Green Buckeye RN

Excerpt from The Ohio Sierran: Cincinnati Passes Environmental Justice Ordinance
August 27, 2009, 9:32 am
Filed under: News

By Marilyn Wall, Sierra Club Board of Directors

Four years ago, the City of Cincinnati’s Environmental Justice Working Group, which included city staff and a broad array of community members, were tasked with crafting a municipal Environmental Justice Ordinance.  We’ve reached a major milestone, with Cincinnati City Council’s June 24, 2009 passage of the nation’s first Environmental Justice Ordinance (EJO).

According to the US EPA’s most recent Toxic Release Inventory (2007), Ohio ranks first in the nation for emissions of toxic air pollutants.  The EJO notes Cincinnati’s air pollution and its high air toxics levels which are causing excess cancer risk, especially in some of Cincinnati’s most industrialized neighborhoods, and aims to limit health burdens to neighborhoods going forward.  In fact, US EPA’s 2007 National-Scale Air Toxics Assessment (2002 data) identified a Cincinnati hot spot with greater than 100 in a million excess cancer risk from industrial and vehicular air pollution; the national average is 36 in a million.

The Ordinance uses existing permitting processes for proposed projects to set in motion a formal evaluation of whether or not the proposed project worsens excess cancer risk, excess risk of acute health effects or excess risk in the event of an accident.  The process provides for public participation and for appeals.


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