Formed in 1972, the Ohio Environmental Council (OEC) is Ohio’s largest state-level environmentalist advocacy organization. 1 OEC is influential in oil, gas, wind, and power policy in Ohio. OEC has been critical of the coal industry in Ohio and opposes the replacement of existing oil and gas pipelines. OEC has participated in protests against President Donald Trump and the Trump administration alongside groups like the Democratic Socialists of America, the National Wildlife Federation, and the Sierra Club.
In 2012, Ohio Environmental Council opposed a statewide ballot measure in Ohio that would have allocated $13 billion in bonds to the Ohio Energy Initiative Commission for “clean energy development.” 2
In 2013, OEC, alongside the Buckeye Forest Council and the Sierra Club challenged the U.S. Forest Service’s decision to lease 433 acres in Wayne National Forest for underground coal mining. The groups alleged that the Forest Service actions were counter to efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change. 3
In 2018, OEC filed a complaint with the Federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources alleging that a transfer out of Ohio’s Reclamation Forfeiture Fund was wrong. Then-Ohio Governor John Kasich (R) transferred $5 million out of the fund, drawing the ire of environmental groups. Ohio’s coal industry sent a letter to Governor Kasich asking for a restoration of the fund as they were worried about Ohio losing regulatory control over the regulation of Ohio mines from OSMRE. 4
OEC has been a vocal critic of a substance called AquaSalina used to safely de-ice roadways. After hearing concerns about AquaSalina, the Ohio Department of Transportation said that the substance does not expose the public to harmful levels of elements. 5
To address concerns about beer and climate change, OEC participated in a forum with Defend our Future on the future of beer production. During the panel discussion, brewers spoke about how hot summer temperatures affect their refrigerant chiller. The panel also discussed the Clean Water Act. 6
In 2019, the Ohio River Sanitation Commission voted 19-2 to “largely adopt U.S. Environmental Protection Agency criteria” in modifying its pollution standards along the 981 miles that the commission oversees. The commission sets standards on pollution discharge along the Ohio River that flows through 8 different states. OEC opposed the new standards along with other environmental groups. 7
In 2019, the State of Ohio planned to purchase 31,000 acres of land in eastern Ohio for outdoor use, but the purchase did not include the subsurface rights to the land. In the purchase documents for the 31,000 acres, it was found that American Electric Power would retain subsurface rights to the area for possible future oil and gas drilling. OEC was initially supportive of the land purchase but later opposed any attempts to extract oil and gas on the land. 8
OEC is anti-coal and has been critical of the mining industry’s involvement in Ohio politics. One representative from OEC commented that “the coal industry has shrunk every year for the last 50 years…yet you go down to the statehouse, and it’s as though it’s one of the heaviest industries in the state.” 9
When regulators looked at the replacement of an existing gas pipeline with an agreeable review of the project, environmental groups, like OEC, objected to the building of the Buckeye XPress pipeline. The project would replace 66 miles of existing gas pipelines in southeastern Ohio. The environmental assessment done by the Federal Government on the Buckeye XPress pipeline project found that the pipeline replacement would not lead to significant environmental impacts. 10
Heather Taylor-Miesle is a career environmentalist activist who works as president of Ohio Environmental Council. Prior to joining OEC, she worked for the lobbying arm of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the NRDC Action Fund. 11
At NRDC Action Fund in 2010, Heather Taylor-Miesle praised Members of Congress that voted in favor of H.R. 2454 which would have established a national “cap-and-trade” regulatory regime for carbon emissions in the United States. Taylor-Miesle praised eight Republicans that voted for H.R. 2454, calling them the “Enlighted Eight.” 12
After the vote, many incumbent Democratic party lawmakers that voted in favor of H.R. 2454 came under fire for supporting “job-killing cap and trade.” As director of the NRDC Action Fund, Taylor-Miesle tried to reassure Democrats facing challenges in the 2010 elections by releasing polling from the NRDC Action Fund that showed 23 closely contested districts were likely to support Democratic lawmakers that voted in favor of the national cap-and-trade legislation. 13 That same year, Democrats lost 60 seats in the House but retained the Senate. 14
