Climate Corner: Good news for everyone

May 11, 2024

Rebecca Phillips

Spring is a good time for some good news, given how surrounded we are by bad news so much of the time. The good news is even better when it pertains to a favorite spring activity: gardening.

Most of us are aware that cities tend to be hotter than rural areas and that parking lots are pretty miserable places to be on hot days. Concrete both absorbs and releases heat, increasing temperatures in adjacent areas by as much as 20 degrees, according to the EPA. With the longer, hotter summers predicted for much of the world, and with more than half the human population living in urbanized areas, this is bad news.

But I promised good news, and here it is. Cities and towns are exploring ways to mitigate or reduce the worst climate change effects: retrofitting buildings to be more energy-efficient, thereby increasing comfort and emitting less CO2; installing permeable paving to reduce stormwater runoff; improving public transit to make it more attractive; and making sidewalks and trails safer for pedestrians and bicyclists. More and more cities are expanding and improving their green spaces, with a particular focus on tree cover. As anyone who has spent any time walking knows, shady streets are much cooler than their unshaded counterparts.

And it’s not just trees that have this effect. A recent study completed by the University of Surrey in the UK found that botanical, or mixed, gardens lowered the temperature of adjacent streets by as much as 9 degrees Fahrenheit, more than any other form of planting. Yes, planting the flowers that so many of us love along with trees and shrubs can actually make our towns more comfortable places to live, especially during heat waves.

Greening our towns has benefits beyond temperature reduction. Planted areas absorb stormwater and filter runoff, keeping more chemicals out of our groundwater and helping to prevent flooding. Access to green spaces has been shown to improve human mental health, important to all in these high-stress times. Perhaps even more important, mixed plantings are highly biodiverse, providing habitat for a variety of creatures, including the bees, birds, and butterflies whose populations have been declining in recent decades. Planting a mix of species, particularly those native to the area, in our yards and lawn strips creates wildlife corridors, allowing other lives to flourish alongside our own.

And the really good news is that anyone can turn their property into this kind of wildlife oasis; large spaces are not necessary. A Chicago gardener with a property the size of a standard downtown Marietta lot has documented over 100 species of birds in her yard. I have noted more than a dozen butterfly species in my 15×20-foot pollinator garden, and cardinals, chickadees, and wrens are nesting in the trees in our block’s lawn strip. Folks with only patios and porches can create potted oases that attract pollinating insects and hummingbirds. Imagine our towns with every street a garden park.

We in the MOV have a number of opportunities in the near future to help create these spaces that benefit everyone. For the next four Saturdays, we can take advantage of local plant sales, three of them featuring exclusively plants native to our region.

* May 18, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.. 232 Third St., Marietta. The annual garden plant sale sponsored by the First Unitarian Universalist Society. The sale offers non-natives as well, but such local species as spiderwort, coreopsis, and monarda will be available.

Over the next three weekends, native-only plant sales will be held in Athens, Marietta, and Parkersburg, featuring plants grown by Natives in Harmony, LLC, of Mineral Wells and Rural Action of Athens. These sales are sponsored by the Broughton Nature and Wildlife Education Area, the West Virginia Master Naturalists, the Friends of the Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge, and the OSU Extension. Here are the times and locations.

* May 25, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.. 751 W. Union St., Athens

* June 1, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.. Marietta Farmers Market, Third and Butler in downtown Marietta

* June 8, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.. Visit Greater Parkersburg, 113 Ann St., Parkersburg.

Just think, we can cool our towns, attract wildlife, and beautify our neighborhoods all at the same time. Let’s make every street a park.


Rebecca Phillips is a member of Mid-Ohio Valley Climate Action and the coordinating committee of the Fort Street Pollinator Habit

Climate Corner: Climate Corps a place to learn skills, duty and responsibility

May 4, 2024

Jean Ambrose

I’m a student of history. In times like these, it gives me hope to look at other times when the future seemed dim to remember that we’re not novices in confronting great challenges. While each era has its unique circumstances, there are many lessons to be learned from past leaders. You need to know and spread the word about the rebirth of one of the best ideas we’ve ever had, the Civilian Conservation Corps, or CCC.

There aren’t many people left who lived during the Great Depression. We worry about the economy today; it is hard to imagine that in 1932, 25% of the workforce was unemployed nationally. The stock market had lost 89% of its value. In some West Virginia counties, 80% of the workforce was unemployed.

Newly elected Franklin Roosevelt proposed the CCC to Congress two weeks after he was inaugurated March 4, 1933. He signed an executive order establishing the new agency on April 5, 1933, and the first camp opened on April 17! By July 1933, only three months later, nearly 300,000 unemployed and unmarried young men were working at more than 1,400 CCC camps. There would be 69 camps of 150 – 200 men each in WV.

In every state we still see the legacy of that idea. More than 3,000,000 young men (and a few women) would serve through the CCC in the ten years before Pearl Harbor. This is when our wonderful state park system had its start. Hawks Nest, Holly River, Cacapon, Watoga, Babcock and Lost River parks were created by the CCC, as well as many state forests and protected areas like Dolly Sods.

In the 1930s much of the land had been devastated by clear-cutting of timber and by poor agricultural practices of small farmers. The environmental problems being created by today’s climate disruptions seem ready made for a new CCC to marshal this generation to answer the call to service. At a time when too many think that their freedom to do what they want supersedes all else, concepts of duty, responsibility, and citizenship have been pushed aside, especially in our public discourse. World War II was our grandparents’ wake up call to serve. Today, the global climate emergency requires a similar response.

The American Climate Corps — the new CCC — opened for business officially on Earth Day last week. The ACC is a groundbreaking, workforce training and service initiative that will put tens of thousands of Americans to work fighting the impacts of climate change today while training tomorrow’s clean energy and climate-resilient workforce. In partnership with local governments and community-based organizations, there are more than 2,000 service positions currently open on the ACC website,, with more being added daily. Opportunities are available in several types of organizations including federal agencies; state, local, and Tribal governments; non-profits; and state-based climate corps.

Some require BA degree, such as the Innovator Fellow program of the U.S. Dept. of Energy. Paying $27.46 an hour, 75 Fellows are being recruited for service around the country. Fellows get relocation expenses and serve one-year terms with the option to renew for a second year.

Many positions only require a high school diploma. Length of service may be part time or full time, from just the summer to a year or more. Basic benefits offered include a scholarship that can be used for student debt or for post-secondary learning, health care, and a living stipend. Some offer relocation expenses, housing, and childcare. It is disappointing that there are no positions yet offered in WV, but there are some close by in bordering states. One exciting opportunity for ages 18 – 26 is team-based at four regional training campuses. Corps member teams are sent out to work at a variety of projects in a multistate region, so you get to see the country and meet others with very different backgrounds, united by the ideal of making the world a better place.

