January 30, 2002
Ron and Laura Duncan
Dear Mr. And Mrs. Duncan:
I received your e-mail of the editor's column in Cleveland Scene regarding Ohio EPAís decision to decline interviews with that publication. I also am aware of a subsequent reference to an Ohio EPA "enemies list" on Ohio Citizen Action's Web page. Since neither tell the whole story, Iím responding with some additional information.
Ohio EPA does not have an "enemies list." We have not and will not deny anyone access to information available in public records at Ohio EPA. We made it clear to Cleveland Scene that they are welcome to look at any of our files relevant to environmental stories they are covering. We also continue to provide information to the community through reputable media outlets in the area and through direct contact with average citizens.
For the article, "While the EPA Slept," Ohio EPA staff spent several hours with the reporter and provided facts that directly refute what was eventually printed. Disregard for the facts is not responsible journalism, and it isnít informing the community in a constructive way. Our decision to decline future interviews with Cleveland Scene will enable us to better utilize our resources to communicate with the public through more reliable channels.
When I met with you and other concerned citizens in November regarding the Carlisle Engineered Products Company site, Ohio EPA committed to implement additional communications efforts beyond our day-to-day contact with Middlefield area citizens and media. We agreed to establish and maintain an information repository at the local library. That has been done. We also committed to provide monthly information updates through The Awareness Groupís (TAG) designated spokesperson. The first update was mailed on January 2, 2002; the second is due to be mailed February 1. These updates are available in the repository for anyone to read. Finally, we offered to hold quarterly meetings in Middlefield with representatives from TAG, Buckeye Environmental Network, village of Middlefield and county health department officials. The first such meeting is tentatively scheduled for March 28.
I realize there are varied points of view about how to best achieve cleanup at this site, and you may not agree with the choices Ohio EPA has made. My goal is to protect the environment and public health, and inform and involve the community in the process. We will continue our efforts to accomplish those goals in Middlefield.