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Ready for Gov. Bob Taft's signature:

 

EXECUTIVE ORDER 2000-___

STOPPING THE OPENING OF RIVER VALLEY JUNIOR AND SENIOR HIGH SCHOOLS IN MARION AND ORDERING THE REASSIGNMENT OF ALL STUDENTS

WHEREAS, eight hundred students are scheduled to return to classes at River Valley Middle and High Schools in Marion on August 22, 2000.

WHEREAS, these schools were built on a site where the U.S. Army Marion Engineer Depot, the largest facility of its kind in the nation, dumped, burned and buried solvents, paints, fuel oil, and chemical agents for nearly two decades.

WHEREAS, seventy different chemicals have been found on or near the school campus, including arsenic, vinyl chloride, trichloroethylene, benzo(a)pyrene, chromium, lead, PCBs, and solvents, and in 1999, the U.S. Army found `an imminent threat to human health' on Army Reserve property near the schools.

WHEREAS, the Ohio Department of Health has confirmed a much-higher-than-expected rate of leukemia among River Valley graduates, found the rate of esophageal cancer is ten times greater than expected, and discovered between 1966 and 1995, death rates from leukemia increased by 122% in the city of Marion and brain cancer death rates increased by 40% in Marion county.

WHEREAS, the state government has `supervision of all matters relating to the preservation of the life and health of the people' and `may make and enforce order in local matters when an emergency exists, or when the board of health of a general or city health district has neglected or refused to act with sufficient promptness or efficiency.' (Ohio Revised Code Section 3701.13).

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Bob Taft, Governor of the State of Ohio, by virtue of the power and authority vested in me by the Constitution and Statutes of the State of Ohio do hereby order that the River Valley Middle and High Schools not open as scheduled on August 22. I further order that the Directors of the Departments of Health and Public Safety and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency work with the Superintendent of Public Instruction for the orderly closing of the River Valley Middle and High Schools and the property surrounding them, and the reassignment of all students to other schools.

Effective with this Order, I revoke all Executive Orders previously issued which are inconsistent with this Order.

IN WITNESS THEREOF, I have hereunto subscribed my name and caused the Great Seal of the State of Ohio to be affixed at Columbus, this ____ day of August, in the year Two Thousand.

____________________

Bob Taft, Governor

ATTEST:

________________________________

J. Kenneth Blackwell, Secretary of State