Person with a questionWhy isn't the Ohio EPA taking care of this?

News from 1999 - 2001

Dec 21, 2001: EPA rejects clean-air plan

COLUMBUS -- "Ohio officials have boasted for the past year that their proposal to reduce smog-producing pollution would go beyond what federal law requires to protect public health. But the state's idea apparently has been shot down. . . The plan would have given utilities a break on a deadline to reduce nitrogen-oxide emissions if they installed new technology to reduce several other sources of pollution from coal-fired power plants. . . 'That's just unacceptable,' said John Paskevicz, an engineer at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's regional office in Chicago. 'If you let a bunch of (pollution) sources off the hook, it hurts everybody downwind,'" Michael Hawthorne, Columbus Dispatch.

Dec 11, 2001: Transcripts of the scorching Nov 13 hearing on Ohio EPA failings

CHICAGO -- The U.S. EPA spent 20 months investigating the Ohio EPA's performance in response to a petition submitted by four Ohio statewide environmental organizations, and then issued a draft report in September. At a November 13 hearing, agency officials heard harsh public comments, transcripts of which are now available on-line. The agency will accept written comments until January 14, 2002.

Dec 5, 2001: Input sought on Ohio EPA performance

CHICAGO -- "The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s regional office in Chicago has spent nearly two years evaluating the Ohio EPA’s track record of carrying out federal mandates at the state level. The special investigation began in January, 2000, after statewide environmental groups presented enough evidence to convince federal officials of the need for such an audit," Toledo Blade.

Dec 3, 2001: U.S. EPA extends comment period on its review of Ohio environmental programs

CHICAGO -- "The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 has extended the comment period on its review of Ohio environmental programs to January 14, 2002. Comments must be postmarked by January 14, 2002, and sent to Robert Paulson, P-19J, U.S. EPA, 77 West Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL 60604. FAX (312) 353-1155," release, U.S. EPA Region 5.

Nov 26, 2001: Battle clouds future of utilities

JEFFERSON -- "In the rolling Appalachian foothills just north of Steubenville looms the W.H. Sammis Plant, a monster electric plant as tall as Cleveland Browns Stadium and nearly twice as long. . . Sammis and five other plants like it in Ohio, built in the 1950s and 1960s, are at the heart of a complex battle whose outcome will determine how the federal government controls air pollution at these power plants. . . Opponents argue that over the last two decades, power companies spent millions of dollars to resuscitate dying plants by replacing major components, basically putting a new engine in an old car, but without improving pollution control equipment to modern standards," John Kuehner, Cleveland Plain Dealer

Nov 15, 2001: While EPA slept: Years after the agency was put in charge of contaminated Middlefield, the truth came out

MIDDLEFIELD -- "Middlefield and the surrounding township are host to the nation's third-largest Amish settlement. . . Seven years ago, scientists found a host of volatile chemicals slipping beneath the soil of a factory and into the groundwater around Middlefield. . . Residents still don't know how to pronounce the long, scary names, but they look at their neighbors and see neurological diseases, leukemia, and autism. Some residents say that nearly every house in town has suffered illness, from cancer to rare muscle disorders," Sarah Fenske, Cleveland Scene.

Nov 14, 2001: EPA won't revoke state's enforcement powers

WORTHINGTON -- "'Every day we hear of new threats of nuclear, biological and chemical warfare,' said Pauline Leboda of Elyria. 'We have lived with the threat of chemical exposure for many years. The only difference is this chemical exposure is allowed by our own government.' Leboda and other neighbors of the Nylonge sponge plant in Elyria complained for years about the plant's emissions of carbon disulfide, a flammable liquid that, at high levels, can cause neurological damage. The Ohio EPA allowed the company to operate without a permit from 1990 to 1995.. . . 'Considering what the [Middletown AK Steel] plant's neighbors are going through, it's as if the Clean Air Act was never enacted in Ohio,' Sierra Club member Marilyn Wall said as she passed around plastic bags filled with soot collected from homes near the steel plant," Michael Hawthorne, Columbus Dispatch.

WORTHINGTON -- "Citizens recount concerns, frustrations with Ohio EPA," Paul Kostyu, Canton Repository.

WORTHINGTON -- "Ohio EPA report not a good one; Agency's problems could result in a federal takeover," Dale Dempsey, Dayton Daily News.

Nov 13, 2001: Ohioans meet to voice concern over local EPA

WORTHINGTON -- "'They don't have the ability to clean it up,' said Ron Duncan. Ron and Laura Duncan are talking about their drinking water, which they said is contaminated. The Duncans drove 170 miles from their home in Middlefield to ask the feds to clean up their wells because they said the state has done nothing. 'It’s very frustrating. What upsets me the most is the knowledge they've had since 1994 about this contamination and done nothing to try to find the source,' said Laura Duncan, concerned citizen," Nancy Burton, TV 4 (NBC) Columbus Associated Press.

WORTHINGTON -- "Ill residents complain of slow state response to pollution," Carrie Spencer, Associated Press.

WORTHINGTON -- "U.S. EPA review at a glance," Associated Press.

WORTHINGTON -- "Public hearings of the Ohio EPA review," Rob Schober, Ohio Public Radio.

WORTHINGTON -- "Who's protecting the people?," testimony, Mark Seelig, Urbana.

WORTHINGTON -- "Citizens scorch Ohio EPA," Jennifer O'Donnell, release, Ohio Citizen Action.

