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Cleveland Comprehensive Environmental Policy Platform

Ohio Environmental Council, December 17, 2020

Looking forward to the 2021 citywide elections, organizations have 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 for issues including: environmental justice, water, 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.

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Executive Summary

Cleveland played an integral role in the birth of the modern environmental movement, and today its leadership is vital to the continuing struggle for environmental justice and environmental protection. The burning of the Cuyahoga River in 1969, a seminal event in the national environmental movement, would not have captured the nation’s attention were it not for engaged local citizens and the leadership of Mayor Carl Stokes, the first black mayor of a major American city. Mayor Stokes and his brother Congressman Louis Stokes would also contribute greatly to the passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972.  Additionally, the delegates to the First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit held in October of 1991 drafted and adopted the 17 Principles of Environmental Justice. Since that time, these principles have served to inform the growing environmental justice movement and have further amplified voices of color through the Principles of Climate Justice and the Principles of the Youth Environmental Justice Movement.

In the aftermath of the river fire, active citizens and local political leaders combined to form a powerful force for the healing of Cleveland’s waterways. The joint efforts of Cleveland’s elected leaders and members of the community built the lasting change needed to protect people, ensure a safe environment for our children, and solve complex environmental problems through collaboration and the will to do the work. 

This legacy of local leadership continued on and is evident even today in the city administration as they have deployed ambitious and impactful sustainability goals and actions to combat climate change and advance environmental justice. Notably, Mayor Frank G. Jackson established the city’s first Office of Sustainability and elevated this office to a cabinet level position. Specifically, the Sustainable Cleveland Summit, the Cleveland Climate Action Plan 2018 Update, and the Complete Streets Plan have collectively made tremendous progress and laid important groundwork to take sustainability to the next level in Cleveland.

As local advocates for a cleaner environment, greater environmental justice and better policies to serve more of our neighbors, we seek to build a more sustainable, diverse, and equitable Cleveland for all. The lead-up to the upcoming 2021 citywide elections is a ripe opportunity to educate candidates on the issues (environmental justice, water, land & green space, infrastructure & transportation, and energy & air quality) and how to solve them in the best way possible for all Clevelanders. What we need now, more than ever, are leaders boldly acting to make Cleveland more resilient for the sake of our health, our families, and our future.

We have drawn from multiple disciplines and perspectives to ensure our recommendations are practical and actionable for the City of Cleveland’s next cohort of elected leaders (Mayor & City Council) within four years. Because the platform makes connections between intersections of race, health, income and wealth, climate change, drinking water, healthy waterways, transportation, food access, housing, and land use, it can be used to comprehensively address some of Cleveland’s most pressing and most complex issues. 

The policy platform is the culmination of over 6 months of planning, meeting, and collaboration. The content of this document is from 2 months (September & October 2020) of intensive meetings with a 7-member Steering Committee and 20+-member General Committee. The process was facilitated by the Institute of Conservation Leadership (ICL). The participating members represent community development corporations (CDCs), larger environmental anchor institutions, regional environmental non-profits, local environmental non-profits, and quasi-governmental institutions.

Values Statement

We believe Cleveland must become a more sustainable, diverse, and equitable place for all people — regardless of color or background. All residents deserve a city that: values their lives and trusts their lived experiences; invests in communities; acts intentionally to be inclusive and sustainable; and listens and responds to all people.

We are united around the common purpose of a cleaner, greener Cleveland, and the belief that we can use our collective impact to ensure communities and residents who are not typically heard have a forum to address the environmental injustices present in their daily lives. 

We believe that citizens empowered by real access to and influence in decision-making at every step yields only positives, which include: greater and deeper understanding among policymakers about the pressures and problems impacting people; creative and innovative approaches perhaps not contemplated before; and collective ownership over and investment in solutions.

We believe the most successful leaders in our community will be committed to our shared value of affirming all human life, and moving Cleveland towards a refreshed set of policies that restore clean air, clean water, and public green spaces. We believe the key to a sustainable future is policy making driven more by the value of human and natural life and less by short-term economic gain.


Issues and Recommendations

Environmental Justice

All people, regardless of race, ethnicity or national origin, have the right to live, work and recreate in a clean and safe environment. Clevelanders deserve equal protection from environmental harms caused by power plants, lead paint, waste facilities, poor and unhealthy soils from urbanization and industrialization, and degraded air and water quality exacerbated by a warming climate. But history, and today’s reality, shows that Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) make up a majority of residents living close to hazardous facilities. It is a well-founded fact that these communities, as a result, suffer shorter life spans, higher infant mortality, poorer health, diminished economic opportunities, and an overall degraded quality of life. The City of Cleveland can build upon its recent declaration that racism is a public health crisis by acknowledging that environmental racism persists in the community, and set in motion the actions that will end it.