If you are interested in getting hands-on experience in tomorrow’s clean energy and climate resilient workforce, this short-term experience will give you a leg up on other job applicants, as well as special access to federal positions after your term of service. Most have no age requirements. Many people hate the idea of working at a desk; with the Climate Corps you can be outside building trails and parks, restoring coastal and inland watersheds, assisting with disaster response and firefighting, or installing solar panels or weatherizing homes. In addition to those hands-on skills, you will be equipped with the career training and skills to make change, change we can breathe, see, feel, and touch, like our state park system.

Help get this opportunity to those who can take advantage of it. (My son took a break between high school and college to serve in AmeriCorps and was then ready to be in school again.) Look at for the wealth of exciting choices. Talk to your children and grandchildren about having an adventure they’ll remember all their lives with pride and an awakened sense of duty, responsibility, and hope for a better future.


Jean Ambrose talks to her 5-year-old granddaughter Adena about taking care of the Earth.

Selected Readings for May 2024

MOVCA Selected Media Postings April 2024
plus a few missed in the March listing
Compiled by Cindy Taylor

Available online in The Parkersburg News and Sentinel:
April 30, 2024 Business News Staff report
“West Virginia officials approve construction of gas-turbine power plant”

April 27, 2024 Business article – Staff Report
“West Virginia environmentalists suing Chemours over ‘forever chemicals’”

April 26, 2024 Business Article by Steven Allen Adams
“Stacked Up: EPA releases new coal-fired power plant rules”

April 13, 2024 Editorial
“Backward: Clinging to fossil fuels will not save West Virginia”

Available on WTAP:
April 25, 2024 Article by Sarah Coleman
“Impacts of new EPA rule”

April 25, 2024 Associated Press Article by Matthew Daly
“Tough new EPA rules would force coal-fired power plants to capture emissions or shut down”

April 22, 2024 Feature by Chase Campbell text and video
“West Virginia University at Parkersburg celebrates Earth Day”

April 20, 2024 Feature by Chase Campbell text and video (MOVCA’s banner and booth included.)
“Marietta Celebrates Earth Day”

April 10, 2024 Feature by Chase Campbell Text and video
“Design almost complete on Parkersburg Utility Board’s PFAS treatment facility”

April 6, 2024 Article by Phyllis Smith
“How to help or get help if you’ve been affected by flooding in Marietta”

Available on
April 29, 2024 Article by John Lynch
“Gas-powered electric plant approved in West Virginia: Supplying electricity to 1.8 million homes yearly”

Available on the Charleston Gazette-Mail:
See articles by Mike Tony, Environment and Energy Reporter:
April 27, 2024 Article by Mike Tony
“WV industry concerns with EPA power plant rules have poor track record”

April 26, 2024 Article by Mike Tony
“WV leaders, health advocates split on new EPA power plant rules”

April 25, 2024 Article by Mike Tony
“Department of Energy to hold second community listening session on ARCH2 hydrogen hub”

April 16, 2024 Article by Mike Tony
“Environmental wins in WV after yearslong fights, inaction from state EPA”

April 13, 2024 Article by Mike Tony
“Flash flooding frequency on sharp rise in Kanawha County, throughout WV as climate warms”

April 11, 2024 Article by Mike Tony
“ ‘A historic day’: EPA sets first ever legally enforceable limit on toxic PFAS levels”

Available on Athens County Independent:
April 9, 2024 Article by Dani Kington
“ODNR to test local drinking water for fracking waste contamination”

Available on Ohio Capital Journal:
April 30, 2024 Article by Marilou Johanek
“Athens Co. fracking leak, inaction show the dire public health dangers of Oho regulatory capture”

Available on Canary Media:
March 21, 2024 Article by Eric Wesoff (missed in last month’s listing)
“Ohio greenlights massive solar, storage and agrivoltaics project”

Available on Mountain State Spotlight:
April 7, 2024 Article by Sarah Elbeshbishi
“West Virginia’s hydrogen hub is being built in their backyard. They have questions.”

Available on West Virginia Watch:
April 8, 2024 Environment and Energy Article by Caity Coyne
“WV environmentalists laud agreement with EPA for more oversight in some state waters”

Appearing on-line on WV Public Broadcasting or WOUB (PBS) or NPR, etc
April 30, 2024 Article by Curtis Tate
“Federal Investments Brings Clean Manufacturing To Energy Communities”

April 30, 2024 Article by Jack Walker
“WVU Researchers Aim To Convert Mine Water Pollutants Into Industrial Materials”

Available on Associated Press:
April 25, 2024 Article by Matthey Daly
Strict new EPA rules would force coal-fired power plants to capture emissions or shut down”

April 19, 2024 Article by Matthey Daly
‘EPA designates 2 forever chemicals as hazardous substances, eligible for Superfund cleanup”

April 10, 2024 Article by Michael Phillia
“Why is the EPA regulating PFAS and what are these ‘forever chemicals’?

April 9, 2024 Article by Josh Funk
“Norfolk Southern agrees to $600M settlement in fiery Ohio derailment. Locals fear it’s not enough”

FaCT: Faith Communities Together for a Sustainable Future
Check out their “Distinguished Speaker Series”
See articles in the newsletters

Posted April 30, 2024 April Newsletter Article by Dr. Randi Pokladnik
“Citizens Research and Organize to Rebuild Their Communities”

Posted April 29, 2024 April Newsletter Article about Distinguish Speaker Series
“Justin Nobel Premieres His New Book, Petroleum-238” Event is May 17, 2024

Posted April 29, 2024 April Newsletter Article by Ron Prosek
“Aerobic Composting and Climate Change”

Posted April 1, 2024 (posted) March Newsletter Article by Dr. Randi Pokladnik
“Who Will Protect Our Public Lands?”

Available on West Virginians for Energy Freedom:
March 27, 2024 News article contact Courtney MacDonald, WV for Energy Freedom
“Energy Freedom Advocates Succeed in Protecting Access to Solar Throughout West Virginia”

Available on West Virginia Rivers Coalition:
April 26, 2024 Press Release Contact- Maggie Stange, WV Rivers Coalition
“Chemours on Notice: West Virginia Rivers Coalition Notifies EPA of Intent to Sue Chemours Under Clean Water Act”

April 2, 2024 Lunch and learn Webinar
“Lunch & Learn: Fracking with ‘Forever Chemicals’ in West Virginia”

See also: Available on Halt the Harm Network:
April 2, 2024, 12:00PM ET Webinar co-hosted by Halt the Harm Network, Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) and WV Rivers Coalition. Description, Video recording link and links to report, articles and resources
“Fracking with ‘Forever Chemicals’ in West Virginia: A New Report from Physicians for Social Responsibility”

Available on Ohio River Valley Institute (ORVI):
April 15, 2024 Article by Joe Cullen
“BIL/IRA Implementation Digest” includes listings of deadlines, webinars, reports & announcements & Resources

Available on ReImagine Appalachia:
Register for upcoming Virtual Events via Zoom and see recordings, reports, & resources available for past events.