Background on hearing

Nov 12, 2001: Public hearing on the Ohio EPA

COLUMBUS -- "The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is holding an unusual public hearing Tuesday in suburban Columbus. It's being held to give average citizens a chance to sound off about the Ohio EPA, which has been criticized as lackluster by both the federal agency and environmental activist groups," Bill Cohen, Ohio Public Radio.

Nov 12, 2001: Embattled EPA nominee wins Navy job

WASHINGTON, DC -- "After withdrawing from a controversial nomination for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's top enforcement officer, former Ohio EPA director Donald Schregardus has turned to the U.S. Navy. Schregardus was expected to start Tuesday his new job as deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for the environment, a position that does not require Senate confirmation. . . Sandy Buchanan of Ohio Citizen Action said the biggest problem people who live near military waste sites run into is getting information from the government. 'When you look at Schregardus' track record, which is that he is perfectly comfortable with environmental secrecy, well, then I think it does not bode well,' she said. 'The problem that citizens already have with these sites will be exacerbated,'" Malia Rulon, Associated Press.

Nov 9, 2001: Press advisory: Citizens to urge U.S. EPA to revoke Ohio’s enforcement authority

AKRON -- "The U.S. EPA is seeking comment on its report, released in September, that made national news and sunk the nomination of former Ohio EPA chief Donald Schregardus to the top enforcement post with the federal agency. . . Citizen leaders will describe their local fights to get the agency to do its job at a news conference before the start of the hearing. . . At the news conference, citizens will stuff a 5’7" by 3’ suggestion box for Governor Taft with thousands of pink slips for Ohio EPA director Christopher Jones," Jennifer O'Donnell, Ohio Citizen Action.

Nov 7, 2001: Key Findings: U.S. EPA Review of Ohio EPA’s Performance: Here's your homework assignment for the November 13 U.S. EPA public hearing: Study this fact sheet

AKRON -- "The report also listed 'more serious' problems: Ohio has fallen behind the statutory and regulatory timetable for issuing final federal air permits; Ohio has not implemented an acid rain program; and it has not obtained 'sanitized' versions of federal air permit applications from applicants with confidential claims, which are to be made available to the public — so that some applications have been withheld from public review for more than four years. The federal agency is also concerned that Ohio has been modifying certain permits administratively without the public notice and comment required by law. These inadequacies, if left uncorrected, could also result in Ohio losing enforcement authority," Jennifer O'Donnell, Ohio Citizen Action.

Oct 24, 2001: Ohio EPA under investigation: U.S. EPA to hold public hearing Nov 13

WORTHINGTON -- "For 20 months, the U.S. EPA has been reviewing Ohio EPA's performance at the prompting of four Ohio organizations: Ohio Citizen Action, Sierra Club Ohio, Rivers Unlimited, and Ohio PIRG. On September 4, the U.S. EPA released a scathing draft report, and the next step is a public hearing in Columbus on November 13," Jennifer O'Donnell, Ohio Citizen Action.

Oct 23, 2001: Ohio EPA finds "significant" errors in federal review of its programs

WASHINGTON, DC -- "Environmentalists are standing by the report. 'It's a document that shows exactly what we've been charging, which is an agency that has stopped enforcing the laws,' said Sandy Buchanan of Ohio Citizen Action. She and others are planning a strong showing at the public hearing. 'We're concerned that one of the things that's missing in all of this is the citizens whose lives have been directly harmed by what the Ohio EPA has been doing,' she said. 'And there are lots and lots of them,'" Malia Rulon, Associated Press.

Ohio EPA statement in full

Sep 25, 2001: Where there's smoke . . . Spin it any way you like, but the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's recent draft report on the Ohio EPA doesn't inspire much confidence in the state agency

CLEVELAND -- "And the blame for that rests on former Ohio EPA Director Donald Schregardus, who last week wisely withdrew his nomination for a top post at the U.S. EPA. . . . It seemed reasonable, however, to give Schregardus a chance - until the report on the Ohio EPA emerged. It stopped short of calling for a federal takeover of Ohio's air pollution programs, but it emphatically stated that proceedings for a takeover could begin if the agency's performance does not improve," editorial, Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Sep 7, 2001: Obstacles grow for EPA pick: Agency report criticizes Schregardus's tenure as Ohio director

WASHINGTON, DC -- "Key Republicans and Democrats agreed yesterday that the nomination was hopelessly stalled. . . 'It's outrageous,' [Sen. Barbara Boxer (CA)] said. 'There are 280 million people in America, and they pick the one guy to be chief environmental enforcement officer who is under an enormous cloud . . .The EPA report issued earlier this week buttressed claims by environmentalists that Schregardus was lax during his tenure in Ohio. The report said that from 1995 to 2000, the Ohio environmental agency lacked enough employees to protect air quality, had an inadequate training program, failed to scrutinize polluters' claims about their activities and had allowed a precipitous decline in investigations of violators. If uncorrected, EPA's complaint could lead to its revoking the state's authority to enforce federal pollution laws,'" Eric Pianin and John Mintz, Washington Post.

WASHINGTON, DC -- "Ohioan's EPA nomination is on life support," Tom Diemer, Cleveland Plain Dealer.

TOLEDO -- "Where the buck stops," editorial, Toledo Blade.

