Category Archives: Comms Committee

coming changes to the MSD rate structure

County Commissioners begin addressing MSD rate structure

During September and October 2016, the Hamilton County Commission passed the following resolutions and requested that MSD begin implementation as soon as possible.

  • Billing residential customers monthly
  • Basing the multifamily billing on meter size rather than the number of units
  • Billing based on actual meter size rather than pipe size
  • Increasing awareness of lateral line insurance
  • Establishing a customer billing appeals process
  • Reducing the current monthly charge based on 5 ccf of water to 3 ccf.

The monthly billing will be based on 1/3 of the current quarterly billing for residential customers. This is a reduction from $59.54/month to $39.12. About 30% of customers use less than 5 ccf that was previously part of a monthly bill. That is they were paying for water discharged to the sewer system that they were not using.

More work is in progress. Each of the Commissioners’ resolution included setting up a framework to encourage the use of Green/Sustainable Infrastructure and reducing the inflow and infiltration of stormwater. The County Monitor Team is charged with working with MSD to get the necessary data to determine stormwater charges, and green infrastructure incentives. Separating the volume charge out of the minimum charge will likely encourage more water conservation and possibly non-potable water reuse. This will affect revenue – and some level of treatment costs. The Commission is discussing phasing in such changes so that the billing rate can properly reflect the needed revenue. Work is also being done on developing the low-income / hardship billing assistance.

Sierra Club supports addressing the stormwater charge and green infrastructure as soon as possible. We also support eliminating the volume discount that big industries get for use of large volumes of water.

Don’t Flush Rate-Payers Down the Drain!!

Tell Commissioners to Stop the Waste!!

Miami Group members, we need your support in standing up for fair sewer rates in Hamilton County. Together we have been successful at freezing rate hikes and recommending structural changes that would make the billing system fair.  While the County Commissioners have resolved to act on our recommendations the Metropolitan Sewer District is seeking a 5.25% rate increase for 2017.  Join your fellow Sierra Club members in letting the Hamilton County Commissioners know that there is still plenty of work to be done on our outdated sewer rate structure.

Take action today, send a letter  to the Hamilton County Commissioners!

The County Commissioners have recently passed resolutions that were recommended by the Rate Affordability task force, but there are still many recommendations that must still be passed.  We need to see a rate structure that reflects equity amongst all customers before rates are further increased. Together we can create a fair structure for our sewer bills.  

Thank you for taking action and for all you do for Ohio’s environment!

Duke Pipeline update

First it was a giant, high pressure, transmission pipeline to take natural gas through our neighborhoods in Hamilton County. That 30 Inch pipe would have pushed gas through at 720 psi. Explosions can cause extensive loss of life. After widespread, organized opposition all across the northern suburbs, Duke now proposes a smaller, 20 inch pipeline operating – for now – at lower pressures (400 psi) AND they want to upgrade another,  existing 20 inch line as well. Plus they have several other new pipelines in the works for this region. Looks like they’re working hard to figure out how to take fracked gas from eastern Ohio and PA and ship it to the Midwest and South.

It’s like continuous oil trains snaking across greater Cincinnati, hauling huge quantities of liquid carbon energy, with potentially catastrophic consequences. If natural gas were the answer for future energy policy, that would be a discussion. But it ISN’T. We need to be supporting sustainable, safe technologies.

Duke should be investing in residential and commercial retrofits for energy efficiency in heating and cooling – that’s the cheapest way to make more energy available for the future.

Duke should be investing only in renewable energy, including solar, wind and geothermal, which are safe, economical and eliminate climate-change causing emissions and leaks.

Tell the Ohio Power Siting Board that you oppose the pipeline. Refer to Case # 16-0253-GA-BTX; Duke Energy Central Corridor Natural Gas Pipeline, and mail to the Ohio Power Siting Board, 180 East Broad Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215.

Stand together with all communities and rural areas!

As Naomi Klein explains in her great book, This Changes Everything, original populations, first nations, have always been on the leading edge of conservation activism and protecting our planet from plunder.  The huge opposition to the Dakota Access pipeline now playing out in North Dakota is a great example, attracting supporters from all over the continent. The national Sierra Club is helping sponsor this fight.

Go with the winners:

The Sierra Club helped stop the Eastern Corridor freeway through Newtown and Madisonville.

The Sierra Club is demanding MSD do green solutions to storm water management while lowering sewer charges on water bills and stopping sewer overflows and basement backups.

The Sierra Club helped defeat the levy for the City Parks that lacked appropriate transparency, public participation and community input.

