COLUMBUS, OH — Today marks the 50th anniversary of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. This agency he started on October 23, 1972. John Gilligan was governor and instrumental in creating and supporting new institutions.
Governor Gilligan has appointed astronaut John Glenn as chair of the Citizens Task Force on Environmental Protection. According to Glenn’s biography, published by The Public Policy Archives of Ohio State University, “the task force investigated environmental problems in Ohio and, in its final report, published in June 1971, made various recommendations to remedy these problems.” made a good recommendation.” The task force’s work was a major factor in the formation of the Ohio EPA.
At this time, conditions in Ohio were dire. The skies in the major cities were hazy most of the time, streams and lakes were impassable for drinking, fishing or swimming, and illegal dumping littered every county. The 1969 Cuyahoga River fires were a striking illustration of the dire state of the environment in Ohio and the nation as a whole, with calls for action louder, echoing across the country, and the enactment of several environmental protection laws. enacted. .
The creation of the Ohio EPA in 1972 was a turning point. The task of making our air, water and land accessible and enjoyable for people and businesses was enormous, but our staff were passionately determined to achieve these lofty goals. The agency’s mission and actions were widely supported by the public and state governments.
This changed in 1974 when gubernatorial candidate Jim Rose, in an attempt to secure industry support and campaign donations, attacked the Ohio EPA without mercy, overstepping its authority and destroying Ohio’s economy. claimed to be. In his first year in office, the governor of Rhodes cut the budgets of government agencies and initiated massive staff layoffs.
Subsequent governors generally endorsed the agency’s mission and actions. But in the 2010 gubernatorial election, John R. Kasich took the lead of the Rhodes campaign to show unusual animosity towards the Ohio EPA. After he became governor, after a video was released in which he boasted about calling his officer on the highway his patrol who gave him a ticket at a meeting with Ohio EPA staff, this The hostility turned vicious. This was exacerbated when a former Ohio EPA employee played a key role in the anti-Senate Bill 5 referendum campaign, successfully pulling back his one of Kaesich’s key initiatives. advantage.
During his eight years in office, Kasich caused the agency and its staff a lot of pain, but they still managed to get the job done.
Today, as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Ohio EPA, our air is safe to breathe and our skies are clear. Most of Ohio’s streams and lakes are open for fishing, swimming, and are safe sources of drinking water. And none are flammable. The vast majority of citizens and smart entrepreneurs feel that protecting the environment is an important goal. They do not believe there is a contradiction between environmental protection and economic development, and lament the politicians who blame the environment for all our ills.
Despite these advances, Ohio still faces major environmental challenges. But I am confident that the Ohio EPA and its staff will continue to overcome technical and political obstacles. Celebrate the clean Ohio that the Ohio EPA has championed over the last 50 years, the driving force behind this progress, and the unsung heroes who have dedicated their careers to improving the air, water, health and well-being of Ohio’s people honor the
George A. Elmaraghy spent most of his career in the Ohio government, most notably as director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s Surface Water Division. Currently, he is the Federal Commissioner of the Ohio River Valley Water and Sanitation Commission and a member of the Water Quality Committee of the International Joint Commission.
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