Sep 6, 2001: New scrutiny for EPA nominee: A dismal report on Ohio agency prompts Jeffords to review its former chief's fitness for a key federal post

WASHINGTON, DC -- "Flexing his new authority as chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Sen. James M. Jeffords said Wednesday he will take a second, harder look at President Bush's nominee for the Environmental Protection Agency's top enforcement job. The committee approved the nomination of Donald Schregardus as an EPA assistant administrator last month but will now probe his background more thoroughly because of a new, dismal report on Ohio's EPA, which Schregardus headed for most of the last decade," Elizabeth Shogren, Los Angeles Times.

WASHINGTON, DC -- "Senate Democrats say nominees could lose confirmation battles". "A committee source called [Schregardus'] nomination essentially 'dead.'" Karen DeYoung, Amy Goldstein, Washington Post.

WASHINGTON, DC -- "New woes for U.S. EPA nominee," Katharine Q. Seelye, New York Times.

WASHINGTON, DC -- "Senate opens new inquiry on Schregardus nomination," Cleveland Plain Dealer.

WASHINGTON, DC -- "Lack of support for EPA nominee; Voinovich rips Bush officials." "With Senate Democrats blocking a floor vote on Schregardus' nomination, Voinovich said U.S. EPA officials "ought to get their act together. If they want the guy, they ought to go after him. If they don't want the guy, then they're not going to get him. 'I'm upset about it because I think they've led him down the pearly path, and now (that) he needs some help, they ought to stand up and be counted.' Voinovich said he was willing to talk to wavering senators about Schregardus, but he pointedly said, 'I'm not going to go out of my way. . . . This is the administration's job to do it. OK? And if they're not willing to fight for him . . . then they're not going to get him.'" Jack Torry, Columbus Dispatch.

Sep 5, 2001:Ohio EPA told to clean up its act

COLUMBUS -- "The federal government could take over enforcement of national clean-air laws from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency if the state does not improve its policing efforts. The U.S. EPA issued the warning in a 224-page preliminary report yesterday that reviews how the Ohio EPA monitors and enforces national air, water and hazardous waste laws. . . . The groups' attorney, D. David Altman, said the U.S. EPA found problems by talking only to agency employees and reviewing agency records. He had given the federal authorities affidavits of 75 residents, none of whom were contacted," John C. Kuehner, Cleveland Plain Dealer.

WASHINGTON, DC -- "U.S. EPA faults Ohio agency headed by a Bush nominee," Katharine Q. Seelye, New York Times.

WASHINGTON, DC -- "U.S. EPA report hurts Bush nominee for enforcement chief," Traci Watson, USA TODAY.

WASHINGTON, DC -- "Ohio in hot water over air quality; U.S. EPA calls for reforms," Derrick DePledge, Cincinnati Enquirer.

WASHINGTON, DC -- "Critique of Ohio's pollution plan raises hurdle for Bush nominee," John J. Fialka, Wall Street Journal.

WASHINGTON, DC -- "U.S. EPA warns Ohio on air pollution program," Reuters.

WASHINGTON, DC -- "U.S. EPA won't strip Ohio agency authority," Malia Rulon, Associated Press.

WASHINGTON, DC -- "EPA finds problems with Ohio agency in most extensive report ever," Malia Rulon, Associated Press.

WASHINGTON, DC -- "EPA report: problems, recommendations and the state's response," Malia Rulon, Associated Press.

AKRON -- "Ohio EPA survives scrutiny; Environmental groups pleased federal agency seeking changes in certain state programs after review," Bob Downing, Akron Beacon Journal.

Sep 4, 2001: Sandy Buchanan says draft report is a "withering indictment" of Ohio EPA's clean air program

CLEVELAND -- "Instead of throwing the nomination of [former Ohio EPA director] Donald Schregardus a life preserver, the U.S. EPA may have thrown him an anchor.
This draft report is a withering indictment of Ohio EPA's clean air program, verifying the issues the petitioners raised. The report says if the Ohio EPA does not make major corrections, the U.S. EPA may begin withdrawal proceedings.
When Ohio EPA Director Chris Jones says the agency is off the hook, he's wrong. Apparently he didn't make it to the bottom of page 1 of the report which says this does not constitute a final decision or a rejection of the petition.
The agency admits it has not talked much to average citizens affected by the Ohio EPA. Citizens are supposed to have an opportunity to respond to the report and give testimony at the public meeting. This is the beginning of a process, not the end," Sandy Buchanan, Executive Director, Ohio Citizen Action.

Sep 4, 2001: U.S. EPA releases draft Ohio EPA Program Review

CHICAGO -- "The U.S. EPA has asked the state to review the draft document and provide comments within 30 days. After providing the public at least 30 days to review the report, the U.S. EPA will hold a public meeting in Columbus, Ohio. That will be followed by a 30-day comment period, after which the report will be finalized," U.S. EPA Region 5.
U.S. EPA Region 5 Press Release.

WASHINGTON, DC -- "U.S. EPA releases positive report in wake of Schregardus nomination," Malia Rulon, Associated Press.
"'The information we have received thus far about the EPA report on the Ohio investigation does not appear to resolve Senator [Barbara] Boxer's concerns about the Schregardus nomination,' said Boxer's spokesman, David Sandretti. New Jersey Sens. Jon S. Corzine and Robert Torricelli, both Democrats, said the report did little to ease their air quality concerns regarding Schregardus' nomination. 'You can add this report to growing list of reasons why Donald Schregardus is the wrong choice for this position,' Torricelli said. 'We need strong leadership in the EPA if we are to clean our environment and I am not convinced that Mr. Schregardus could provide it.'"