Too many of Cleveland’s neighborhoods are areas of concentrated poverty, with upwards of 40 percent or more of neighborhood residents living in poverty. Systemic racism and state and federal policies from the past, like slavery, Jim Crow laws and redlining, created this problem. Similarly, state and federal policies, going forward, are needed to solve it. The community would benefit greatly, along with city budgets and resources, if Cleveland’s local elected leaders used their platform to advocate at the state and federal level for policies that would remedy many of the environmental problems that affect residents. 

Clevelanders today are presented with opportunities to weigh in at various points in the development and vetting of policies, but there are real barriers impeding community engagement on these issues. If the City addresses gaps in its engagement of impacted people, we will be better positioned to realize environmental and quality of life goals for the Greater Cleveland community.  

Policy Platform Objectives

  • A City Council and city administration that’s knowledgeable about, embraces, and aggressively advocates for environmental justice not only locally, but in state and federal policymaking.
  • Increase shared decision-making on key issues at every step with community members.
  • Expand and modernize the forums in which people can participate, provide input, and have their voices heard on policy decisions being made within city government.
  • Maintain and continue to fund the programs to help achieve the City’s goal to be Lead Safe by 2029, ensuring that we reduce the number of  Cleveland children with elevated blood lead levels. 

Policy Recommendations

  • Permit residents to provide public comment during city council meetings in order to expand when and how often citizens’ voices and concerns can be heard. 
  • Continue virtual platforms for planning sessions, meetings, and other gatherings that were exclusively in-person prior to the pandemic. 
  • Encourage creativity and increase flexibility of city departments to host public meetings and informal discussions in locations where people naturally spend their time (i.e, walking through a park, street fairs, block parties, community conversations, etc.). 
  • Within the first six months to one year, examine and make changes to stakeholder engagement processes to ensure adequate frequency, information sharing, and free-flowing exchanges of ideas, and opportunities for coordinated action on environmental problems in the community.
  • Continue to emphasize coordination between all city departments engaging with lead safe programming, and provide funding for landlords to test for and abate lead paint in rental properties.
  • Strengthen collaboration with community advocates to urge the state and federal governments to increase resources for lead paint abatement, lead service line replacement, and workforce training programs. 
  • Work with local advocates to call for change at the federal level that will address environmental injustices in Cleveland. For example, advocate for the passage of the Environmental Justice For All Act (H.R. 5986 of the 116th Congress), which would shift the burden of proof that a proposed action would not harm a community onto the federal government or the polluting industry, rather than the community itself.  
  • Develop Community Benefits Agreements (CBAs) that emphasize workforce and community development measures; diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) principles in contracting and local hires, labor standards and access to union apprenticeship opportunities; and community greenspace and infrastructure reinvestment. 

Measures of Success

  • Cleveland leads its Midwestern peers in environmental justice protection by ensuring that racial equity is at the center of all policy decisions related to land use, water quality, climate mitigation, drinking water access, lead safety and equity, and urban planning and transportation systems.
  • Cleveland experiences a continued decrease in the number of children with elevated lead levels in their blood due to the efforts to abate lead paint, and replace lead pipes in drinking water systems.
  • Cleveland’s elected leaders and environmental advocates, community development corporations, local labor unions, and neighborhood activists experience a strengthened relationship because they are regularly learning from each other and collaborating on priorities for racial and environmental policymaking for the City of Cleveland. 
  • Cleveland residents have more options and accessibility to government officials’ decision-making processes and increase their participation in City Council and Council Committee meetings, city departments and local commission meetings, as well as outreach events. 
  • Elected leaders in the US Congress and Ohio General Assembly have a deeper understanding and greater motivation to support and advance federal and state policies and funding sources that benefit Cleveland’s environment due to advocacy by Cleveland’s Mayor and City Council.

 

Water 

Clevelanders live within miles of one of the world’s richest freshwater resources, yet some residents face challenges to accessing clean, safe, and affordable water. Residents have seen sharp water rate increases in recent years and changes to billing cycles (quarterly to monthly). Low-income residents are disproportionately affected by these changes. The global pandemic has highlighted the call for clean and safe water as a basic human right, with many metro areas placing moratoriums on water shut-offs due to inability to pay. 