Wednesday, May 8, 2024 6-7PM Zoom Webinar
“Inflation Reduction Act Benefits” (PA)

April 26, 2024 Press Release Statement
“Appalachian Groups send letter to Congress Seeking Critical Investments in Appalachian Flood Resilience Programs & Workforce Development”
(MOVCA was a signatory)

April 22, 2024 Press Release Statement by Dana Kuhnline, ReImagine Appalachia Campaign Manager
“ReImagine Appalachia on President Biden’s Historic Climate Announcement Celebrating Earth Week”

Tuesday, April 16, 2024 Noon Webinar discussing new report . Moderated by Jessica Arriens NWF
“Growing a Restoration Workforce: Strategies to Repair Damaged Lands & Reconnect Appalachia’s Disconnected Workers – Report Release”

April 4, 2024, 10AM Online webinar hosted by Swaniti Global Initiative & Reimagine Appalachia
“Appalachia and the World: Putting Appalachian Economic Revitalization in a Global Context”
(Speakers include Mayor Steve Patterson of Athens, OH)

April 3, 2024 noon Event recording available
“Instagram Live: Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative”

Available on Environmental Working Group:
April 25, 2024 EWG Research by John E. Reeder
“Federal PFAS Report Card”

April 19, 2024 Article by EWG Staff compiled these statements by leasers and organizations.
“What they’re saying about the EPA’s ‘hazardous substances’ designation for two PFAS”

April 17, 2024 Article by EWG Staff
“What does the EPS’s new hazardous substances designation for two ‘forever chemicals mean?”

April 16, 2024 Article by EWG Staff
“What is EWG’s Food Scores?”

April 5, 2024 Article by EWG Staff
“What do the new federal PFAS drinking water standards mean?”

April 2, 2024 Article by Alexandra Hopkins, Communications Intern
“Get toxic dust out of your home this spring”

Available on
April 7, 2024 Article by Derek Seidman, LITTLE Sis
“Six Things Everyone Should Know About the Mountain Valley Pipeline”

Available on the Science & Environmental Health Network:
April 30, 2024 Article by Carmi Orenstein
“Need Another Reason to Support the Transition Away from Gas Stoves? Nanocluster Aerosols”

April 30, 2024 Article by Ted Schettler, Science Director
“From Macroplastics to Microplastics: Worldwide Environmental, Wildlife, and Human Contamination. Real Solutions Urgently needed”

Available on
April 26, 2024 Article by Virginia Hunt
“Plastics: The Kingpin of the Fertility Crisis”

April 22, 2024 Article by Virginia Hunt
“How Earth Day Went Global, And How We Can Use It To Save Our Earth”

April 17, 2024 Article by Jacob Wunsh
“’s Interview with Two Youth Climate Activists”

See also this Resource available:

Available on Common Dreams:
March 29, 2024 Article by Thor Benson (omitted from March media listing)
“Green Groups Secure Deal to Clean Up Coal- Polluted West Virginia Streams”

Available on Newsweek:
April 4, 2024 Article by Jeff Young (Autumn Crowe, WV Rivers Coalition, is quoted)
“How West Virginia’s Coal Country Could Get a Clean-Energy Makeover”

Available on Earthjustice:
April 30, 2024 Press release. Contact – Erin Fitzgerald
“EPA Proposes Banning Toxic Food Pesticide Over Drinking Water Concerns”

April 25, 2024 Press release. Contact- Alexandria Trimble, Earth Justice
“Earthjustice Applauds EPA for Historic Suite of Safeguards from Power Plant Pollution”

Available on The Guardian:
April 25, 2024 Associate Press Article
“New rule compels US coal-fired power plants to capture emissions – or shut down”

April 19, 2024 Associated Press Article
“EPA moves to make US polluters pay for cleanup of two forever chemicals”\

April 14, 2024 Article by Amy Westervelt and Kyle Pope
“How to spot five of the fossil fuel industry’s biggest disinformation tactics”

April 11, 2024 PFAS article by Tom Perkins
“EPA has limited six ‘forever chemicals’ in drinking water- but there are 15,000”

April 10, 2024 PFAS article by Tom Perkins
“US imposes first-ever limits on levels of toxic PFAS in drinking water”

Available on United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):
April 10, 2024 updated and links fact sheets and informational webinars for communities, water systems, & professionals
“Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS): Final PFAS National Primary Drinking Water Regulation”
Webinars: April 16, 2-3PM; April 23, 2-3, and April 30, 2024 2-3PM.- register. Recordings will be available at above site.

Available on Inside Climate News:
April 6, 2024 Interview by Steve Curwood, Living on Earth, with Dan Gearino, staff writer at Inside Climate News
“Q & A: The Outsized Climate and Environmental Impacts of Ohio’s 2024 Senate Race”

April 4, 2024 Article by Kristoffer Tigue
“White House Awards $20 Billion to Nation’s First ‘Green Bank’ Network

March 29, 2024 Article by Lindsey Byman (omitted in April listing)
“Biochar Is “Low-Hanging Fruit’ for Sequestering Carbon and Combating Climate Change”

Available from FORCES for NATURE:
March 31, 2024 Podcast by Crystal DiMiceli (25 minutes. Transcription available)
“Shaping the Future of Climate Education and Empowerment with Bruce Coon, Ep. 74”

Available on The Conversation:
April 18, 2024 Article by Preety Sharma and Ayeshal Haque
“Earth Day 2024: ‘Green muscle memory’ and climate education promote behaviour change”

Available on Gas Leaks:
April 16, 2024 “You Shouldn’t Have to Pay for the American Gas Association’s Lobbying”

Available on Scientific American: (reprinted from E & E News- article appears in Energywire)
April 5, 2024 Article by Benjamin Storrow & E&E News
“Renewable Energy Shatters Records in the U.S.”,in%202021%2C%20EIA%20data%20shows

Available on April 8, 2024 Article by Diana DiGangi
“Columbia Law report rebuts 33 ‘most pervasive false claims’ about solar, wind, EVs”

Available on Sierra (Magazine of the Sierra Club)
March 24, 2024 Article by Jessian Choy
“How to Find the Greenest, Least Toxic Textiles”

Climate Corner: An Earth Day to celebrate

Apr 27, 2024

Callie Lyons

Earlier this month, we received unprecedented news regarding PFAS when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced enforceable drinking water limits on two forever chemicals — specifically PFOA (or C8) and PFOS. After decades of study and debate, the historic action effectively reduces allowable limits to the lowest detectable levels — impacting an estimated 100 million Americans whose water is contaminated with the industrial solvents.