Sierra Club has stopped over 100 coal plants from damaging the environment and communities.

Thanks to NOPE!Cincy  for all their work on this !

Bob Park

September Inning: Duke Energy 30″ High Pressure Gas Pipeline

What: Duke Energy 30″ High Pressure Gas Pipeline
When: TUESDAY, September 6th, 2016, 7 p.m. – 8:55 p.m.
Where: The Dan Beard Boy Scout Council
10078 Reading Road, Cincinnati, OH 45241
Speakers: Ronna S. Lukas and Nathan Alley

Join us as the Miami Group welcomes members from NOPE (Neighbors Opposing Pipeline Expansion) on our monthly meeting.

proposed gas pipeline routes

Topic:
Duke Energy plans to build a massive natural gas transmission line straight through densely populated areas in Hamilton County. Called the Central Corridor Pipeline Project, this 12-mile-long, 30”, 720 psi transmission line is being built next to homes, schools, hospitals, community centers, and through parks and green spaces and many areas where large groups of people congregate. This high pressure/high capacity transmission line places a heavy and costly burden on individual citizens, communities and the environment.

Why is Duke planning an expressway for transporting natural gas that would permanently damage or destroy natural ecosystems, wildlife habitats and greenspaces? What are the safety concerns associated with a transmission line of this size? What are the real costs associated with this project? And finally where is this gas coming from and where is it going? Learn more by attending this presentation by the members of NOPE! (Neighbors Opposing Pipeline Extension).

About NOPE!: NOPE! (Neighbors Opposing Pipeline Extension) is a coalition of concerned citizens from over 14 Hamilton County communities affected by Duke’s proposed pipeline. The mission of the organization is to ensure that any necessary natural gas infrastructure is installed in a way that is safe and responsible, away from densely populated areas. For more information, visitwww.NOPEcincy.org

Speaker: RONNA S. LUCAS; Attorney (rlucas@laursenlucas.com)

Bar Admissions; State of Illinois Nov. 1998
Partner: Laursen and Lucas, Attorneys at Law, 2016 to present
Private general practice: Stillness, Attorneys at Law-2005-2016 Ronna Lucas has personally worked on thousands of consumer protections cases, several of which have resulted in the development and clarification of the consumer laws and statutes. First chaired dozens of jury trials, countless bench trials, and binding arbitrations for criminal and civil cases.
Represented consumers in consumer protection laws such as Ohio Motor Vehicle’s with Warranty Non-Conformities Act (“Lemon Law”), Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act, fraud, Truth in Lending violations, Odometer violations, Fair Credit Reporting Act, Breach of Warranty claims, Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, and similar State and Federal consumer protection laws. Involved in all stages of litigation including discovery, negotiations of settlements, arbitrations, mediations, hearings on motions, depositions, court appearances, trials, written and argued appellate briefs.
VOLUNTEER EXPERIENCE
Beech Acres Parenting Center
PTA Blue Ash Elementary and Greene Middle School, 2007-2014
Leading Member of N.O.P.E.Cincy.org

Speaker: Nathan Alley
Nathan Alley is Transportation Policy Coordinator for the Ohio Sierra Club and Director of Litigation and Training for Fair Shake Environmental Legal Services, a nonprofit law firm with offices in Akron and Pittsburgh. Nathan graduated from the New York University School of Law, where he was Editor-In-Chief of the New York University Environmental Law Journal, and where he worked for the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Environmental Defense Fund and WildEarth Guardians. In 2004, he became a Law Fellow with the Natural Heritage Institute in San Francisco, where he represented clients in the FERC hydropower licensing process, as well as in litigation under federal and state environmental laws. He then spent a year providing in-house legal support to conservation organizations in the Sierra Nevada. In 2007, Nathan became a Staff Attorney at the Environmental Defense Center in Santa Barbara, where he worked on issues related to coastal preservation, oil and gas development, and the intersection of clean water and sustainable agriculture, and where he authored two successful ballot measures. In 2014, Nathan returned to his native Cincinnati to help sustain his family’s multi-generational farm. Nathan is an appointed member of the City of Cincinnati’s Environmental Advisory Council and sits as an alternate on the Village of New Richmond Planning Commission.
For additional information on “how to get involved”, “proposed pipeline maps”, “regulations”, etc.
go to “NOPEcincy.org”.
For meeting information: alvingden@gmail.com Sierra Club meeting organizer.

