Looking forward to the 2021 citywide elections, organizations today released a candidate education platform and comprehensive set of policy recommendations aimed at solving some of Cleveland’s most pressing and complex environmental issues facing Cleveland residents.

The Cleveland Comprehensive Environmental Policy Platform details actionable objectives and locally-designed policy recommendations to address issues of environmental justice, water quality and access, land and green space, infrastructure and transportation, as well as energy and air quality. The platform was developed over the past six months in consultation with more than a dozen organizations including local and regional nonprofits, community development corporations and quasi-governmental institutions.

“Clevelanders, like many Americans, are facing the crossroads of a global pandemic, economic instability, and racial injustice. Adopting and advancing strong environmental justice policies will play a major role in our collective success,” said Karlton A. Laster, Cleveland Metro director for the Ohio Environmental Council. “We are proud to launch this platform to ensure our local leaders have the information they need to champion comprehensive and equitable environmental policies that will benefit Cleveland residents in 2021 and beyond.”

“Many environmental issues are of serious concern for Cleveland voters. We’re excited to partner with the Ohio Environmental Council to launch this candidate education platform designed to highlight priority issues ahead of the upcoming mayoral election,” said Angelique Salizan, Ohio policy & outreach manager with the Alliance for the Great Lakes. “Our goal is to equip decision makers with information and opportunities to enact policies that mitigate environmental harm. The platform, coupled with community engagement efforts during the election season, will provide the wraparound approach needed to address water, land, air and energy issues from all sides in Cleveland.”

Project partners drew from multiple disciplines and perspectives to ensure the recommendations included in the platform are practical and actionable for the City of Cleveland’s next cohort of elected leaders within four years. Because the platform makes connections between intersections of race, health, income and climate change, it is designed to comprehensively address some of Cleveland’s most pressing and most complex issues.

Making those connections to advance comprehensive policy solutions are of critical importance to organizations who helped develop the platform, including Bike Cleveland, Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District, and Black Environmental Leaders.

“Clevelanders deserve to live in neighborhoods where they have safe, reliable mobility options. Transportation decisions impact individual and community health, safety, access to opportunity, and quality of life,” said Jacob VanSickle, executive director of Bike Cleveland. “This policy platform outlines actionable steps that leaders can take around transportation and infrastructure to ensure we are building a sustainable, diverse, and healthy Cleveland.”

“The Cuyahoga Soil & Water Conservation District is united in this effort to advance policies and programs that will protect and restore our soils, which in turn will help protect our precious Lake Erie in the effort to proclaim Cleveland as an environmental leader in the new Green Belt region,” said Janine Rybka, director of Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District.

SeMia Bray, co-facilitator of Black Environmental Leaders said, “The Cleveland Policy Platform contributes to the conversation and commitment to land, water, air, transportation and energy issues that impact our economic bottom line, through the lens of health, diversity, inclusion and equity.”

The full platform can be found here

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The Ohio Environmental Council (OEC) is the state’s most comprehensive, effective and respected environmental advocate for a healthier, more sustainable Ohio. The OEC develops and ensures the implementation of forward-thinking, science-based, pragmatic solutions to secure healthy air, land, and water for all who call Ohio home.

Contact: Emily Bacha, OEC Communications Director at ebacha@theoec.org