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ICYMI: Columbus Dispatch Op-Ed: American Jobs Plan Is Good for Ohio's People, Jobs, and Environment

April 13, 2021

Today, the Columbus Dispatch published an op-ed by Ohio Environmental Council Heather Taylor-Miesle that highlights how the American Jobs Plan would not only create good-paying jobs in the Buckeye State, but help tackle the climate crisis and advance justice for frontline communities disproportionally impacted by pollution.

Taylor-Miesle cites her experience growing up in a fossil fuel community and underscores that protecting the environment while creating jobs can both be done in tandem. She writes that American Jobs Plan will "reduce air pollution, save you money, and bring jobs to the Buckeye State" – calling it a "win-win-win" for communities across Ohio from Appalachian areas to the main streets of urban cities.

The op-ed follows the release of release of state-by-state fact sheets demonstrating the need for the Jobs Plan throughout the country.

Read the full op-ed in the Columbus Dispatch below:

Columbus Dispatch: Opinion: Biden's plan good for Ohio's people, jobs and the environment
[By Heather Taylor-Miesle, 4/13/21]

I grew up in a company town, a daughter of the fossil fuel industry.

When business was booming, our air was harder to breathe. When business was a bust, families in our community struggled to put food on the table. This vicious cycle led many to believe that we had to choose between a healthy environment or a vibrant economy.

I have spent many years fighting that false dichotomy. Protecting air, land, and water in a manner that creates and maintains jobs should never be up for debate. We can, and should, do both.

That is why I believe President Biden's American Jobs Plan is the right investment for our future. This plan secures environmental and economic wins, while also addressing climate change.

The plan prioritizes frontline communities and communities of color who have and continue to disproportionately experience the impacts of climate change and environmental injustice.

From the backroads of Appalachian Ohio to the main streets of Ohio's legacy cities, the American Jobs Plan promises a win-win-win for communities across the Buckeye State.

As of 2019, clean energy companies employed 114,000 Ohioans in every corner of our state, but our potential to grow this sector is huge. The American Jobs Plan will invest in developing renewable energy sources, securing energy efficiency upgrades, and building electric vehicle infrastructure. This plan will reduce air pollution, save you money, and bring jobs to the Buckeye State.

But that's not all. The plan also aims to put the energy industry to work plugging orphan oil and gas wells and cleaning up abandoned mines, which will reduce harmful methane emissions.

This builds upon the administration's commitment to pause new oil and natural gas leasing on public lands and offshore waters, as well as conserve at least 30 percent of our lands and waters by the year 2030.

Together, these actions could protect major portions of southeast Ohio's Wayne National Forest and advance our collective fight against climate change over the long term.

We must also adapt to the current realities of our changing climate. Warmer temperatures, heavier rainfalls and more frequent flooding will continue to strain Ohio's aging water infrastructure and exacerbate toxic algae issues. The American Jobs Plan invests in the protection and restoration of our great Lake Erie and leverages state investments, like the H2Ohio program, to improve water quality.

Moving from source to tap, President Biden's plan also calls for the elimination of all lead service lines and remediation of PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) in drinking water systems across the country.

Ohio is thought to be second in the nation for lead service lines, with an estimated 650,000 lines carrying water to families' homes. And since the early 2000s, the Ohio EPA has worked with communities in southeast and southwest Ohio to monitor and remediate PFAS in drinking water systems. Federal investment to address these serious and complex infrastructure issues is welcome, especially when investment benefits frontline communities and creates good-paying union jobs across Ohio.

This plan invests in Ohioans.

As we emerge from the pandemic, it is clear that this is not an either/or moment. The American Jobs Plan will bolster our economy, protect our environment, and fight climate change — all while supporting healthier and more resilient communities. We urge our elected officials to choose the win-win-win.

Joseph R. Biden, ICYMI: Columbus Dispatch Op-Ed: American Jobs Plan Is Good for Ohio's People, Jobs, and Environment Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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