The nation’s awareness of forever chemicals originated in the Mid-Ohio Valley with the Wood County, W.Va., class action lawsuit against DuPont over C8 contamination resulting from manufacturing processes at Washington Works. As a result of the class action settlement agreement, residents who participated in the C8 Health Project became an integral part of proving that exposure had a negative effect on human health and identifying health conditions linked to exposure. The information that came to light as a result of the C8 Health Project and interpreted by the C8 Science Panel was fundamental to all that followed — including the recent EPA action aimed at limiting exposure and thereby limiting harm for exposed communities.

“Above all, today’s momentous developments are a testament to the power of ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things. It is only thanks to the dogged advocacy of people whose lives were upended by PFAS that the EPA is paying attention to these insidious substances,” said Mariah Blake, PFAS author and journalist.

The story of forever chemicals is known today only because of the people of the Mid-Ohio Valley who found themselves in the middle of a situation of global consequence long before anyone knew how big the problem really was.

Advocating in any small way against DuPont was never popular. For a long time prior to the class action, the voices of the rare few who suspected something was wrong with the water were drowned out by a more comfortable narrative. It wasn’t long ago that those individuals who dared raise the issue were labeled crazy or worse — and ignored or encouraged to relocate.

No one ever took up this fight because it seemed like a fun hobby or would advance their social standing. The individuals who did so were burdened by purpose. For the most part, the obligation to advocate for awareness and change came on unexpectedly and incidentally as they were going about their daily lives.

We know about C8 because world-class journalists like Mariah Blake and countless others have devoted their time and talents to telling the stories of people like Wilbur Tennant, Bucky Bailey, and Rob Bilott — and their long suffering families. We have seen them in movies like “The Devil We Know” and “Dark Waters.”

There are also unsung heroes like Robert Griffin, the manager of the Little Hocking Water Association, who wisely pushed for Ohio water systems to be tested at a time when only West Virginia water systems were being sampled — and regulatory agencies had to rely on industry labs to provide the results. Expanding the region to be tested ultimately revealed that the unconstrained contamination was far worse than expected.

Teams of people working for Brookmar united the community over one of the largest health studies ever conducted in order to learn as much as possible about the effects of exposure. They successfully enrolled nearly 70,000 Mid-Ohio Valley residents who contributed blood and medical histories to this pursuit of the truth.

Each and every one of these individuals contributed to the change we see today.

There are many other pathways to exposure that remain unaddressed, so the fight against forever chemicals is far from over. I encourage you to join forces with MOV Climate Action to take on this and many other pollution problems compromising our lives and futures.

Despite the challenges that remain, this Earth Day we have great cause for celebration. Congratulations to all who have reluctantly been part of this chemical saga. Here’s to a greener future for everyone because of you!


Callie Lyons is a journalist, researcher and author who works for FITSNews. Her 2007 book Stain-Resistant, Nonstick, Waterproof and Lethal: the Hidden Dangers of C8 was the first to cover forever chemicals and their impact on communities — a story later told in the movie Dark Waters. Her investigative work has been featured in media outlets, publications, and documentaries all over the world. Lyons also appears in Citizen Sleuth — a 2023 documentary exploring the genre of true crime.

Climate Corner: Permitting harm

Apr 20, 2024

Giulia Mannarino

PFAS (polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances) are a group of man-made chemicals that have been used since the 1940s, mostly to make consumer goods waterproof/stain resistant or nonstick. These chemicals are very common in the environment all around the world. They are now recognized as “forever” chemicals because they are extremely persistent, lasting thousands of years. There are dozens of chemicals in the PFAS family including PFOS, PFOA (C8), PFHxS and GenX. For decades, DuPont was responsible for discharging C8 into the Ohio River and severely polluting local drinking water supplies. DuPont morphed into Chemours and GenX has replaced C-8. Regardless of these changes, this dangerous pollution continues, seemingly unabated. Despite their claims of being a good neighbor, Chemours continues to profit from passing the cost of pollution onto local communities.

Chemours has an extensive past history of permit violations. The company has been consistently out of compliance with environmental regulations. In a court document, filed April 25, 2023, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) documented many permit discharge exceedances of up to 3117% into the Ohio River in West Virginia from 2018 to 2023. These discharges were violations of the Clean Water Act as well as their permit. Currently, Chemours is seeking another permit through the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) to discharge additional PFAS chemicals, including Gen-X, into the Ohio River. WVDEP would probably have routinely approved the Proposed Application for a WV National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Water Pollution Control Permit (No. WV0117986).

However, the individual WV/NPDES permit process includes the development and advertisement of a Draft Permit, as well as the opportunity for the public to comment and to request a public hearing.

Because the Ohio River is already overburdened with PFAS chemicals, surpassing the EPA’s 2022 Interim Health Advisories, a non-profit watchdog agency issued an action alert regarding this permit application and urged supporters to request a public hearing to try and stop this additional toxic pollution discharge. Consequently, a Public Hearing was held via Zoom on Monday, March 4, with over 60 attendees. With the exception of only one individual (a company plant?), all who commented or asked questions were against the issuance of this permit. Although WVDEP was respectful of everyone’s opinions, the public hearing appeared to be a mere formality. The concerns expressed regarding PFAS and their impacts on health risks do not seem to be reasons for the WVDEP to deny the permit application. Regardless of all of the public comments against this application and the concerns expressed about PFAS and impacts on health, this permit request will most likely be rubber stamped.

The EPA has identified Gen-X, and additional PFAS, as harmful to human health, even in small concentrations, linking exposure to cancer and other serious illnesses. Many health studies confirm that ingestion of PFAS can cause adverse health effects even at very low levels. These include; increased risk of cancer, increased cholesterol, weakened immune systems, hormonal disruptions, lowered fertility rates and developmental issues in infants, children and others. In fact, sixteen reports filed by DuPont and submitted to the EPA between April 2006 and January 2013 cite numerous health effects. Fortunately, the EPA has committed to action to address PFAS contamination and has developed a “Strategic Roadmap” regarding PFAS chemicals. On Dec. 14, 2023, EPA published its second annual progress report

Each state is tasked with similar efforts to develop an action strategy regarding research, restriction and remediation of PFAS to protect their communities. During the 2023 Legislative session, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice signed HB 3189 the PFAS Protection Act. It requires the WVDEP to identify and address PFAS sources in raw water by developing PFAS action plans, and improves reporting requirements related to PFAS for specific facilities. Most recently, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and Ohio Department of Health collaborated on the sampling and testing of water across the state for the presence of PFAS and other variations of the chemical, including PFOS, GenX, PFBS, PFHxs and PFNA. The results were issued January 2024 and are available online. For both states, these are definitely steps in the right direction. But it’s still a long and winding road ahead before any day on our planet can truly be celebrated as Earth Day.


Giulia Mannarino of Belleville, is a grandmother concerned about her two granddaughters’ futures and a member of Mid-Ohio Valley Climate Action.