On top of water affordability concerns, surface water quality challenges are posing public health threats. While the Cuyahoga River and other local waterways have seen steady water quality improvements due to federal protections and crack-downs on industrial pollution sources, many threats remain. Invasive species, algal blooms, and severe rain events caused by climate change strain our aging infrastructure, drive erosion and sediments into our waterways and cause combined sewer overflows. These issues ultimately end up generating health risks, beach closures, and impact the overall health of Lake Erie.

Improvements to drinking and wastewater infrastructure are necessary to abate lead contamination and to protect Cleveland’s vital freshwater resources from growing environmental pressures. The challenge for advocates and leaders is how to balance the need to fix failing infrastructure with the need to ensure water is affordable. Cleveland Water’s upcoming rate restructuring process should provide an opportunity for greater equity in water rates for Cleveland’s residents. 

Policy Platform Objectives

  • Ensure Cleveland’s water is safe, clean, and affordable for all.
  • Discontinue water shut-offs due to inability to pay and restore water service for all Cleveland residents by 2025 in the spirit of embracing the human right to water and sanitation.
  • Improve water quality through infrastructure upgrades, emphasizing the use of natural infrastructure, and advocate for significant increases in state and federal investment to support needed upgrades. 
  • Reduce contaminants and lead exposure in drinking water. 
  • Ensure Cleveland’s existing codified ordinances addressing stormwater runoff and drinking and recreational water are consistently enforced.

Policy Recommendations

  • With the goal of discontinuing water shut-offs and restoring water service to all Cleveland residents by 2025, establish a set of cohesive policies aimed at addressing water affordability that include: 
    • Establish more equitable and income-proportional water utility rates and fees for customers. 
    • Through increased marketing, and collaborative customer outreach, actively recruit participation in the city’s emergency water assistance program that provides financial assistance to customers in the event of an emergency or other situation in which customers are temporarily unable to pay water service fees and charges.  
    • Establish and streamline a debt relief program for delinquent water service fees and charges in which debt is forgiven after twenty-four months of continual income-based payment.
  • Increase transparency and education with the community and stakeholders during water rate setting processes anticipated in 2021 and 2022.
  • Working with stakeholders, advocate for policy change at the state and federal level to establish a new program modeled after the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) that would provide water utility assistance. Utilize these funds to support the city’s low-income assistance program. 
  • Work with local clean water advocates, organized labor, and community activists to coordinate education of Cleveland’s Congressional members to advocate for water infrastructure funding and lead service line replacement funding. For example, the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) and future COVID stimulus bills present an opportunity for both education and funding for Cleveland communities. 
  • Develop a plan to inventory all lead service lines in Cleveland by 2025 and to replace all lead service lines by 2040.
  • Establish a cost-sharing program for lead service line replacement for low-income homeowners, and seek to remove barriers impeding water sample collection and testing for lead in low-income homes. 
  • Continue to support the implementation of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District’s (NEORSD) $3 billion infrastructure projects to reduce combined sewer overflows through community education and outreach.

Measures of Success

  • Water shut-offs due to non-payment are prevented because Cleveland residents, including renters and marginalized communities, increase their enrollment in water affordability programs. 
  • Key customer assistance programs for water and sewer service have been updated to take low-income residents into account.
  • Increased federal and state funding for water infrastructure updates, including lead service line replacement.
  • An accelerated pace for lead service line replacement to more quickly reduce lead exposure in drinking water. 
  • Low-income homeowners have access to cost-sharing programs for lead service line replacement.
  • Cleveland residents participate in greater numbers in the city water department’s rate setting process and provide input and feedback on the program design for debt relief and customer assistance programs.

 

Land & Green Spaces

As a large, sprawling metro area, Cleveland is fortunate to have beautiful parks and greenspaces where people can rest, rejuvenate, and recreate.The city’s Emerald Necklace, Lake Erie, and our extensive walking and biking trail systems provide a strong foundation on which to build. However, more should be done to expand the regional tree canopy and connect local greenspaces through urban farming and gardening. Doing so will build climate resilience and serve community health needs. Additionally, racial trauma associated with open space has led to the perception that green spaces are not for minority communities creating a disparity between perceived ownership and a sense of belonging in parks. 

Growing the connectivity and quality of Cleveland’s green spaces must prioritize placing new parks in underserved areas, improving walkability and ADA-compliant access to green spaces safely, and ensuring that public transit and multi-modal transportation systems better connect people to vibrant outdoor spaces. In achieving this purpose, increasing public-private partnerships and support of the Cleveland Tree Canopy Plan will ensure a vibrant region that lives up to its “Forest City” moniker. 