COLUMBUS -- "Ohio EPA runs effective environmental enforcement programs; U.S. EPA report says federal agency won't take over," release, Ohio EPA.

CLEVELAND -- "Petitioners statement prior to the release of the draft U.S. EPA report on the Ohio EPA," Ohio Citizen Action, Ohio Chapter of the Sierra Club, Rivers Unlimited, Ohio Public Interest Research Group

WASHINGTON, DC -- "Environmental concerns about controversial federal enforcement nominee confirmed says Earthjustice's White House Watch," release, Earthjustice.

Sep 1, 2001:
U.S. rejects bid to whack Ohio EPA's authority

COLUMBUS -- "The decision, announced in a letter sent by U.S. EPA Regional Director Thomas V. Skinner, comes as the administration is fighting to secure Senate confirmation of former Ohio EPA Director Donald R. Schregardus for a job as the federal agency's top enforcer," Michael Hawthorne, Columbus Dispatch.

Aug 31, 2001: U.S. EPA threatens to pull Ohio EPA's authority over Clean Air Act enforcement

CHICAGO -- "Enclose please find a preliminary draft of U.S. EPA Region 5's report on its review of eight Ohio environmental programs . . . As the draft report indicates, we have not found grounds for withdrawal of the RCRA [hazardous waste] or CWA [Clean Water Act] programs (contingent on Ohio's fulfillment of the commitments it has made and the actions it has begun). We conclude not only that Ohio's legal environmental enforcement offices and criminal enforcement program are acceptable, but that your criminal enforcement ranks among the top in the nation. With regard to certain CAA [Clean Air Act] programs, we are recommending that OEPA promptly initiate specific steps in order to avoid the possible withdrawal of the programs," letter from Thomas Skinner, Regional Administrator, U.S. EPA Region 5, to Ohio EPA Director Chris Jones and Ohio Attorney General Betty Montgomery.

Jul 31, 2001: State, federal agencies reach agreement

COLUMBUS -- "Under the agreement, the U.S. EPA endorsed Ohio's Voluntary Action Program, which has helped to clean up about 130 sites since 1997. ... The program allows Ohio business to clean up polluted sites and be freed from most civil liability once the state gives the site its approval," John McCarthy, Associated Press.

COLUMBUS -- "State, U.S. pact prods firms to clean up urban pollution," James Drew, Toledo Blade.

COLUMBUS -- "Environmentalists and EPA agree on brownfields," Jo Ingles, Ohio Public Radio.

Jul 30, 2001: State attorney's penalty collection hits seven-year low

COLUMBUS -- "The report, obtained by The Dispatch last week, also shows that at the end of last year, 71 unresolved cases referred to Montgomery's office by the EPA were more than three years old. EPA officials compiled the statistics in response to an unprecedented review of the state's enforcement efforts by the U.S. EPA. Four environmental groups -- Ohio Citizen Action, the Ohio Public Interest Research Group, Rivers Unlimited and the Sierra Club -- asked the federal agency last year to strip Ohio of its authority to enforce federal anti-pollution laws," Michael Hawthorne, Columbus Dispatch.

COLUMBUS -- "Agency sets clean docket as goal," John McCarthy, Associated Press.

Jul 22, 2001: A change in environmental policing: Bush plans to shift some EPA enforcement to states

WASHINGTON, DC -- "After widespread complaints from four environmental groups, the EPA last year launched an unprecedented review of virtually every aspect of [Ohio's] enforcement operations, involving more than 30 EPA lawyers and staff. The environmental groups — Ohio Citizen Action, the Ohio Public Interest Research Group, Rivers Unlimited and the Sierra Club — have asked the EPA to revoke Ohio’s authority to enforce federal laws governing air, water and hazardous waste and to bring in federal regulators. EPA officials say they hope to issue a preliminary report late this year,'" Eric Pianin, Washington Post.

Jul 21, 2001: Ohio top polluter in U.S., Canada: Report's findings largely blamed on emissions of coal, chemical plants

MONTREAL, QUEBEC -- "Ohio's overall total for on-site and off-site disposal of 165 toxic chemicals in 1998 was 358 million pounds. That represents 8 percent of the total toxic chemicals tracked in the report. No. 2 on the list was Texas. Pennsylvania was third, Ontario fourth and Indiana fifth. Together, Ohio, Ontario and the other three states accounted for 35 percent of all releases and transfers of toxic chemicals in North America. ... Randy Leffler, of the Ohio Manufacturing Association, said the data does little more than indicate that Ohio is 'a very strong manufacturing state . . . and is not indicative of environmental problems,'" Bob Downing, Akron Beacon Journal.

Commission for Environmental Cooperation report.