Climate Corner: Growing good for the planet

Apr 13, 2024

Sister Molly Bauer

Many faith communities are collaborating with other organizations and individuals desiring to make a difference by caring for our sacred earth. This often arises from the understanding that we are called to be good stewards of the Earth. Interfaith Power and Light (IPL) promotes climate action from a faith-based perspective. IPL’s week to encourage nationwide action on climate is April 19-28. This year’s theme is Common Ground: Cultivating Connections Between Our Faith, Our Food and the Climate. The Green Sanctuary committee of the First UU Society of Marietta (232 Third St., Marietta) will be hosting a free screening of “Common Ground” from 2:30-4:30 p.m. on April 21 in the congregation’s social hall. The public is invited to attend. This documentary film explores how regenerative agriculture can help heal the soil, our health and the planet.

As you probably know, many churches in the Mid-Ohio Valley and beyond have food pantries, gardens, community meals and other activities that endeavor to respond to the needs of the community in practical ways. I am a member of the Congregation of St. Joseph. I would like to note some of the efforts of the Congregation of St. Joseph regarding food given that our faith, our food, and the climate are interconnected. Our Wheeling Center is home to more than 20 senior sisters. They desire to do their part in caring for the environment and one another. They work with Cura Dining Services in a “No Waste Food Program,” a “Be Well” Nutrition Program, and a kitchen garden.

When I spoke with Scott Maguire, director of dining services, he emphasized that sending food to landfills is not only a waste of precious natural resources (which is bad), it also contributes to climate change (very bad). Our goal is to reduce and redirect as much food waste as possible, keeping it out of landfills and transforming it into something that feeds our people and our environment. Waste Nothing is a simple system to measure, reduce, and repurpose surplus food in your kitchen. ​​​​​​​

This is the amount of food that we did not send to the landfill, and it’s measured in the size of quarts. As hard as you may try to reduce and reuse, there will be some food waste our kitchens just can’t avoid. Compost, feeding animals, and outsourcing are the top ways to reuse the waste. It turns out we throw a lot of perfectly good food in the trash. We can rescue these neglected ingredients and create additional great recipes that put leftover food scraps to work and combat food waste in the process. For example, using the old bananas for banana bread or leftover breakfast oatmeal to make oatmeal cookies.

The kitchen garden provides a good amount of harvest. We have a few sisters that love being part of it with it being a raised bed and allows them more access to help in the garden. Most of the sisters love the idea of having fresh vegetables pulled from the garden brought in and then served to them for lunch or dinner.

Sharon Mendelson, life enrichment coordinator, said “Last year we harvested many tomatoes, Hungarian wax peppers, bell peppers, parsley, oregano, thyme, chives. All were utilized by Cura Dining Services to provide freshly picked healthful flavors to the sisters, from their property.”

Additionally, beginning last year, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Wheeling and WVU Medicine Wheeling Hospital have collaborated to establish a community garden. This garden space was graciously offered to Wheeling Hospital to grow fresh vegetables for patients and employees. Community volunteers assist Wheeling hospital employees in maintaining the garden throughout the growing season. This will be an ongoing community collaboration for years to come!

Interfaith Power and Light has a wealth of resources for faith communities available at their website to inspire and activate congregations to care for the Earth year-round. Across the nation, people of all faiths will join their voices together on Earth Day, April 22 at noon. See

Angie Iafrate is Outreach Coordinator with West Virginia Interfaith Power and Light, a state affiliate of the national Interfaith Power and Light network. If you would like to set up a time for a conversation with her, her email is


Sister Molly Bauer is a member of the Congregation of St. Joseph, resides in Parkersburg and is a member of the Mid-Ohio Valley Climate Action board.

Fracking Under Public Lands

Apr 13, 2024

George Banziger

Letters to the Editor

The Marietta Times

I am outraged by the decision of the Ohio Legislature (both houses) and the governor for mandating fracking, i.e., high-pressure hydraulic fracturing, under Ohio public lands. Let me count the ways…

First of all, the legislation authorizing this desecration of state parks and other public lands, HB 507, was buried (stuffing, if you will), in a poultry bill passed by the legislature last year without any public hearings. Many of these public lands, including Salt Fork State Park the state’s largest park, are in eastern Ohio and have benefitted residents of Washington County for the purposes of swimming, hiking, fishing birding and other outdoor activities. Our representatives in the Ohio statehouse, in other words, have thrown transparency and accountability to the winds.

Another outrage – the wording in this legislation states that oil & gas companies “shall,” not “may,” offer bids to these companies. In other words, it is a mandate, not an option.

In this legislation natural gas is described as “green energy.” This is the fossil fuel that in the long run is over 80 times more consequential as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Another outrage

Groups dedicated to preserving Ohio public lands for the use and pleasure of its citizens, such as Save Ohio Parks, have participated in legal action under the “single-purpose” rule of lawmaking; that is, a piece of legislation should address a single issue and not be tied to something irrelevant like domestic birds. The Oil & Gas Land Management Commission (OGLMC), the group charged by the state, to review the bids for the“se parcels of land, did not even wait for this litigation to be completed to carry out its review of “nominations from oil and gas companies. Another outrage.

Oil and gas companies that have submitted nominations for parcels of public lands are not identified by the OLGMC (yet another outrage), but recently it has been determined that many of these companies, such as Encino Energy of Texas are from out of state. This action reflects a long-standing trend of exploitation of Appalachia, whereby resources of the region are extracted from our lands and profits end up outside our region. Furthermore, those residents, primarily in Appalachian Ohio, will suffer the health risks of fracking (in a 2022 report Physicians for Social Responsibility have documented health problems associated with fracking activities). Must this outrageous pattern of exploitation continue?

Has the OGLMC considered where oil & gas companies will obtain the massive amounts of water required for the fracking process (over one million gallons per well) and what effect it will have on the waters in and around our public lands? More outrage

The OGLMC offers the opportunity for the public to offer comments on these nominations for drilling under public lands, and I have been among the real people of Ohio who have offered comments in opposition to fracking on particular parcels of public lands. Last summer some outstanding journalists from the Cleveland Plain Dealer and other news sources discovered that hundreds of fake comments were generated automatically through a group called the Consumer Energy Alliance, a group associated with oil & gas interests. People who apparently sent these comments did not even know that their names and contact information were used for this malicious purpose. The Ohio Attorney General is investigating this apparent act of fraudulent representation. What is more outrageous–that this scam took place or that the Attorney General has offered no public comments about the progress or results of his investigation?

A continuing outrage directed at the fracking industry and at the waste products associated with this industry is that oil & gas companies are not required to reveal the chemicals that are used in the fracking of shale deposits. Our own Washington County is a leader (a dubious distinction) among Ohio’s counties in the amount of so-called brine waste injected into its lands.