The fate of abandoned and vacant lots is a critical factor in fostering greater equity in Cleveland. The City of Cleveland is holding at least 30,000 vacant lots in its land bank. Depending on the need of the community, these abandoned areas could be made available for growing food, installing solar energy, planting trees, building playgrounds, or creating new green gathering spaces. Converting these vacant lots to be more useful to local residents is a time consuming and arduous process that could be served better by a more innovative, inclusive, and streamlined approach.

Policy Platform Objectives

  • By 2025 all Clevelanders live within a 10 minute walk of a high quality park. 
  • Increase collaboration and shared ownership over land use decisions.  
  • Invest in a healthier and more dense tree canopy that covers the entire city for the purpose of higher quality of life, carbon sequestration, decreased air pollution, and fewer heat islands. 
  • Increase access to vacant lots held in the city’s land bank in the interest of expanded greenspace, urban gardening, or adjacent neighbor acquisition. 
  • Create a just and equitable system for Cleveland residents to acquire land as a means of building local wealth and spur economic development

Policy Recommendations

  • Building on the existing success of the 10 Minute Walk Team, finalize the plan to reach park walkability goals with incremental progress each year to get to 100% of Clevelanders within a 10 minute walk to a high quality park. Build this plan on the best practices and lessons learned through the pilot programs and ideas being implemented in the identified priority areas: Clark Fulton/Slavic Village, Union Miles, Old Brooklyn, Mount Pleasant, and Kamm’s Corner. 
  • Within the first year, examine and change the existing Design Review process to ensure the City meaningfully engages with residents on the land use and park design decisions that affect their neighborhoods. Consider, in particular, community-friendly input and decision timelines; and, engage residents at the site of proposed parks rather than just in meeting rooms. 
  • Increase the number of vacant lots available for acquisition by residents of the city of Cleveland, and create a more efficient process for residents with proper monitoring by local community development corporations.
  • Add a zoning overlay in select urban areas with a high density of the built environment or in areas with little to no park access, encouraging development that prioritizes adding green space and pocket parks.
  • Working with the Cleveland Tree Coalition, craft achievable neighborhood plans for increasing the tree plantings on private property and public-right-of-way lands. 
  • In city budgeting, ensure stable funding for urban forestry, park maintenance, and improvements to infrastructure that will lead to greater walkability and safety in commercial districts — e.g., sidewalks, lighting, and ADA accessibility.  
  • Cleveland’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Properties solicits input from the community to create culturally-sensitive programming and education in parks, greenspaces, and other venues.

Measures of Success

  • All Cleveland neighborhoods are within walking distance of a high-quality green space, and as a result residents are healthier based on measurable public health determinants. 
  • Dense urban commercial corridors are softened by the addition of more usable, vibrant, and accessible greenspace.
  • Zoning and planning functions in city government prioritize resident involvement to help achieve its goal of high quality parks within a short walking distance of all Clevelanders. 
  • The heat island effect caused by a warming climate has been noticeably lessened in local neighborhoods that have experienced new greenspace creation, as well as investments in tree plantings. 
  • Local residents have greater influence over the fate of vacant lands in their neighborhoods, and have the ability to determine how best to use the land sustainably, whether it be a park, an urban farm, or a community solar array. 
  • Neighborhood-based organizations and activists successfully work with the city to increase tree canopy by 30+% on public and private properties. 

 

Infrastructure & Transportation

Infrastructure, public transit, and housing are crucial to take Cleveland to the next level. An individual’s ability to move around freely and easily is the single most important factor influencing social mobility and access to jobs, training, healthy foods and health care. In this light, transportation is not just a minor issue of convenience; it shapes the opportunities available to each person in Cleveland and impacts their health. Transit routes, housing density, and integrated and smart technologies are not often the most enthusiastically discussed topics, but they are foundational needs for a climate-resilient city. 

Historically, transportation policies and budgets have prioritized the mobility and convenience of motor vehicle drivers over more affordable transportation options, such as public transit, and the safety of vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists. Disadvantaged groups including Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC), the elderly, and people with limited mobility are far more likely to rely on active transportation as well as suffer from transportation-related injuries and fatalities. With streets designed for 1+ million people, we have to rethink usage of transportation systems, and build towards more integrated and inter-modal ways to move people to and from their destinations. Implementing transportation policies centered on people, not cars, can help to overcome some of the structural challenges that perpetuate disparity in our city.