Ju1 11, 2001: Hearing over more than air; Environmentalists push for enforcement, power representatives say rules too vague, contradictory

CINCINNATI -- "'Our message . . . is that illegal pollution needs to stop, and the Clean Air Act needs to be enforced, not gutted,' said Simona Vaclavikova of Ohio Citizen Action. 'People's health and lives depend on it,'," Bob Downing, Akron Beacon Journal

CINCINNATI -- EPA Hears 'Clean Air' Opinions, John Nolan, Associated Press

CINCINNATI -- Session debates EPA rules; Efficiency, bad health may jump, Tom O'Neill, Cincinnati Enquirer

CINCINNATI -- Criticism and support for rules on clean air, Joseph Kahn, New York Times

CINCINNATI -- Greens blast Bush loophole, Anthony York, Salon

Ju1 10, 2001: New study: Power to kill: Death and disease from power plants charged with violating the Clean Air Act

WASHINGTON, DC -- "Pollution from the [7 Ohio power plants and 44 others given special U.S. EPA treatment] leads to between 107,000 and 170,000 asthma attacks each year. Between 80,000 and 120,000 of these asthma attacks could be avoided by requiring these plants to meet modern pollution standards as required by law," Clear the Air coalition

CINCINNATI -- EPA begins review of pollution rules, John Kuehner, Cleveland Plain Dealer

CINCINNATI -- EPA hearing brings activists; Keep current rules, groups insist, Tim Bonfield, Cincinnati Enquirer

Jun 14, 2001: Groups dispute permit process; Environmentalists' report says method for plants burning coal, major industries flawed. EPA disagrees

COLUMBUS -- "'Ohioans should be able to count on the fact that when a law is on the books, their state government is doing everything it can to make sure that it's complied with,' said Simona Vaclavikova of Citizen Action," Bob Downing, Akron Beacon Journal.

Full Permit to Pollute report.

Statement of Margaret Lazer.

Statement of Simona Vaclavikova, Ohio Citizen Action.

COLUMBUS -- Environmental groups protest slow pollution enforcement, Julie Carr Smyth, Cleveland Plain Dealer

COLUMBUS -- Environmental groups say Ohio does not enforce clean air laws, Ohio News Network

COLUMBUS -- Running out of breath; A new report finds that Ohio is failing at clean air enforcement, J. Caleb Mozzocco, Columbus Alive

May 18, 2001: Policy clouds clean-air fight; Suits against dirty Ohio power plants may go up in smoke under Bush's energy plan

COLUMBUS -- "Two sentences in the Bush administration's 163-page energy policy could change the energy and environmental landscape in Ohio for years. ... The move could allow Ohio power plants with antiquated pollution control systems to continue polluting indefinitely, angering East Coast neighbors who vow to continue legal efforts to clean up Ohio's utilities," Margaret Newkirk, Bob Downing, Akron Beacon Journal.

Apr 11, 2001: Ohio utilities remain biggest air polluters

AKRON -- "For the second straight year, Ohio's coal-burning utilities were the top air polluters listed in the federal Toxic Release Inventory. Air pollution gets the most attention because of the potential impacts on neighboring states. Ohio ranked No. 1 in the country for air pollution in 1998, when utilities were added for the first time to the federal list. It ranked 14th for water releases, seventh for on-site disposal and third for deep-well injection," Bob Downing, Akron Beacon Journal.

Mar 8, 2001: Noreen Warnock levels Chris Jones at Ohio EPA budget hearing

COLUMBUS -- "Rather than heeding these earlier decisions, the agency continued to waste public funds by appealing the case, and in fact, is still appealing the case on principle in federal court. By fighting Mr. Jayko for years, the Ohio EPA got itself in a position of paying a much-deserved $385,000 settlement to Mr. Jayko and its attorneys. By continuing to appeal the principle of the case, the Ohio EPA is sending a message to its other employees that they should not dare to follow their own consciences. ... It is clear to us, and to citizens across Ohio, that this is agency needs new leadership, starting at the top. Changes at this agency should be a condition of the investment of any further tax dollars in its work," testimony to Agriculture and Development Subcommmittee, Ohio House Finance Committee, Noreen Warnock, Ohio Citizen Action.

Feb 28, 2001:  [U.S.] EPA's authority on air rules wins Supreme Court's backing

WASHINGTON, DC -- "The Supreme Court today unanimously and decisively rejected an industry attack on the Clean Air Act in one of the court's most important environmental rulings in years. In an opinion by Justice Antonin Scalia, the court ruled that in setting national air quality standards, the Environmental Protection Agency must consider only the requirements of public health and safety and may not engage in the cost-benefit analysis that a coalition of industry groups sought to import into the statute," (Linda Greenhouse, New York Times).
Full text of opinion, Whitman v. American Trucking Association, Inc., 250 KB .pdf.
AKRON -- "Clean-air ruling won't halt battle; Court upholds way EPA standards set; Fight will likely shift to Congress," Bob Downing, Akron Beacon Journal.
WASHINGTON, DC -- "Clean air ruling dismays industry; Justices bar cost factor in setting pollution limit," Sabrina Eaton, Cleveland Plain Dealer.
COLUMBUS -- "Verdict raises specter of car emission tests; EPA reaction to affect area," Tom Henry, Toledo Blade.

Jan 24, 2001: Group asks Taft to fire EPA director

COLUMBUS -- East Liverpool Review.

COLUMBUS -- "State EPA chief has Taft's support," Akron Beacon Journal.

Jan 23, 2001: Group asks governor to fire EPA director

CLEVELAND -- Akron Beacon Journal.

COLUMBUS -- "Groups attack Ohio EPA brownfields program; Environmentalists take Taft to task for poor performance," Julie Carr Smyth, Cleveland Plain Dealer.

COLUMBUS -- "Some challenge brownfields plan," William Hershey, Dayton Daily News.

