October 2020 Connections
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Make Your Voice Heard

In two weeks, it will be election day. Many of you have probably already voted, either in person or by mail, and even more will do so in the next 15 days. Others prefer to vote at the polls on November 3. Whatever you choose, it is critically important that you cast a ballot. There are so many issues on the minds of voters this year – the coronavirus pandemic, the economic situation, racial and social unrest. We must all prioritize the issues for ourselves and our families; however, I ask you to put clean energy and climate change at the top of your list. 

You receive this newsletter because you are part of a community of Ohioans who value renewable resources and energy conservation; who understand the significance of clean energy in solving the climate crisis; and who want to see government at all levels take positive action. We have a Vote Green Energy page on our website with information that can also be found below. As a nonprofit organization, we do not endorse candidates, and we will not be providing any guidance in that regard. There are many resources available to voters, starting with the candidates’ websites. The League of Women Voters/Vote 411 site will help you determine where a candidate stands on energy issues, and other environmental organizations in Ohio make endorsements. If you have not voted, I encourage you to take a minute and do some research.  

There are ballot issues of importance as well. Three communities are voting on electric aggregation, the largest of which is Issue 1 in Columbus. GEO is proud to endorse Issue 1, an important step toward Columbus' goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2022 and carbon neutrality by 2050.

There are many ways to make our voices heard – by communicating with elected officials, writing letters to the editor in newspapers, engaging in peaceful protests, and joining Green Energy Ohio – but there is no more powerful way than by voting. Please remember to Vote Green Energy!
Jane Harf, Executive Director
From the presidential election to local races, our votes will determine the direction that Ohio and the nation will take on the most critical issues of our time. Among the many issues vital to our nation’s future, clean energy is most definitely “on the ballot” this November.

Despite some policymakers' continued attempts to sideline pivotal environmental and energy policies, Ohioans support clean energy and climate action. Even in this time of polarization and pandemic, there is bipartisan support for policies aimed at reducing the effects of climate change. Clean energy is one of the most important pieces of the climate change puzzle. Investment in renewable resources and energy efficiency must be an integral part of how our country rebuilds—and prepares for a better future.

Now more than ever, we need government action that reflects our commitment. In what is likely to be the most important election of our lifetime, please vote for the policies and leaders that listen to science, promote sustainability, understand the urgency of climate change, and work to prepare both Ohio and our nation for future environmental, economic, and health challenges. 

Click here to learn more about this year's issues, community aggregation, and how you can vote.
There is still time to register for our Anniversary Celebration!

Please join us for our virtual 20th Anniversary Celebration and Awards Presentation on Friday evening, October 23 starting at 7:00 p.m. Ticket holders will receive a 20th Anniversary commemorative poster and will be able to view the program for 30 days after the first showing.

When GEO decided to move our 20th Anniversary Celebration and Awards Presentation to a virtual format, we had no idea how much fun it would be to put together! We traveled the state to include our award winners, Board members, sponsors, friends, and supporters. We wanted to replicate as much as possible the excitement and diversity of a live event, and to provide our viewers with the sense of pride and optimism that we feel about GEO's past, present, and future. 

We are especially proud to have Congressman Ro Khanna as our keynote speaker, at a time when progress on clean energy and climate change depends on Congressional action. Please read this important opinion piece written by Congressman Khanna and former Secretary of State John Kerry in the New York Times, where they present a forceful argument for how and why the U.S. should be leading the way on clean energy.
Keynote Remarks from Congressman Ro Khanna

Congressman Ro Khanna represents an area of California currently experiencing wildfires fueled by the effects of climate change.
As a co-sponsor of the Green New Deal, he will share his perspective on clean energy and climate change and how we can support leading Congressional voices on these critical policy issues.

This week, we will be presenting GEO’s Annual Green Achievement Awards in four categories – Business, Academic, Community/Government, and Nonprofit – plus two Lifetime Achievement Awards. Since 2018, we have focused on honorees who are active statewide or who are leaders in the area where we host the awards ceremony. See the award winners from 2018-2019 here and the 2020 honorees here.