Lowering the carbon footprint of how people move around is essential to improving air quality and responding aggressively to climate change. Investing in electric vehicle fleet upgrades and charging infrastructure is critical to improving Cleveland’s climate resilience. The challenge for policymakers and community advocates in Cleveland is how to balance the need for improved infrastructure and safety with affordability. Better state and federal funding for these purposes is required.

Policy Platform Objectives

  • Prioritize multi-modal transportation options in an effort to broaden access to the places where people recreate, work, and live. 
  • Streamline city departments, transportation planning and economic/community development functions in order to both improve internal coordination and decision-making on transportation investments, and optimize benefits to health, equity, and economic justice.
  • Enable and support the transition towards electric fleets.
  • Embed equity, access, carbon reductions, safety, health, and connectivity in planning related to active transportation and transit to ensure economic opportunity.

Policy Recommendations

  • Integrate the functions within city government that involve planning and project management as it  relates to transportation and transit; streamline the collaboration with Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) on infrastructure and resources with a focus on racial and socioeconomic equity along with public health. 
  • Develop a city-wide multi-modal transportation plan that focuses on moving people efficiently and equitably while engaging public transit users where they are in order to solicit input in the plan. 
  • Conduct health impact assessments of publicly-funded infrastructure projects, prior to finalizing, so the community and developers can fully understand implications of economic and community development efforts and ensure any negative impacts from proposed projects are addressed, mitigated and/or creatively resolved.  
  • Working with state and local transportation advocates, educate Cleveland’s delegation to the Ohio Statehouse and U.S. Congress to advocate for more funding for public transportation and trail linkages in the State Transportation Budget, as well as federal appropriations. 
  • Commit to partnering with RTA for a full fleet conversion to electric by 2040 and to pilot an electric bus route along a major corridor (e.g., the Healthline). Promote state and federal funding for these purposes.
  • Commit to eliminating all traffic fatalities and serious injuries in the City of Cleveland by continuing to support the Vision Zero Action Plan through increased funding as well as an expanded citywide bikeshare program.

Measures of Success

  • All Clevelanders can bike or walk to school, work, and green spaces on a stress-free street.Public transit becomes more of a primary choice for Clevelanders. 
  • Cleveland City Council approves and dedicates annual funding to implement a multi-modal transportation plan that connects economic centers, neighborhoods, and greenspaces, and integrates Vision Zero goals to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities related to pedestrian and motor vehicle accidents.
  • The Ohio General Assembly and U.S. Congress allocate increasing levels of dedicated funding for Cleveland’s multi-modal trails, public transit, and biking infrastructure. 
  • Cleveland residents experience faster transportation and infrastructure improvements and expanded educational opportunities through access to increased user data and metrics.
  • Community infrastructure investments build wealth locally, provide access to good union jobs, and promote greater shared prosperity.

 

Energy & Air Quality

As a clean energy revolution takes hold across the globe, Cleveland is poised to cement its status as a leader in responding to climate change, and accelerate its transition away from fossil fuels. Cleveland made its mark as one of the first major Ohio cities to go 100% renewable in its community choice aggregation plan, and the city holds a tremendous resource in Cleveland Public Power (CPP), our municipal electric utility. City leaders have already created strong policies, administrative buy-in, and community support for taking action to address the impacts of climate change Cleveland residents experience today. 

Despite the city’s leadership and bold action on climate change, Cleveland residents face challenges with local air quality issues caused by forces that are largely out of the city’s control, but nevertheless, demonstrate why action at the local level is so important. Many low-income families in Cleveland live in close proximity to major manufacturing plants and industrial processes, leaving citizens and local health officials frustrated at state and federal laws that fail to protect them. Highly-trafficked roads, Ohio’s over-reliance on coal-fired power plants, and a warming climate worsen air quality. Degraded air quality exacerbates pre-existing conditions such as allergies, asthma and other lung illnesses. In the 2020, American Lung Association State of the Air Report, the Cleveland Metro Area is ranked 31st for high ozone days and 11th in annual particle pollution.  For 2020, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America ranked Cleveland the 5th worst city for asthma sufferers, and the burden is highest for poor and minority children.

Utilizing the city’s most important assets in combating climate change and air pollution — a municipal utility, a smart climate action plan, and a community choice aggregation initiative — we can build upon the city’s progress, and embrace even greater innovation along the way.

