MONDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2008
THE BLOG OF THE RAINFOREST ACTION NETWORK

Ohio students converge, plan and say NO! to coal

Over the weekend, 70+ students from 9 colleges and universities in Ohio gathered in Columbus at Ohio State University to develop a network of student activists, coordinate cross-campus campaign activities and participate in an action to stop development of new coal-fired power plants in Ohio. It was incredibly inspiring to watch these students come together over 3 jam-packed days, and their plans to make Ohio a more socially and environmentally responsible state will surely have huge impacts. Here's a description that the students wrote describing the conference: - Annie Ohio students ask leaders to stop coal plants and need your help! This Feb. 8-10, over 70 students from the Ohio Student Environmental Coalition gathered in Columbus to set campaigns and form structure for the brand new state network --the Ohio Student Environmental Coalition--and to tell officials that we will not stand for new coal fired power plants in Ohio! We decided to take our concerns to the top, and have a chat with two people key in deciding on American Municipal Power's proposed coal power plant in Meigs County, Ohio. More than 50 students dropped by to visit and deliver letters to Director of the Ohio EPA Chris Korleski, and the President and CEO of AMP-Ohio Marc Gerkin on Sunday to let them know that we think that proposed coal power plants are one of the greatest threats facing Ohio today, and that the hearing process on proposed power plants is unjust and disempowering to Ohio citizens. Ohio DEP director Chris Korleski cordially met us on the lawn in the freezing February weather, carrying his small dog and talked to us for a while, and although he was not sure on all the details of the power plant proposal and permitting process, he promised to "talk to his guys" and learn more. Spokespeople explained about how global warming threatens all of our future and the groundwater toxins, coal waste disposal and air pollution from coal fired power plants is already causing unprecedented rates of cancer in Meigs County, Ohio. Furthermore, rate payers would bear the burden of this expensive, outdated and dirty technology, and counties across Ohio are already thinking (or have) about backing out of contracts for the power plant. While he tried to make us feel really young, we know that meeting with 50 students on a Sunday afternoon made him think and he'll definitely be talking to "his guys." osu-coal-action-small-1.jpg Gerken of AMP-Ohio, a group pushing the power plant forward, was less excited to see 50 students from across Ohio on his sidewalk with letters and wanting to talk to him about global warming and the dangers of dirty coal proliferation. However, he listened to the spokespeople, became somewhat agitated for a few minutes but ended things on a cordial note. It was empowering to take our concerns directly to the top decision makers and have them to listen to us all the way through. We would like as many people as possible to follow up our visits with as many calls, letters and emails as possible! We want to let them know that we're serious about stopping coal fired power plants and building a clean just energy future. Think about setting up a table in a public space on your campus and writing letters, making calls, and/or taking a few minutes during a club meeting to send messages and write letters to Mr. Korleski and Mr. Gerken. Please, leap into action by February 29th! The site permit meeting for this AMPGS plant is in Columbus, OH on Monday, March 3rd, so have your letters in and think about coming down! Please write AMP-Ohio President Marc Gerken at AMP-Ohio, 2600 Airport Drive, Columbus, OH 43219 or call 614-337-6222 or contact him by e-mail at mgerken@amp-ohio.org. Please write Ohio EPA Director at PO Box 1049, Columbus, OH 43216-1049, or call 614-644-2782, or contact him by e-mail at chris.korleski@epa.state.oh.us. Tell them to just say no to the AMP coal power plant and all coal power plants around Meigs County, Ohio. Tell them that coal causes global warming and releases deadly toxins during the extraction, processing, burning and waste disposal stages and we need to phase our state and our country off of coal -- not risk millions of rate payers dollars in out-dated, dirty coal. osu-coal-action-small-2.jpg

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