Jan 22, 2001: Citizen Action to Taft: Fire EPA chief

CLEVELAND -- "Ohio Citizen Action, the state’s largest environmental and consumer organization, today called on Governor Bob Taft to make a "fresh start" at the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. 'The Ohio EPA has been scandal-ridden throughout the first two years of the Taft administration,' said Ohio Citizen Action Executive Director Sandy Buchanan. 'It’s time for the Governor to pay attention to the chaos at the agency and re-orient it to protect the health and safety of Ohioans,'" release, Ohio Citizen Action.

Dec 24, 2000: Governor gets good marks, but biggest tests still ahead; Assessing Taft: The halfway point

COLUMBUS -- "Sandy Buchanan, executive director of the advocacy group Ohio Citizen Action, gave Taft a low grade because of what she called his unwillingness to overhaul the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. 'It's been very disappointing to us to see over and over again the combative attitude the Ohio EPA has,' Buchanan said. 'There has been a belligerence to citizens trying to work to clean up sites and an almost apologetic attitude toward polluters,'" Alan Johnson, Columbus Dispatch.

Jan 10, 2001: Air war

AKRON -- "Pollution controls do not translate into economic devastation. At the 30-year mark, the state has enjoyed unprecedented prosperity," editorial, Akron Beacon Journal.

Jan 10, 2001: Fatal beauty

INLET, NY -- "[U.S. Senator George] Voinovich's overall argument is disingenuous. East Coast states have taken many other measures -- far more stringent than any in Ohio -- to clean up factories and power plants, including regional nitrogen oxide limits that were stricter than those required by the federal EPA," Bob Downing, Margaret Newkirk, Akron Beacon Journal.

AKRON -- Many factors could change clean air rules, Akron Beacon Journal

AKRON -- Ohioans can make impact, Akron Beacon Journal

Jan 9, 2001: Power brokers

COLUMBUS -- "State Rep. Jerry Krupinski, D-Steubenville, remembers running into [Mitch Boich] in 1988 at the Galleria restaurant in Columbus, shortly after then-Gov. Richard Celeste and then-Gov. Mario Cuomo of New York proposed a national tax to help Ohio pay to clean up its power plants. In hindsight, the proposal would have been a boon to Ohio coal and its utilities. It not only would have forced the utility investment in technology that coal so badly needed, but it also would have provided a revenue stream to help pay for it. Ohio coal wasn't interested. Boich told Krupinski he was headed across the street to the Statehouse to 'kick Dick Celeste's ass,' Krupinski said. 'I was pretty impressed,' he said," Margaret Newkirk, Akron Beacon Journal.

COLUMBUS -- Allowances cause rise in pollution by utility, Margaret Newkirk, Akron Beacon Journal

Jan 8, 2001: Coal loses clout

COLUMBUS -- "[Neal] Tostenson personified the fabled clout of coal in Ohio -- until that clout failed. And that is a central lesson of Ohio's 30-year war with the federal Clean Air Act: In the end, utilities trumped coal. When push came to shove, and it finally came time for Ohio to begin complying with the law, the state unceremoniously pushed its coal miners aside," Margaret Newkirk, Akron Beacon Journal.

SHADYSIDE -- Coal miners struggle with harsh reality, Jon Craig, Akron Beacon Journal

COLUMBUS -- Technology hasn't solved drawbacks of dirty coal, Bob Downing, Akron Beacon Journal

COLUMBUS -- Ohio has long love affair with dirty, powerful coal, Akron Beacon Journal

Jan 7, 2001: War on clean air

COLUMBUS -- "[This] is the story of how Ohio became one of America's worst polluters, and how the country's dirtiest coal-burning electric utility industry fought to keep that distinction. ...Four Ohio utilities ranked among the Top 10 air polluters in the country: AEP is No. 2, Cinergy is No. 5, FirstEnergy is No. 6 and Dayton Power and Light is No. 10," Margaret Newkirk, Bob Downing, Akron Beacon Journal.

MARIETTA -- Pollution takes toll on health, Bob Downing, Akron Beacon Journal

COLUMBUS -- Utilities find ways to keep coal-fired plants burning, Margaret Newkirk, Akron Beacon Journal

ANN ARBOR, MI -- Coal-burning plants getting more of the blame for smog, Bob Downing, Akron Beacon Journal

Dec 21, 2000: The Winners and Losers of 2000; Loser: Ohio EPA

COLUMBUS -- "It's growing increasingly difficult to give the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency the benefit of the doubt. Time and again, green activists contend the agency is failing to enforce the laws designed to keep our water safe and our air clean. The U.S. EPA doesn't take the allegations lightly. The federal agency is currently in the midst of an unprecedented investigation of the Ohio EPA for its record of enforcement of air, water and hazardous waste programs. In October, Administrative Law Judge Thomas Phalen Jr. ruled that the Ohio EPA not only failed to conduct a thorough investigation of the contaminated River Valley Schools site in Marion, but that it intentionally removed the only guy from the project who second-guessed the Ohio EPA's judgment," editorial, Columbus Alive.

Nov 30, 2000: Pollution control is EPA's job

MARIETTA -- "Environmental advocacy groups like Ohio Citizen Action, The Ohio Environmental Council and our local RECOVER group, have launched a petition asking the state EPA and Gov. Bob Taft to enforce current laws that ultimately could lead to power plants, like American Electric Power's Muskingum River plant, being forced to comply with the strictest of federal clean air laws. AEP, the state EPA and Taft all have said that they will do nothing toward compliance until a federal lawsuit filed by the US EPA against the company is settled. We would expect the company to resist expensive upgrades. But we expect more from the Ohio EPA and the state's governor," editorial, Marietta Times.