If natural gas resources are as important as its advocates claim to America’s energy independence and to the smooth transition from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy, why don’t we leave a lot of this precious resource in the ground for future use rather than extract it for near-term profit? Those with an interest in this resource should be outraged by the frantic rush for drilling rights in Ohio which is comparable in its frenzy to the 1849 California Gold Rush.

What can be done to address these outrages? Must we be relegated to cursing the darkness in this pattern of exploitation and abuse? The voters of Ohio–and particularly those in eastern Ohio who are most affected by fracking in public lands-can demand to know the positions of candidates for the Ohio Legislature on this important issue. The 136th session of the Ohio General Assembly, most of whom are on the November ballot and take their seats in January 2025, can move to establish transparency in this process of bids, contracts, and injection wells and create some accountability– if voters hold their feet to the fire.

Climate Corner: How my life changed driving a used EV

Apr 6, 2024

Jonathan Brier

In October 2023 I wrote “Electrify The MOV it just makes cents” and said I would buy an EV. Little did I know I would find a used EV with 20k miles on it under $25k just after Thanksgiving (and under $20k after federal incentives for a used EV). My wife and I did calculations and we wondered why manufacturers are focusing on large high priced EVs so many cannot afford. Given how the tech is evolving and my planned mileage we bought used and kept our eyes open for cars.

An EV makes a lot of sense financially with a predictable commute of ~100 miles from Marietta, Ohio to Athens, Ohio and back a few days a week. That is well within the lower cost EV range and I can charge no problem with a 240 volt charger overnight.

Between my wife and I we’ve driven the EV ~8k miles since December. We road tripped to New Hampshire (around New Years, in the cold) ~1,500 miles, we visited Cincinnati, Ohio (in January with a headwind) ~420 miles, and Detroit, Michigan (in March) ~700 miles. Yes, the cold does reduce the range, but it’s not that much. Just like getting to know any vehicle you learn when and how to stop to add more range. The range anxiety was gone after our second road trip because we knew how to find charging and the time it adds. We have a slower charge rate compared to newer and high end cars for home and DC fast charging, but it is kind of nice to be forced to stop and stretch and see the local areas. We’re not stuck for hours, sometimes just 5 minutes up to 45, or we charge at the hotel when we stay overnight. Optimized charging times with planners like ABRP (A Better Route Planner) and Plugshare make it easy to get from A to B and back.

Some things that changed:

  1. I haven’t been to a gas station for gas since I sold my old car, I have stopped to charge.
  2. My savings on gas looks like it will cover my insurance and registration meaning I have more money in my pocket. I only pay ~$25 in electric a month energy instead of $100+ for gas.
  3. Driving has become relaxing on long commutes since I don’t have the constant engine noise or vibration.

4 .I started noticing more about how little thought goes into the experiences around many charging locations making them less attractive in the long run. ie can you walk to a bathroom, find food, shop, or walk around.

  1. I think more about the electrical grid and how our community aggregation selection works. Lowest cost doesn’t mean lowest impact on health and environment.
  2. I smile when I pass the gas stations.
  3. I long for solar and wind farms in my local area…OK, I was like that before, but local renewable electricity means you get local taxes from what fuels your car, supporting the local economy and cleaner environment.

There is so much misinformation and disinformation floating about, and I’ll say the same thing I say to students. Understand who is behind the information, don’t just accept something at face value, check multiple sources, understand the bias of the source.

While Earth Day may be the first thing that comes to your mind in April, it also is known as Drive Electric Earth Month. There are numerous events where essentially EV owners answer questions, share stories, show their cars, and some will give rides. Each event lists the models that said they will be there. Visit to locate an event near you.

Nearest to Parkersburg/Marietta, at the time of writing the events are:

* Wednesday April 10 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Marshall University

* Tuesday April 23 2-4 p.m. at Ohio University

If you are really curious about driving an EV, fill out the interest form for Rural Reimagined ( and have an EV on loan for free for 2-6 weeks. This is open to many Appalachian counties in KY, OH, TN, VA, and WV.

I recommend taking an EV for a test drive. You might get hooked and that is a win for our Earth.


Jonathan Brier is a Marietta, Ohio resident, Information Scientist, Data Librarian, and an Eagle Scout. He is a member of the Association of Computing Machinery, American Association for the Advancement of Science, OpenStreetMap US, Mid-Ohio Valley Climate Action, and a Wikipedia contributor. If you would like to reach him, visit or email:

Selected Readings for April 2024

MOVCA Selected Media Postings March 2024

Compiled by Cindy Taylor

Available online in The Marietta Times:

March 2, 2024 Editorial

“Orphan wells a great opportunity”


Available online in The Parkersburg News and Sentinel:


March 4, 2024   Community News Staff Report

“Clean Water Mural Tour flows into Parkersburg Art Center”

MOVCA, WV Rivers, & PAC announce free community event 3-5 p.m. March 9th at PAC. Art-O-Rama is March 16, 10a.m.-1p.m.


March 2, 2024 Editorial

“Orphan Wells: Cleanup could create career opportunities”

Ohio River Valley Institute’s report mentioned; Ted Boettner (ORVI) & Dana Kuhnline of ReImagine Appalachia quoted.


Appearing on WTAP:

March 5, 2024 Feature by Chase Campbell text and video (Eric Engle is interviewed)

“Chemours seeks permit to discharge wastewater into Ohio River”


March 4, 2024 Article by Sarah Coleman  Text and video.

“Clean Water Mural visits Parkersburg Art Center”


March 3, 2024 Feature by Chase Campbell Text with video.

“W.Va. DEP to host virtual public hearing on Chemours wastewater permit application”


Available on the Charleston Gazette-Mail:

See articles by Mike Tony, Environment and Energy Reporter:

March 29, 2024 Article by Mike Tony.   Eric Engle is cited.

“ ‘Toxic baggage’: Residents blast DoE, Arch 2 hydrogen hub during listening session”


March 28, 2024 Article by Mike Tony

“PSC approves double-digit rate hike for Mon Power, Potomac Edison residential customers”


March 28, 2024 Article by Mike Tony

“EPA still hasn’t acted on water quality concerns for 1,600 miles of WV waterways”


March 27, 2024 Article by Mike Tony

“WV’s coal magnate governor vetoes bipartisan pro-renewable energy bill”


March 20, 2024 Op-Ed by Eric Engle

“Eric Engle: Didn’t we learn from DuPont?”