In 2015, Heather Taylor-Miesle served as director of the NRDC Action Fund. 15 That same year, when the Charles Koch Foundation gave $1.75 million to the Catholic University of America, she alleged that the Koch brothers were using the donations to “promote the same unregulated capitalism that Pope Francis has railed against in the past.” 16
In 2019, employees of the Ohio Environmental Council (OEC) formed a union to address “the current political climate, in addition to the urgent realities facing our planet.” In July of 2019, employees of the OEC’s national affiliate, the League of Conservation Voters, announced they were forming a union. The employees of OEC were assisted by Workers United (a division of SEIU), in forming a union, notifying their employer, and holding an election to determine who will serve as union officers for the employees. 17
Heather Taylor-Miesle commented on the formation of a union: “If we’re going to successfully tackle climate change, we must value everyone as a collective part of this solution.” 18
In January of 2018, the Ohio Environmental Council cosponsored an event to protest President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address. The protest was organized to denounce “the deportation of Americans, including Youngstown businessman Amer Adi Othman.” The protest included groups like the InterReligious Task Force on Central America and Colombia, DreamActivist Ohio, Greater Cleveland Immigrant Support Network, Cleveland Jobs with Justice, America’s Voice Ohio, Northern Ohio Detention Support Network, Democratic Socialists of America Cleveland, Action Together Lakewood, the National Wildlife Federation, Climate Action Campaign, For Ohio’s Future Action Fund, Indivisible CLE, and the Sierra Club. 19
Ohio Environmental Council is funded by the Cleveland Foundation20, the Conservation Alliance,21 the Kresge Foundation,22 the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation,23 the Environmental Protection Agency,24 The Richland County Foundation,25 the Sears-Swetland, 27 the Joyce Foundation,28 Edwards Mother Earth Foundation,29 and the Ohio Natural Resources Conservation Service. 30
- “Day Joins Ohio Environmental Council.” Day Joins Ohio Environmental Council | Department Of Communication | Eastern Kentucky University. Accessed November 11, 2019. https://communication.eku.edu/insidelook/day-joins-ohio-environmental-council.
- “Environmental Groups Blast Proposed Clean Energy Bond Issue.” Environmental groups blast proposed clean energy bond issue. Accessed November 11, 2019. http://acecohio.org/aws/ACEC/pt/sd/news_article/56752/_PARENT/layout_details/false.
- Ball, Jeff. bizjournals.com, November 8, 2013. https://www.bizjournals.com/columbus/news/2013/11/08/environmentalists-appealing-coal.html.
- Olalde, Mark. “Coal, Environmental Groups Urge Return of Ohio Mine Cleanup Funds.” Energy News Network, July 15, 2018. https://energynews.us/2018/07/16/midwest/coal-environmental-groups-urge-return-of-ohio-mine-cleanup-funds/.
- Catlett, Hannah. “State Report Shows Northeast Ohio Uses a Radioactive Substance to Melt Ice on Roadways.” https://www.cleveland19.com, February 11, 2019. https://www.cleveland19.com/2019/02/11/state-report-shows-northeast-ohio-uses-radioactive-substance-melt-ice-roadways/.
- Metzger, Shelby, and Mary R. Scott. “Ohio State Advocacy Group Holds Panel on How Climate Change Affects Beer Production.” The Lantern, March 1, 2019. https://www.thelantern.com/2019/02/ohio-state-advocacy-group-holds-panel-on-how-climate-change-affects-beer-production/.
- Hopey, Don. “Ohio River Water Quality Standards Diluted by Multi-State Agency.” Gazette. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 6, 2019. https://www.post-gazette.com/news/environment/2019/06/06/ORSANCO-Ohio-River-water-quality-standards-diluted/stories/201906060145.
- Burger, Beth. “Fracking Legal on New Parkland.” The Daily Jeffersonian. The Daily Jeffersonian, October 27, 2019. https://www.daily-jeff.com/news/20191028/fracking-legal-on-new-parkland.
- Samuelsohn, Darren. “Coal Lobbyist Mike Carey Mines Anti-Green Sentiment – Darren Samuelsohn.” POLITICO. Accessed November 11, 2019. https://www.politico.com/news/stories/0611/57950_Page2.html.
- Kuhlman, Mary. “Ohio Groups Question Pipeline Expansion.” Cleveland Scene. Cleveland Scene, September 15, 2019. https://www.clevescene.com/scene-and-heard/archives/2019/06/11/ohio-groups-question-pipeline-expansion.