Nov 29, 2000: Power plants under fire; Environmentalists try to get permits revoked

AKRON -- "The Ohio Environmental Council, Ohio Citizen Action and the Ohio Public Interest Research Group yesterday asked Gov. Bob Taft to reject preliminary air-pollution permits for four power plants and to force them to reduce air emissions by installing new pollution-control equipment. In addition to the plea to Taft, the eco-groups filed a formal petition with the same request with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency," Bob Downing, Akron Beacon Journal.

CLEVELAND -- Ohio urged to review four coal-burning plants, T.C. Brown, Cleveland Plain Dealer.

COLUMBUS -- Taft called on to clean up 4 power plants, James Drew, Toledo Blade.

DAYTON -- Groups say power plants don't comply, Dayton Daily News

CINCINNATI -- Taft asked to step in at power plant in Clermont, Spencer Hunt, Cincinnati Enquirer.

Nov 27, 2000:  Citizens petition to the Ohio EPA in the matter of the draft Title V operating permits for the W.H. Sammis Power Plant, Muskingum River Power Plant, Cardinal Power Plant and W.C. Beckjord Power Plant.

Aug 30, 2000: Smokestack Civil War

DAYTON -- "But while the Regional Ozone Coalition - a group of corporate, environmental and government interests - encourages residents to take incremental steps to clean the air, individuals alone cannot begin to solve local air quality problems, environmentalists argue. 'It's a shame to leave citizens believing if they do these things, it will take care of these problems,' said Rachael Belz, director of Ohio Citizen Action's Cincinnati office," Andrew Conte, Cincinnati Post.

Oct 17, 2000: Coal soot blamed in deaths; Report says particles from power plants contribute to 442 deaths each year in Cleveland-Akron area

CLEVELAND -- "Tiny soot particles from coal-burning power plants contribute to 30,000 deaths nationally each year. That's the finding of a report, being released today, by the Ohio Public Interest Research Group, Ohio Citizen Action and Clear the Air, a national eco-coalition. Ohio annually suffers 1,950 premature deaths, 1,250 hospitalizations and 37,100 asthma attacks from power plant particulate pollution, the environmental groups say," Bob Downing, Akron Beacon Journal.

Jul 24, 2000: Report says states failing to enforce environmental laws

COLUMBUS -- "According to the report, Ohio, Michigan and Texas lead the country in failure to inspect factories with records of clean air and water violations," State ranking chart, Nedra Pickler, Associated Press.

Jul 12, 2000: Ohio EPA cares about the wrong kind of green

COLUMBUS -- "Pro-Tec representatives had flown to Chicago to make their case to federal officials. Amazingly enough, accompanying them was then-director of the Ohio EPA Donald Schregardus, to no avail. The federal EPA ended up slapping Pro-Tec with a $1.05 million fine, which the company never would have incurred if OEPA had issued it the proper permit in the first place, instead of insisting that the plant was not the major source of pollution that it actually was," David Morton, Cleveland Free Times.

Mar 27, 2000: Challenging U.S. EPA not productive

DAYTON -- "Instead, this state should use the money it would spend on lawyers to help clean up the state's air. Thousands of Ohioans are suffering the effects of respiratory ailments brought on by pollutants emitted by this state's 21 coal-burning plants," editorial, Dayton Daily News.

Mar 14, 2000: Groups criticize Ohio EPA; Report says state ranks third in nation for industries, sewage plants with expired water-pollution permits

AKRON -- Bob Downing, Akron Beacon Journal.

COLUMBUS -- "State has third-highest number of expired water permits," John McCarthy, Associated Press.

Mar 13, 2000: Many states ignore key water pollution enforcement step; State officials allow "permits" limiting factories' water pollution to expire; A "blank check" to pollute?

COLUMBUS -- "The five states with the worst major water polluters operating without current permits are Texas, Louisiana, Ohio, California and Indiana," Friends of the Earth, Environmental Working Group.

Mar 5, 2000: Federal review of Ohio EPA proceeds

COLUMBUS -- Dale Dempsey, Dayton Daily News.

Mar 5, 2000: My unencounter with the Ohio EPA

BRECKSVILLE -- "Does the Ohio EPA need a review? The word 'review' implies that the Ohio EPA has a mission and is active in pursuing that mission. I'm afraid that the Ohio EPA needs much more than a review," Joseph K. Valaitis.

Feb 14, 2000: Top polluters ranked in Ohio

CLEVELAND -- "The study by Ohio Citizen Action ranks the top five Ohio companies in 1997 for releasing cancer-causing pollutants," Akron Beacon Journal.

CLEVELAND -- Report says steel plants pose danger; Two Stark steel makers deny citizen group's claims that residents are at risk, Bob Downing,
Akron Beacon Journal.

