League of Women Voters believes that a path toward a clean energy future will strengthen our economy by opening up millions of jobs to Americans while also rescuing America from its dependence on fossil fuels, reducing threats to our health, protecting the natural resources that we depend upon for survival and creating millions of domestic jobs.
The LWVUS’ environmental work falls into the three categories below:
Climate change is the greatest environmental challenge of our generation. The League supports legislative solutions, including setting caps on greenhouse gas and carbon pollution, encouraging conservation and renewable energy and investing in a new clean energy economy. The League works to build grassroots support for action on climate change nationally and at the state and local levels in order to avoid irrevocable damage to our planet.
We work to protect our air quality by advocating for federal air pollution controls on industrial processes, government installations, fuels and motor vehicles.
The League advocates for legislation to improve energy efficiency throughout the economy and improve pollution control, including shifting to renewable energy, establishing federal fuel-efficiency standards and opposing oil drilling in environmentally sensitive areas. Preservation of a healthy environment is a top priority, and state Leagues have taken the lead in working to block fracking and dangerous mining processes that threaten to pollute natural resources in their communities.
LWVO has not only acted based on national positions, but also on incredibly detailed Ohio environmental positions. Our areas of focus have included:
Energy efficiency is a cost-effective way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Ohioans are lowering the state's carbon footprint by using energy efficiency and thus preventing about as much greenhouse gas emissions as do nuclear plants.
We need a robust energy-efficiency program that involves all sources of pollution, not just electrical generation. At one point, Ohio had passed legislation that put us on a path to more energy efficiency, but HB6 (dubbed the worst energy bill ever) which passed in July 2020 and is now under investigation due to corruption, phases out the energy efficient program that was put in place, wiping out the many gains made. Calls for repeal have gone nowhere.
Renewable energy is another cost-effective way of reducing greenhouse gasses. Nationally, renewable energy is rapidly approaching nuclear as a provider of greenhouse-gas free electricity.
Ohio is not taking advantage of it and ranks 48th in the union for renewable energy due to continual roadblocks being enacted. Again, HB6 added one more bureaucratic obstacle. Additionally, the General Assembly has been adding obstacles to any real efforts to provide renewable energy.
The Great Lakes
LWVO supports the Ohio Lake Erie Commission. The role of the Ohio Lake Erie Commission is to preserve Lake Erie’s natural resources, to protect the quality of its waters and ecosystem, and to promote economic development of the region by ensuring the coordination of policies and programs of state government pertaining to water quality, toxic substances, and coastal resource management.
In the past, Leagues along Lake Erie participated in an Inter-League Organization (ILO) to lobby for protections for all the Great Lakes. Ohio Leagues were leaders in forming this organization. With the formation of the Lake Erie Commission in 1992, this organization slowly and quietly disbanded. The positions developed and held by this ILO became part of Agenda for Action and provide direction as we protect this incredible eco-system.
LWVO has covered the waterfront—from septic tanks and flood plains to lake drilling, mega farms, and scenic rivers. Algae pollution of Ohio waters started becoming a serious problem in the late 1970s and became a real focus of League in 1995. These infections are not limited to Lake Erie, but to inland lakes, and even to the Ohio River. The toxic pollution of Grand Lake St. Marys and the state’s so-far failed and expensive attempts to remedy it provide a cautionary tale about possible effects from agricultural runoff and the state’s reluctance to deal with likely causes.
Water quality has improved from Lake Erie to the Ohio River, but problems of both surface water and groundwater quality and management continue. As population shifts make unbearable demands on the arid southwestern U.S., water may be recognized as essential for Ohio’s people and economy— agriculture, industry, and tourism. However, agriculture and the megafarms, industry and deregulation, and tourism and increasing population will be issues that will need continuous monitoring of state offices and legislation that affect water.
We take action at both the state and local level based on the LWVUS position and in conjunction with our state Natural Resources Positions.
The League is calling for prompt action to cut this country's GHG emissions, invest in a clean energy economy, and help the world's poorest countries tackle the challenges of climate change.
The League believes that climate change is a serious threat facing our nation and planet. The League believes that an international approach to combating climate change — including through energy conservation, air pollution controls, building resilience, and promotion of renewable resources — is necessary to protect public health and defend the overall integrity of the global ecosystem. The League supports climate goals and policies that are consistent with the best available climate science and that will ensure a stable climate system for future generations. Individuals, communities, and governments must continue to address this issue, while considering the ramifications of their decisions, at all levels — local, state, regional, national, and global.
In The Toolkit