Public ownership of CPP affords our city autonomy to set utility policy that works best for households, businesses, and nonprofit users. Rather than sending millions of dollars out of the city each month to buy power from dirty, distant coal plants, CPP can drive economic growth and create good jobs as it begins to invest in local renewable energy that employs local residents to build and maintain solar arrays on currently vacant land. Equally so, taking the city’s municipal aggregation plan to the next level will create opportunities to address the needs of non CPP households, and can be used to promote what’s necessary at this moment: A just transition to a clean energy economy in Northeast Ohio. Under the aggregation plan, the city can explore the benefits of long-term power purchase agreements with renewable energy developers and prioritize labor standards and union preferences to ensure good paying clean energy jobs are grown in the city and region. 

A broad and cohesive vision for this transition includes a bright future for CPP and for the city’s aggregation plan, with growth opportunities in electric vehicle charging infrastructure, energy efficiency and local renewable development. 

Objectives

  • Reduce Cleveland’s greenhouse gas emissions coming from the power sector and improve air quality in Cleveland.
  • Fully enable community-owned solar energy.
  • Strengthen the city’s existing 100% renewable energy commitment by prioritizing new, local renewable energy projects in order to spur economic development opportunities and harness the fastest growing jobs in the nation in wind and solar. 
  • Clear the path for Cleveland Public Power (CPP) to realize its full potential as a leader in clean energy innovation that promotes transparent governance and centers citizen voices when setting energy and air quality policy.
  • Improve indoor air quality, reduce energy bills, and increase the comfort of homes through expansion of local energy efficiency and weatherization, especially in historically redlined neighborhoods with higher energy burden. 
  • Promote industrial energy efficiency and the use of eco-industrial parks designed to promote environmentally-friendly manufacturing practices.  

Policy Recommendations

  • Transform CPP to optimize innovation and economic opportunity: 
    • Improve affordability while simultaneously opening the door to cleaner energy resources by changing or terminating CPP’s supply contracts that allows them to innovate with modern and cleaner energy technologies. 
    • Revamp CPP’s governance structure to increase accountability, transparency, and efficacy by establishing a formal citizen advisory board to monitor CPP’s transformation and new community solar program. 
    • Build upon CPP’s existing successful net metering policy by further streamlining solar permitting processes and inspections for residential and small business solar.
    • Launch a community solar program that prioritizes frontline community ownership and local benefits by ensuring households and small businesses that subscribe to community solar gardens see monthly savings of 5-20%.
    • Engage in long-term power-purchase agreements for clean energy produced locally, built with union labor and a diverse local workforce. 
  • Develop a citywide rooftop solar program, with a goal of deploying 3 megawatts of small business, residential, and non-profit rooftop solar by 2025.
  • Implement an internal revolving loan fund, or similar financing tool, for local government and residential energy projects.
  • Plan for upcoming community choice aggregation contracts to require more locally sourced renewable energy through long-term power purchasing agreements, including labor standards and apprenticeship-utilization requirements. 
  • City leaders educate state and federal officials on the success of, and need to increase funding for,  Cleveland’s Home Weatherization Assistance Program (HWAP) for low-income weatherization, and continue to prioritize the hiring of local weatherization contractors.
  • Urge Ohio’s Congressional delegation to stand up for Cleveland’s most vulnerable and vocally oppose any state or federal efforts to impede clean energy development or worsen air quality standards. 
  • Promote state and federal funding for growing a clean and efficient manufacturing sector, including for the purposes of industrial efficiency, repurposing industrial areas into eco-industrial parks, and growing the local supply chain for the environmentally and socially responsible products of the future.

Measures of Success

  • Cleveland is recognized nationally as a clean energy innovator due to its bold action on climate change and success in equitably achieving climate mitigation, and growing the number of manufacturers involved in the clean energy supply chair, and people employed in the clean energy sector.
  • Cleveland neighborhoods have installed at least 10 megawatts of community-owned solar projects by 2025 and residential, small business, and nonprofits have deployed at least 3 megawatts of rooftop solar by 2025. 
  • CPP has increased its competitive edge over FirstEnergy (Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company) because it has embraced more forward-thinking policies and programs like community solar, energy efficiency rebate programs, and smaller renewable energy projects within the city.
  • The City of Cleveland meets its renewable energy goals and carbon neutrality goals through innovative and bold initiatives being carried forward by CPP, the administration, the city’s community choice aggregation plan, neighborhood groups, and local clean energy advocates. 
  • The governance and operations of CPP is much more transparent and accessible to citizen input and oversight.
  • Cleveland residents that suffer from asthma and other respiratory illnesses experience fewer bad air days by 2025.