(Columbus, OH)- Environmental experts and advocates explained today the near and long-term benefits voting YES on Columbus Community Choice Aggregation (Issue 1) will have on residents, businesses, jobs and the environment. The issue has gained the endorsement of 10 major environmental groups.
"Columbus residents have the power to make the electricity we use reflect our values this November by voting YES on Issue 1 to allow for community choice aggregation," said Heather Taylor-Miesle, President of the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund. "By pooling our purchasing power together, we can demand 100% clean, renewable energy to be built locally. This is an important step in helping Columbus fight the impacts of climate change and secure cleaner air and water for all its residents. The Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund proudly endorses Issue 1 because it will ensure a healthier environment for Columbus residents, it will generate hundreds of good-paying renewable energy jobs, and it will showcase our city as a sustainable, thriving Midwest city."
Issue 1 makes the City of Columbus a leader in climate action and puts its name on the list of other U.S. cities who have implemented community choice aggregation programs and are now 100% renewable.
"Cities are responsible for 70% of carbon emissions, and Columbus is the 14th largest city in the country, in the sixth-highest carbon-emitting state," said Cathy Cowan Becker, Chair of the Ohio Sierra Club's volunteer-led Ready for 100 campaign in Columbus. "If voters approve Issue 1 to power Columbus with 100% renewable energy by 2022, we will significantly reduce our emissions, help clean the statewide grid, and jump-start a clean energy economy right here in Central Ohio. This is a win-win-win for workers, businesses, and the environment."
"Climate change is not a distant threat; it is happening right now. The impacts of climate change threaten our infrastructure and natural habitats including the systems that provide us with food, water, and clean air, all of which have a direct impact to people's physical and mental health," said Leo Almeida, Senior Policy Associate for The Nature Conservancy in Ohio. "We support Issue 1 because the transition to 100% renewable energy through aggregation is an important step in reducing emissions and making Columbus a more resilient, healthy, and equitable city."
Columbus residents have voiced support for the right to choose to transition away from dirty, harmful energy development and move toward a future powered by clean, renewable energy that provides cleaner air and water for generations to come.
"With Ohio's state legislature continuing to impede growth in renewable energy, local cities and communities have stepped up to lead the way," said Joe Flarida, executive director, Power a Clean Future Ohio. "Power a Clean Future Ohio strongly encourages a YES vote on Issue 1. This will make a real difference for our economy and our environment. Yes on Issue 1 means new local renewable energy jobs and a healthier environment for local residents, all without seeing a change in electricity bills."
Not only will Issue 1 provide a better, cleaner environment to live in, according to advocates, but it will also provide more local jobs as the demand for more solar and wind projects grow over time. Solar and wind energy are two of the fastest growing economic sectors with good-paying jobs and new career opportunities. Voting YES on Issue 1 means bringing more of these jobs to our community.
"Transitioning to cleaner, more affordable energy is exactly what Ohio needs right now. For too long, we've been presented with a false choice between a clean environment and a strong economy. The City of Columbus has a plan that will move our economy in the right direction by attracting the jobs and investments associated with a renewable energy future and Ohioans are ready to get to work," said Daniel Sawmiller, NRDC Action Fund senior advisor.
"Our members are happy to see Columbus get on the aggregation bandwagon," said Rachael Belz, executive director, Ohio Citizen Action. "OCA strongly supports passage of Issue 1 because it just makes sense: affordability for consumers and job creation for Columbus that also results in cleaner air and water. This will be the largest aggregation program in the Midwest, showing other major cities how good policy is done with community support. It's time to pass Issue 1!"
"Members of Moms Clean Air Force in Ohio stand united with Columbus leaders in support of the Community Choice Aggregation provided by Issue 1. By ensuring 100% of energy generation would come from clean sources like wind and solar, this innovation will reduce harmful pollution and improve the quality of air for our kids," said Tracy Sabetta, Ohio Field Director for Moms Clean Air Force. "We have the power to make change in our own backyards and protect the health of Ohio's children. We are proud to endorse Issue 1."