- “Heather Taylor-Miesle, Author at Ohio Environmental Council.” Ohio Environmental Council. Accessed November 14, 2019. https://theoec.org/author/htaylormiesle/.
- ThinkProgress. “The Enlightened Eight: GOP Can Vote For Cap-And-Trade And Not Get Tea Partied.” ThinkProgress, July 14, 2010. https://thinkprogress.org/the-enlightened-eight-gop-can-vote-for-cap-and-trade-and-not-get-tea-partied-c486d0a6e9e2/.
- Drogin, Bob. “Cap-and-Trade Cools House Dems’ Prospects.” The Seattle Times. The Seattle Times Company, October 29, 2010. https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/cap-and-trade-cools-house-dems-prospects/.
- Harris, Paul, and Ewen MacAskill. “US Midterm Election Results Herald New Political Era as Republicans Take House.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, November 3, 2010. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/nov/03/us-midterm-election-results-tea-party.
- Cama, Timothy. “Once Thought an Ally, Senator Now a Target for Green Groups.” TheHill, February 2, 2016. https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/246055-once-thought-an-ally-senator-now-a-target-for-green-groups.
- “A Koch Confessional.” How The Kochs Have Attacked Pope Francis. Bridge Project, September 22, 2015. http://bridgeproject.com/app/uploads/09.22.15-Kochs-and-Pope-FrancisFINAL.pdf.
- “How the Ohio Environmental Council Formed a Union.” ColumbusUnderground.com, October 16, 2019. https://www.columbusunderground.com/how-the-ohio-environmental-council-formed-a-union-tm1.
- Pelzer, Jeremy. “Gov. Mike DeWine Creates New Office to Prevent School Violence: Capitol Letter.” cleveland, August 22, 2019. https://www.cleveland.com/open/2019/08/gov-mike-dewine-creates-new-office-to-prevent-school-violence-capitol-letter.html.
- Mosby, Chris. “Protest Planned In Cleveland For State Of The Union.” Cleveland, OH Patch. Patch, January 30, 2018. https://patch.com/ohio/cleveland/protest-planned-cleveland-state-union.
- “The Cleveland Foundation.” We See The Big Picture. The Cleveland Foundation, 2009. https://www.clevelandfoundation.org/ReportToCommunity09/pdf/clevelandfoundation_report2009.pdf.
- “Ohio Environmental Council.” The Conservation Alliance. Accessed November 11, 2019. http://www.conservationalliance.com/organizations/ohio-environmental-council/.
- Kresge Foundation. “0 – Ohio Environmental Council.” The Kresge Foundation. Kresge, April 7, 2016. https://kresge.org/grant/ohio-environmental-council.
- “Ohio Environmental Council, Lake Erie Water Quality Standards Project, 200042997.” Mott Foundation. Accessed November 11, 2019. https://www.mott.org/grants/ohio-environmental-council-lake-erie-water-quality-standards-project-200042997/.
- “Profiles of Environmental Education Grants Awarded to Organizations in Ohio.” EPA. Environmental Protection Agency, October 20, 2017. https://www.epa.gov/education/profiles-environmental-education-grants-awarded-organizations-ohio.
- Foundation, Richland County. “View Recent Grants.” Richland County Foundation. Accessed November 11, 2019. https://www.richlandcountyfoundation.org/grants-and-scholarships/grants.
- “Who We Fund.” The Sears-Swetland Family Foundation, August 8, 2016. https://searsswetlandfoundation.org/who-we-fund/.[/note] Freshwater Future,26“2017 Spring Project Grants.” Freshwater Future. Accessed November 11, 2019. https://freshwaterfuture.org/grants/grant-recipients/2017-grant-recipients/2017-spring-project-grants/.
- “The Joyce Foundation Awards $17.5 Million in Grants.” The Joyce Foundation. Accessed November 11, 2019. http://www.joycefdn.org/news/the-joyce-foundation-awards-17-5-million-in-grants.
- “Energy Efficiency.” Edwards Mother Earth Foundation. Accessed November 11, 2019. https://edwardsmotherearth.org/energy-efficiency/.
- “Ohio NRCS Awards Conservation Grants.” Brownfield Ag News. Accessed November 11, 2019. https://brownfieldagnews.com/news/ohio-nrcs-awards-conservation-grants/.