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Local News
Ohioans met to discuss problems with the Ohio EPA.
Ohioans meet to voice concern over local EPA
By Nancy Burton
COLUMBUS, November 13 -    The Federal Government said the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency is doing some things right and other areas need improving.

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That's the preliminary conclusion after a group of Ohio citizens complained that the local EPA wasn't doing its job. For more than a year the U.S. EPA has been looking into the Ohio EPA.

A group of Ohio citizens said the state has done such a poor job when it comes to air and water polluters that the federal government should take over.

The U.S. said before any final decisions are made, it needs to hear from the people complaining and that's exactly what took place Tuesday. Nearly everyone who attended the meeting was there for one reason, to complain about the Ohio EPA.

“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.

“We would like to be able to do a lot of things faster but we are trying to do the best we can with the resources we have,” said Carol Hester, Ohio EPA

It is those resources that caused the U.S. EPA to examine the state agency.

“Ohio is doing some things well but also Ohio is doing some things where we feel need to make some changes,” said Thomas Skinner, regional EPA Director.

Skinner said the audit revealed OEPA has fewer employees needed to run its air programs, had conducted fewer air inspections and the state agency is lacking in training programs.

“We're open to improvement we've cooperated with U.S. EPA all along with this review when you look at any organization especially of this size you are going to find some problems,” said Hester.

Ohio EPA said it will make improvements and will work with the federal agency. The U.S. EPA said at this point, it has no plans to take back Ohio's policing of these environmental programs.

The U.S. EPA said this environmental audit was the most comprehensive one ever completed of a state agency. After listening to the public, the U.S. EPA will release its final report in a few months.

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