In honor of Earth Day, Ohio Republicans and Donald Trump in the White House have unleashed a two-prong attack to destroy clean air and clean water in the Buckeye State.
Ohio House Republicans destroy renewable energy
The Ohio House Republicans pushed through a bill ending government assistance for renewal wind and solar power in Ohio. By a 65 to 29 vote, House Bill 114 passed and will now go on to the Senate. Governor John Kasich vetoed similar legislation in December 2016. There were 66 House Republicans and it only takes 60 to override a veto. It would take 20 votes to override a Kasich veto in the Senate. Last December’s veto only garnered 18 Senate votes.
According to Green Energy Ohio, “The case for renewable energy is stronger than ever as new 2016 data shows one out of every 50 new U.S. jobs are in solar. The rapidly declining prices for solar and wind are moving utilities to install renewable energy along with natural gas for new power generating plants.” The amount of jobs in the solar power industry alone doubled between 2012-2015 and the number of solar power workers increased by 51,000 in 2016 to reach a total of 260,000 workers, reported Ohio Citizen Action.
Renewal energy is not only being attacked in the Buckeye State, but federally too, as Trump has already began dismantling President Obama’s Clean Power Plan. The Trump administration has ordered its Department of Energy staffers to quit using the phrases “climate change” and “emission reduction.” The public’s health, cheaper energy bills and new high-tech jobs in wind and solar power are at stake and the unleashing of dirty coal is already under way.
Trump embraces environmental holocaust as climate change denier
Trump’s actions have lifted the ban on coal companies that forbade them to sign leases on federally owned land. Pollution standards will be lowered at power plants and deregulation will put both the air and water at greater risk.
According to the Environmental Defense Fund, Trump is relaxing enforcement against illegal polluters. He proposed significant cuts to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency EPA budget, which accounts for only 2/10ths of one percent of all federal spending. He is also pushing to “roll back the regulatory state” by lowering pollution standards. The Environmental Defense Fund also accuses Trump and his EPA appointment Scott Pruitt of using “misinformation” to justify weakening the EPA. Both Pruitt and Trump are “climate change deniers.”
It should be no surprise that the Trump administration’s environmental approach caused his own EPA to mistakenly send out a press release condemning his executive order on climate change. However, they did apologize to Trump later. The press release quoted Republican U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito from West Virginia saying: “With this Executive Order, President Trump has chosen to recklessly bury his head in the sand. Walking away from the Clean Power Plan and other climate initiatives including critical resiliency projects is not just irresponsible – it’s irrational.”
Whitman warns of Trump’s attack on Great Lakes
Christine Todd Whitman, who ran George W. Bush’s EPA, says that Trump’s cuts to the Agency would endanger people’s lives. One of her big fears is that the budget won’t be enough to protect the Great Lakes. Writing in The Atlantic, Whitman noted: “Perhaps the greatest threat the new budget poses is to several vital bodies of water. Trump’s budget would reduce funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GRLI) by more than 90 percent, from $30 million to $10 million.”
Rob Portman, Ohio Republican Senator, told Cleveland.com he is “…committed to continuing to do everything I can to protect and preserve Lake Erie, including preserving this critical program and its funding.” He pointed out that Ohio benefits from a healthy Lake Erie and that GRLI’s efforts to preserve the lake “generates more than $80 million” for the state.
The federal government has been partnering with states like Ohio to provide local grants to mitigate threats against the Great Lakes ecosystem. One area of eminent concern is the drinking water in Toledo. Massive algae blooms created a state of emergency in the Toledo area in August 2014, as Ohio’s 4th largest city had to warn citizens not to drink the water.
The Toledo drinking ban affected at least 500,000 area residents. Lake Erie will once again risk the label attached to it in the 1960s as a “dead lake.” The Great Lakes are the largest fresh water source on the planet – estimated to hold 84 percent of all of North America’s surface fresh water and 21 percent of the world’s fresh water surface supply. The Great Lakes ecosystem provides drinking water to approximately 40 million people in the U.S. and Canada.
A ray of Hope: New book for Earth Day
Also coming out just in time for Earth Day is “Climate of Hope” by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Carl Pope, former Sierra Club Executive Director. The book advocates that cities, businesses and people take bolder action for renewable energy making whatever the Trump administration does irrelevant. The billionaire Bloomberg’s various media outlets have been one of the sanest and more rational voices on the practicality of using renewable energy.