March 20, 2024 Article by Mike Tony, Environment and Energy Reporter

“EPA, DEP not doing their jobs?: WV groups sue over Lower Guyandotte watershed oversight”


March 16, 2024 Article by Mike Tony, Environment and Energy Reporter

“Now they’re asking for more’: Chemours plant poised to pollute more PFAS amid toxic legacy”


March 14, 2024 Article by Mike Tony, Environment and Energy Reporter

“WV official appointed to FERC; defended Mountain Valley Pipeline permit, went after EPA”


March 13, 2024 Article by Mike Tony, Environment and Energy Reporter

“Department of Energy to hold listening session on ARCH2 hydrogen hub”


March 8, 2024 Article by Mike Tony, Environment and Energy Reporter

“WV greenhouse gas reduction plan blasted for favoring fossil fuels over renewables”


March 6, 2024 Article by Mike Tony, Environment and Energy Reporter

“WV Senate panel ignores bill restricting community air monitoring data use”


March 2, 2024 Article by Mike Tony, Environment and Energy Reporter

“ ‘We need some help’: water quality, DEP oversight concerns mount”


Available on Farm and Dairy:

March 27, 2024 News article

“BLM seeks input on fracking in Wayne National Forest”

See also on U.S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management:

March 20, 2024 “BLM seeks input on additional analysis for oil and gas leasing in Ohio”


Available on The Bargain

March 27, 2024 Letter-to-Editor by Dr. Randi Pokladnik, Uhrichsville, OH

“Landowners forced into fracking agreements”


Available on Morning Journal (OH):

March 26, 2024 Letter-to-Editor by Randi Jeannine Pokladnik, Uhrichsville, OH

“ODNR should protect public lands”


Available on The Post (student-run news publication of Ohio University, Athens, OH)

March 6, 2024 Article by Maggie Amacher

“Ohio judge dismissed appeal, moves forward with fracking on public lands”


Available on Save Ohio Parks

March 12, 2023  Press Release by Melinda Zemper  Media release crossposted from FracTracker Alliance

“Data Reveals Discrepancies between Reported Oil and Gas Incidents in Ohio and Industry Claims”


Available on West Virginia Rivers Coalition:

March 30, 2024 Article about upcoming April 2nd webinar: Lunch & Learn: Fracking with ‘Forever Chemicals’ in WV  Hosted by Halt the Harm Network, PSR, and WV Rivers Coalition


March 23, 2024 “Register for ARCH 2 Listening Session on March 27th  Map included and link to register

See also WV Rivers’ fact sheet: “Impacts of Hydrogen on Public Health, Water, and Climate”

Available at


March 2024 “Honoring the Life of Turner Sharp: A Guardian of West Virginia’s Rivers and Forests”


March 8, 2024 Action alert “Stop Toxic Pollution in Our Ohio River!”


March 5, 2024 Action Alert – “Urgent request: Tell leaders NO on HB 5018 before 1PM!”


March 2, 2024 WVRC Policy News


March 1,  2024 Action Alert from WVRC

“Save our State Parks – Ask the House Committee on Government Organization to Reject SB 688”


Available on ORVI:

March 25, 2024 Article by Joe Cullen

“BIL/IRA Implementation Digest” includes listings of deadlines, webinars, reports & announcements & Resources


March 21, 2024 Article by Sean O’Leary  Text and audio

“The Tri-State CCS Hub and The Return of The Bad Deal”


March 17, 2024 Article by Joanne Kilgour

“LNG Exports Are a Rotten Deal for Appalachians”


Available on ReImagine Appalachia:  

Register for upcoming Virtual Events via Zoom and see recordings, reports, & resources available for past events.


April 4, 2024, 10AM Online webinar hosted by Swaniti Global Initiative & Reimagine Appalachia

“Appalachia and the World: Putting Appalachian Economic Revitalization in a Global Context”

(Speakers include Mayor Steve Patterson of Athens, OH)


March 29, 2024  Article by Sylvia Porras, ReImagine Appalachia Policy Intern.

“Loss of ARPA Funding Threatens Appalachian Children & Communities: The American Rescue Plan Act”


March 20, 2024 noon “Instagram Live: How women wannabe farmers find farm land”  with Annie Warmke


March 19, 2024 noon “Natural Infrastructure/ Workforce Development Policy Report Release”


March 14, 2024 noon.  “Shelter in the Storm: ReImagining resiliency for your communities & congregations”


March 12, 2024 Article by Sylvia Porras, ReImagine Appalachia Policy Intern

“A Guide to Earmarks for Appalachian Communities” Includes links to webinar recording, PowerPoint, &resources


March 5, 2024 noon. “Sustainable Manufacturing CO-Ops Report Release”

Includes link to recording and new report, “Worker Ownership and Cooperative enterprise in Appalachia’s New Energy Economy


March 5, 2024 New Report from ReImagine Appalachia

“Cooperatives in the New Energy Economy: Anchoring Ownership, Wealth, and Jobs in Appalachia’s New Energy Economy.”


March 4, 2024 Article by Rike Rothenstein, Research Associate ReImagine Appalachia

“The Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative (ARRI) Webinar Series – Appalachia’s Forests: From Reforestation to a Growing Recreational Economy”


Available on Sierra Club:  Sierra Club West Virginia

March 6, 2024 Article by Austyn Gaffney

“Appalachian Organizations Are Working to Make the Region a Hub for Green Manufacturing and Clean Energy”

New federal funding will help small and medium-size manufacturers join the emerging circular economy.


Available on Associated Press:

March 24, 2024 Climate News Article by Isabella O’Malley and Jennifer McDermott

“Energy agency announces $6 billion to slash emissions in industrial facilities”  [OH & WV facilities mentioned]


March 13, 2024 Climate Article by Seth Borenstein

“US energy industry methane emissions are triple what government thinks, study finds”


Available on Energy News Network:

March 22, 2024 Article by Kathiann M. Kowalski

“Environmental groups appeal court order on drilling under Ohio park and wildlife areas”


March 21, 2024 Article by Kathiann M. Kowalski

“Ohio landowners say solar oppositions groups threaten their property rights”


FaCT: Faith Communities Together for a Sustainable Future   

Check out their “Distinguished Speaker Series

See the articles in Newsletter :


Available on Earthjustice:

March 21, 2024 Article by Earthjustice

“The clean energy transition is happening. But Big Oil isn’t budging”


March  2024 Article

“Industry is Trying to Weaken Regulations on Cancer-Causing Emissions”,under%20the%20Clean%20Air%20Act.