Feb 4, 2000: Taft to piggyback bond issues Activists torn between cleanups and conservation

COLUMBUS -- "Sandy Buchanan, director of Ohio Citizen Action, was blunt. 'We're not happy, at least not with what we've heard so far,' Buchanan said. 'We would not, under any circumstances, support using taxpayer dollars to bail out polluters who can pay for their own cleanup.' Under Taft's proposal, the brownfields bonds would be paid off using excess profits from state liquor sales, not general-fund revenue. Citizen Action and other groups, however, prefer that the state raise the money by a tax on industry. They would rather see a program similar to the federal Superfund, she said, which taxes the chemical industry to pay for cleanups, and then goes to court to recover the costs from the companies responsible," Randall Edwards, Columbus Dispatch.

Feb 2, 2000: Critics detail Ohio EPA claims; Polluters given breaks, they say

CLEVELAND -- "U.S. EPA to review Ohio EPA's operations," John Kuehner, Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Feb 1, 2000: Ohio EPA under federal review; Agency accused of being friendly to polluters

CINCINNATI -- Ben L. Kaufman, Cincinnati Enquirer.

DAYTON -- "Federal agency to launch inquiry into Ohio EPA," Dale Dempsey, Dayton Daily News.

COLUMBUS -- "Ohio EPA faces federal review; U.S. agency to examine allegations that state fails to act against polluters," Andrew Welsh-Huggins, Associated Press.

CINCINNATI -- "Feds to check Ohio's record on pollution," Cincinnati Post.

Jan 31, 2000: U.S. probe aimed at Ohio EPA; Complaints say enforcement is lax

COLUMBUS -- "Federal EPA scrutinizing state enforcement," Andrew-Welsh-Huggins, Associated Press.

AKRON -- "Ohio EPA allows flood of violations, report says; 14 companies exceeded water pollution limits; only one fined, groups claim," Bob Downing, Akron Beacon Journal.

CINCINNATI -- "Polluters rarely penalized; environmental group says laws not enforced," Andrew Conte, Cincinnati Post.

DAYTON -- "Study says water polluters face little pressure in Ohio; AK Steel referred to attorney general," Dale Dempsey, Dayton Daily News.

COLUMBUS -- U.S. probe aimed at Ohio EPA; Complaints say enforcement is lax, Randall Edwards, Columbus Dispatch.

Sep 13, 1999:Polluter Privilege: Companies pollute Ohio tap water, citizens pay for cleanup

WASHINGTON, DC -- release, Jane Houlihan, Richard Wiles, Environmental Working Group.

Coverage by Akron Beacon Journal, Associated Press, Columbus Dispatch, Dayton Daily News, Cincinnati Post.

Sep 4, 1999: Is the Ohio EPA telling the truth about NOx reductions?

CINCINNATI -- "... if the Taft Administration has no idea how much these rules will cost, and no idea how the pollution affects the health of Ohio citizens, they have no business participating in an effort to block or weaken the proposed rules.", letter, Ned Ford, Energy Chair, Ohio Sierra Club.

Sep 1, 1999: Air Action Alert: Don't let the Ohio EPA take away your rights

CLEVELAND -- Details the Ohio EPA's proposal to change enforcement rules to tie up citizens and communities in a costly administrative process when local companies violate air standards, Ohio Citizen Action.

Aug 5, 1999: Hidden from the public: The distortion of the Ohio EPA's mission

COLUMBUS -- Ohio Citizen Action, Rivers Unlimited, Ohio Chapter of the Sierra Club, Ohio PIRG.

Aug 4, 1999: Village requires cleanup reports

YELLOW SPRINGS -- "The Yellow Springs Village Council on Monday voted to require companies in the state's Voluntary Action Program to provide the village with information on the progress of environmental cleanups. It is the first such law in Ohio, according to Jane Forrest of Ohio Citizen Action," Dale Dempsey, Dayton Daily News.

Jun 10, 1999: Letter to U.S. EPA Regional Administrator Francis Lyons

COLUMBUS -- "Five Ohio environmental leaders dissect the Ohio EPA's "brownfields" program. They find that it "allows serious environmental problems to persist... and allows facilities to keep secret all the facts they learn about the pollution coming from that facility. Such facts are kept secret-- from the Ohio EPA, from the affected community which must bear the consequences of that pollution, and from the courts," Ohio Citizen Action.

May 1, 1999: Above the Law: How the government lets major air polluters off the hook -- Ohio

WASHINGTON, DC -- This analysis of recently released U.S. EPA enforcement records shows a pattern of "significant violations" of the Clean Air Act in five major industries, and little effort by Ohio officials to bring even the most flagrant offenders into compliance with the law, John Coequyt, Richard Wiles, Christopher Campbell, Environmental Working Group.

Apr 16, 1997: Amended Petition for Withdrawal of the Authorization of the RCRA SUBTITLE C and the Approval of CAA TITLE V and FWPCA NPDES and General Permit Programs of the State of Ohio

CINCINNATI -- "Ohio's Audit Privilege Law compromises Ohio's ability to investigate compliance, as required by USEPA state program regulations. This, in turn, prevents Ohio from being able to make available to Ohio Citizens important facts about the condition of their environment, including whether their neighboring industry is complying with the law. Without evidence of violations, Ohio cannot even learn about violations, much less obtain the necessary injunctive relief to stop the violations. Without the knowledge of or the use of the facts surrounding a violation, Ohio will not have the ability to immediately and effectively enforce the law. Ohio's enforcement authority is, in effect, negated," Ohio Citizen Action, Ohio Environmental Council, Sierra Club and Rivers Unlimited, Inc..

News from 2002 - 2007

For more information:
Sandy Buchanan
Ohio Citizen Action
(216) 861-5200