Several of the awards have deep roots in GEO’s history. The Community Award has been given to communities located in all regions of the state, including Bowling Green (2004), Cuyahoga Falls (2005), Oberlin (2006), Worthington (2013), Minster (2015), and Athens County (2016). It’s worth noting that this year’s winner, the City of Cincinnati, also won in 2008 in a group award along with the University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati Technical and Community College, and Duke Energy. Ohio’s Community Colleges (2009) and Ohio’s Green Zoos (2010) are also past winners; this year the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden won in the nonprofit category.

The Nonprofit Award has been presented to organizations who share our mission and with whom GEO has worked to move Ohio forward on clean energy – the Foundation for Environmental Education (2001), the Sierra Club (2008), Ohio Interfaith Power and Light (2009), and Green Umbrella (2012), to name a few. 

The Business Award has been won by Ohio-based companies and GEO members, such as Decker Homes (2005), the Melink Corporation (2008), and the Design Group (2010), as well as international corporations with a presence in Ohio – Iberdrola Renewables (2011), Honda North America (2013), and Amazon (2016). This year’s winner, Fifth Third Bank, joins their ranks and has been given a GEO Business Membership as part of the award.

This isn’t the first year for Lifetime Achievement Awards either. Lifetime awards were presented to Sister Paula Gonzalez in 2004, Fletcher Miller in 2006, and Professor David Orr in 2015.

For the complete list, click here.
We've planned a fun day for our Cincinnati Friends!

Enjoy local refreshments and conversation with fellow advocates while you take a greener look at HOMEARAMA® 2020, featuring two Gold-level LEED-certified homes. Learn more about Green Energy Ohio, meet some of our partners in the community who are working for a green future, and find out how you can get involved. Grow what you know with GEO!
The purchase of your admission ticket goes directly to supporting our work to educate Ohioans on the availability, use, and benefits of renewable resources and energy conservation and efficiency!
Legislative and Regulatory Activity
House Bill 6 Repeal
The House Select Committee on Energy Policy and Oversight, created to consider legislation to repeal House Bill 6, held four hearings in September. The Committee, chaired by Representative James Hoops of Napoleon, restricted testimony to invited witnesses, including the PUCO, PJM (regional transmission organization), Ohio Manufacturers' Association, Ohio Consumers' Counsel, Industrial Energy Users, and the Utility Scale Solar Energy Coalition. No action was taken on either of the House Bills referred to the Committee (House Bill 738, House Bill 746) and they will not meet again until after the election. October 1 was the deadline to prevent the fees from being collected on Ohioans' bills starting in January. Attorney General David Yost has filed a civil suit in Frankin County Common Pleas Court to prevent FirstEnergy from receiving proceeds of funds collected under the utility surcharge. 

Ohio Power Siting Board
GEO has consistently advocated for the Icebreaker Windpower project as an important advancement in Ohio's clean energy efforts. Today, Icebreaker is one step closer to becoming a reality. On October 8, the Ohio Power Siting Board formally adopted a motion (that had been unanimously approved at its meeting last month) to remove a poison-pill requirement that the wind turbines must stop rotating during nighttime hours from March 1 through November 1. The OPSB action enhances the financial viability of the project and moves it one step closer to final approval, pending the results of the ODNR wildlife mitigation plan.
While we have been branching out from the non-fiction genre recently, this month we are turning to an anthology of poetry, art, and essays from female leaders. The contents of recently-released All We Can Save were compiled by editors Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine K. Wilkinson. The stories reveal positive actions taken to address the climate crisis.

Each work celebrates a victory in the environmental movement and the voices of women who are making active change in the world. “The climate crisis is a leadership crisis,” says editor Johnson in an interview with the Rolling Stone. “We wanted to take the opportunity to uplift dozens of voices of women who are doing incredible and transformative work… and make sure that they got the spotlight (and then hopefully the support and resources that they need) to continue doing their critical work.”

A strong and welcoming message is sent through the different stories, experiences, and perspectives of inspiring women. Readers will find powerful calls to action, impactful personal stories, resonating emotion, fascinating descriptions of nature’s intricacies, and thoughtful reflections on solutions to our climate crisis. According to editor Wilkinson, “There’s a tenderness and also a ferocious love that comes through in the essays for sure. And then it’s so beautifully highlighted in the poetry.” Simultaneously touching your heart and filling you with hope for the future, we look forward to hearing what you think of All We Can Save.