Available on Environmental Working Group:

March 20, 2024 News Release contact Sarah Graddy, WWG

“EWG’s 2024 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce: The Dirty Dozen is packed with fungicides that can disrupt human hormones”


March 5. 2024 News Article by Alexis Temkin, Ph.D (EWG) and Tasha Stoiber, Ph.D. (EWG)

“PFAS and Developmental and Reproductive Toxicity: An EWG Fact Sheet”


Available on WV Department of Environmental Protection:

Revised 2023

West Virginia Materials Recycling Directory REAP (The Rehabilitation Environmental Action Plan)


Appearing on-line on WV Public Broadcasting or WOUB (PBS) or NPR, etc

March 21, 2024 Article by Curtis Tate

“Nicholas County Solar Project Receives $129 Million Federal Grant”


March 8, 2024 Article by Curtis Tate  Text and audio

“PFAS Concerns Loom Over Chemours Permit for Washington Works”


Available on Living on Earth: (Public Radio’s Environmental News Magazine)

March 8, 2024  Audio and Text

“Fracking Under Ohio State Parks”


Available on The Guardian:

March 25, 2024 Article by staff and agencies

“US to spend $6bn to reduce carbon footprint of steel, ice cream ad mac and cheese”


March 13, 2024 Article by Associated Press see also AP article by Seth Borenstein

“US energy industry gas leaks are triple the official figures, study finds”


March 8, 2024 Article by Rachel Salvidge and Leana Hosea

“Cancer-causing PCB chemicals still being produced despite 40-year-old ban”


Available on Grist:

March 13, 2024 Article by Naveena Sadasivam and Kate Yoder

“You can start applying for the American Climate Corp next month”


Available on Physicians for Social Responsibility:

March 27, 2024 News Article about new REPORT, Fracking with “Forever Chemicals’ in West Virginia

“ ‘Forever Chemicals’ in West Virginia Gas Wells” Article and link to download report.

Access the report at:


Available on the Science & Environmental Health Network:

March 21, 2024 Article by Justin Nobel, Book author

“Petroleum-238: Big Oil’s Dangerous Secret and the Grassroots Fight to Stop It- Author’s Note” [WV mentioned]


March 21, 2024 Article by Sandra Steingraber, SEHN Senior Scientist

“RePercussion Section: Luminous Cockpits, Radium Girls, and Fracking Boys”


Available on

March 30, 2024  Article by Lydia McMullen-Laird

“5 Ways Being Zero Waste and Owning Less Can Make You Happier”

March 21, 2024 Feature

“5 Reasons We need Trees for a Healthy Planet”


March 11, 2024

“Tiny but Deadly: Your Butt on Plastic”


March 8, 2024 Article by Kendall Witters

“4 Women Fighting Plastic”


March 4, 2024 Article by Lindsey Sparkman

“Is Plastic Making Us Obese?”


Available on Yale Climate Connections:

March 29, 2024 Article by Michael Svoboda

“Book review: ‘Save Ourselves’ author says we can’t wait on global leaders to save the climate”


March 26, 2024 Article by YCC team  Text and audio link.

“The plastics industry’s carbon footprint has doubled in the past few decades” Making plastics from algae or plant material instead of fossil fuels could help.


March 25, 2024 Article by Barbara Grady

“How can I make my retirement plan climate-friendly?


March 7, 2024 Article by Michael Svoboda

“The best climate change movies and TV series of 2023”


March 4. 2024 Article by Sueellen Campbell

‘How to normalize the climate conversation”



Available on HEATED:

March 1, 2024 Article by Arielle Samuelson

“Plastic recycling is a scam”


Available on Scientific American:

March 14, 2024  Article by Katherine Bourzac

“First Comprehensive Plastics Database Tallies Staggering 16,000 Chemicals – and It’s Still Incomplete”


Available on the Des Moines Register:

March 4, 2024 Article by Elizabeth Weise, S. J. Beard, S. Bhat, R. Radilla, C. Procell and K. Zaiets

“US counties are blocking the future of renewable energy: These maps, graphics show how”



Climate Corner: Water is life

Mar 30, 2024

Vic Elam

During the Roman Empire, it is thought that lead poisoning from the lead pipes that the Romans used may have caused or contributed to the downfall of the Roman Empire. Yet today we defile the Earth’s precious waters with all manner of toxic substances apparently using some logic that we can contaminate water in all places and in all manner and somehow remain unaffected. That logic does not hold water.

According to EPA’s most recent National Rivers and Streams Assessment (NRSA) 42% of the nation’s rivers and streams were considered in poor condition due to phosphorus levels and 44% poor because of elevated nitrogen levels. These two elements are considered nutrients and although they may be good to put on your yard or garden, too much in streams causes problems like harmful bacteria and algae. There are many sources of nutrients that contaminate water; agricultural crop production, livestock waste and lawn fertilizer applications are but a few.

Another striking finding from the NRSA is that 64% of river and stream miles had moderate or high levels of riparian disturbance. Riparian is defined as lands that occur along the edges of rivers, streams, lakes, and other water bodies. Riparian disturbance can be cropping to the edge, maintaining a cleared area of lawn to the edge, or could be damage from excessive wave action (wake) from boats, etc. Riparian disturbance typically results in bank erosion or costly addition of armament such as riprap, degradation of habitat quality for wildlife, and certainly negatively impacts the scenic quality of our rivers.

Fish tissues were collected and analyzed for other contaminants and found to exceed screening levels for mercury (26%) and PCBs (45%). Also, PFOS, also known as a forever chemicals, was detected in 91%. Bacteria levels exceeded the EPA human health benchmark in 20% of river and stream miles.

One parameter that has a big impact on wildlife is sedimentation; nationally sedimentation was rated as 57% Good, 23% Fair, and 20% Poor. The Southern Appalachia Ecoregion which encompasses the Mid-Ohio Valley saw an increase of 11% in the good condition rating for sediment, so it’s not all bad.

Of course we know that fossil fuel extraction exacts a toll on our water quality. Modern hydraulic fracturing (fracking) typically uses many millions of gallons per well. Often that water is taken from surface streams, severely depleting the flow available to wildlife. After the water is used for fracking much of it returns to the surface, but not always where it was injected. When it returns it is contaminated with all manner of harmful chemicals, salts, and radiation, making disposal especially treacherous. And we all know about the perils from acid mine drainage from coal mines and coal-fired power plant sludge landfill leaching.

A recent Supreme Court ruling that supersedes previous court rulings based on a case referred to as Sackett v. EPA, has jeopardized water quality all over the country by weakening the protections for wetlands. Wetlands provide what is referred to as ecosystem services by lessening the impacts from floods, storing carbon, providing wildlife habitat, allowing water to recharge aquifers and remove contaminants from water. The Sackett ruling allows previously protected wetlands to be drained, filled and converted to other uses.

Plastics are yet another threat to our water. Oceans are becoming so inundated with plastic that fish are ingesting microplastics that result from deterioration of larger plastics. Lab results are showing that plastic is making its way into fish tissue including seafood that we eat.

Pharmaceuticals are another threat. Humans eliminate trace amounts of drugs that we use into the municipal wastewater system. Most wastewater treatment facilities are not capable of eliminating many of these chemicals and their derivatives before releasing the water back into the environment. Once released back into the environment these chemicals can make their way back into another municipal water supply or that water can be used for irrigating crops where the chemicals have been shown in crops and they can have negative impacts for wildlife.

It’s time we wake up and realize the value of water and the need to protect it. We are blessed with an ample water supply in our region, we should not take that for granted. Water is Life.


Vic Elam is a Mid-Ohio Valley Climate Action member, an avid outdoorsman, and contributor to organizations that share his concern for our environment and the children we borrow it from.