Currently viewing the tag: "Environment"

 

Channel Ten is saying there were thousands of us protesting Fracking in Columbus, Ohio on Sunday. I’ve never been any good at estimating crowd size, so I’ll take their word for it. In my blog post about it on Wednesday I estimated that there would be hundreds of us. Look at that. I’m conservative.

Leaders in the fight against fracking came to Columbus from all over the state and from all over the country. On Saturday I had one on one interviews with both Bill McKibben and Josh Fox. On Sunday I documented the protest [...]

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If you live in Ohio perhaps you saw this go viral on Facebook last week…

It’s a photograph of Columbus created by local artist, Larry Hamill. I called and asked if I could use it for this blog post and he very generously said yes. Please pay a visit to his Facebook page and say thank you.

When I look at this beautiful image I’m reminded of how central water is to our lives. Columbus is built around water. The clouds in the sky are made of water. The bodies of all [...]

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Yesterday, the Kasich Administration announced that the Director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources was leaving the Cabinet… to become the energy industry “manager” position in Jobs Ohio.  As the Dispatch put it:

He moves from a post as director of the state Department of Natural Resources to a seat as energy manager for JobsOhio, Gov. John Kasich’s newly privatized development effort. Assistant Natural Resources Director Scott Zody will take over as interim chief of the agency.

Some of the new drilling might come on state lands he used to supervise; legislation passed this year allows [...]

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You may have read recently about a bill that would set limits for withdrawals of water from Lake Erie. The Ohio Environmental Council explains well why it’s a bad piece of policy, but in short, HB 231 allows massive, unregulated withdrawals of water by industry from the shallowest of the Great Lakes.

The bill has been so rushed and is so problematic to the integrity of the eight-state agreement known as the Great Lakes Compact (whose primary goal was to preempt against diversions of Great Lakes water to other states and countries), that former GOP governors [...]

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It’s hard to capture every nuisance and change in the budget when it takes the Senate GOP caucus fifteen pages just to describe the amendments, and I haven’t the time (or yet present ability) to read the amendments myself.

WHAT’S OUT:

Workers Compensation Council. InnovationOhio was quick to declare a partial victory in that the Ohio Senate’s omnibus budget amendment eliminates the unstaffed Workers Compensation Council.  That’s pretty remarkable when you consider ordinarily such a move should have been made in the separate budget for Workers Compensation that has already been signed into law.  Also, we all know that [...]

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(HT: ProgressOhio)

You might recall that while some were challenging the constitutional eligibility of former Kasich Ohio Department of Development Director Mark Kvamme to serve in Kasich’s Cabinet, we also suggested that the same constitutional prohibition applied to Kasich’s appointment to head the Ohio EPA, former Indiana state official Scott Nally.

Today, the Associated Press concluded that the Kasich Administration’s legal counsel apparently concluded we were correct:

Gov. John Kasich withdrew paperwork nominating an EPA director from out of state and resubmitted it after the man registered as an Ohio voter, according to state records [...]

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 The challenging economic environment has always meant a tough budget balancing act for the Governor and his policy makers.  Ohio is dealing with a projected $8 billion shortfall, which is the context for the administration’s mathematical acrobatics. 

Both the Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel and the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio are funded through assessments paid by utilities, not funded through the state’s general revenue fund (In other words, not funded by taxpayer dollars).  The cuts then do not directly save taxpayer funds.

Theoretically, if the fees on utilities are lessened, then those savings could be passed [...]

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Holy journalism degree, Batman!

Here’s what happened.  On Friday, Governor Kasich hastily called a press conference featuring his new Ohio EPA director Scott Nally.   At the conference, Nally signed a clean air permit for a company in eastern Ohio.  Kasich said that the permit had languished for over twenty months, but after a few phone calls between his new EPA Director and the company and blammo–all the issues were finally resolved and the State could issue a permit.

And that’s exactly how the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported it, just as the Kasich Administration had hoped:

"This is a [...]

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From the Columbus Dispatch, we learn that Governor Kasich’s top priority for his Indiana pick to head the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency is… to issue permits to pollute quicker.

Kasich, then governor-elect, said Scott Nally’s main goal is to cut bureaucratic delays at the Ohio EPA that hold up pollution permits businesses must obtain before they can begin operating.

The delays, the governor said, create a backlog and stall job creation.

"Guys around the state, you mention the EPA to them and they have palpitations," Kasich said. "Delays and paperwork and bureaucracy is going to come to an [...]

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Not even the Columbus Dispatch could report Kasich’s appointment of a former megafarm’s point person on keeping environmental regulators at bay and an Dubai oil and gas executive to the Ohio EPA and ODNR yesterday with a straight face:

"These departments are going to send a message to Ohio that we are open for business," Kasich said in naming Scott Nally of Indiana as head of the EPA and former American Electric Power executive David Mustine as director of Natural Resources.

Kasich, a former Republican congressman who will take office Jan. 10, emphasized that he doesn’t plan to [...]

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Jesus Christ, on a cracker, I just thought it was a bad optic to have an oil and gas industry executive to head ODNR.  But according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, it’s why Kasich is appointing Mustine:

"He’s a businessman. He understands the various issues on developing resources and being able to think outside of the box," Kasich said.

Kasich indicated that he’s open to the idea of drilling for oil and gas under state parkland – an idea that has been kicked around by Republican lawmakers in the last few legislative cycles but never fully adopted.

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