Alternatives to the Duke Pipeline

The Duke Energy gas pipeline shouldn’t be in anybody’s back yard
because
the pipeline SHOULDN’T BE BUILT. Period

It is a giant, high pressure, transmission pipeline to take natural gas through our neighborhoods in Hamilton County. This 30 Inch pipe pushes gas through at 720 psi. Explosions can cause extensive loss of life. Looks like it’s going to be taking fracked gas from eastern Ohio and PA to the Midwest and South.
It is like a continuous oil train moving huge quantities with potentially catastrophic consequences. If natural gas were the answer for future energy policy, that would be a discussion. It ISN’T.
We need to be supporting sustainable, safe technologies.
Duke should be investing in residential and commercial retrofits for energy efficiency in heating and cooling – that’s the cheapest way to make more energy available for the future.
Duke should also invest in renewable energy, including solar, wind and geothermal, which are safe, economical and eliminate climate-change causing emissions and leaks.
Tell the Ohio Power Siting Board that you oppose the pipeline. Refer to Case # 16-0253-GA-BTX; Duke Energy Central Corridor Natural Gas Pipeline, and mail to the Ohio Power Siting Board, 180 East Broad Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215.
Stand together with all communities and rural areas!

Go with the winners:

The Sierra Club helped stop the Eastern Corridor freeway through Newtown and Madisonville.

The Sierra Club is demanding MSD do green solutions to storm water management while lowering sewer charges on water bills and stopping sewer overflows and basement backups.

The Sierra Club helped defeat the levy for the City Parks that lacked appropriate transparency, public participation and community input.

Sierra Club has stopped over 100 coal plants from damaging the environment and communities.

For more information visit https://nopecincy.org/

Soil and Water District Election

Hamilton County Soil and Water District is holding an election for its Board of Supervisors this August. Residents of Hamilton County are eligible to vote. This is not part of the election voting in November!

Three candidates are running for 4 seats. Each has an extensive environmental background. The candidates are Sam McKinley, John Mangan and Kaniz Siddiqui. Click on their names to learn more.

You can vote by absentee ballot, by visiting the Soil and Water Conservation District Office or by attending the annual meeting. More information is available on the candidate statements or by visiting the Hamilton County Soil and Water website.

Make your voice heard!  It is important to have Board members who support environmental protection!

John Mangan

Please Consider Me for a Position on the Hamilton
County Soil & Water Conservation District
Board of Supervisors

Environmental sustainability ultimately is about society and industrial relationships. Dedicated to the sustainable use of our natural resources. Hamilton County Soil & Water Conservation District influences and guides these relationships. My experience, skills, and interests have prepared me to contribute to this effort as a member of the Board of Supervisors.

Currently I serve as a trustee on the Mill Creek Watershed Council of Communities Board and as chair of its development committee. I also serve as the chair of Green Umbrella’s Watershed Action team and as a member of its Membership Committee.

Retired from the technology industry, I am active in community sustainability and conservation initiatives. I have a B.S. in biology and a M.Ed. from Xavier University. I appreciate your support. Please back me with your vote.

Thank you,
John Mangan

How To Vote

If you are 18 or older and a resident of Hamilton County:

Hamilton County Soil & Water Conservation District (HCSWCD)
22 Triangle Park Drive Cincinnati, OH 45246

  • Then when you receive your absentee ballot in the mail, complete and mail it back immediately. Absentee ballots must be received by 4:00 on 8/17.

 

 

Sam McKinley

Since Hamilton County is one of the most urban counties in Ohio, working with the Soil and Water Conservation District aligns very well with the interests and avocations of urban planner Sam McKinley. In his work life, he directs the Community Engagement area of community development corporation Price Hill Will, which includes economic development, community events, gardening, and healthy living. Sam has served on the Board of Supervisors for nine years, and would greatly appreciate being returned for his fourth three-year term.

Tremont City Barrel Fill Landfill Update / March 2016

Dear Friends,

According to Marilyn Welker, People for Safe Water.org spokesperson, Robert Kaplan, the Acting Administrator for USEPA Region 5 in Chicago wrote, “they have secured the services of the Army Corps of Engineers to develop and evaluate additional remediation measures to address Site contamination.” at the Tremont City Barrel Landfill. The Army Corps draft report on the project is scheduled for completion this month. The news is good for the people affected because a new change in plans for a cleanup is underway. Of course, time will pass for bureaucracy to take place. There is talk that a “truck it out, haul out” is a solution for removing the contamination waste.

Ohio EPA Director, Craig Butler reported to a member of People for Safe Water that, “Once an acceptable plan for remediation has been developed, we have been told and we will encourage USEPA to conduct significant public outreach to discuss possible changes with stakeholders.” Butler goes on to say, “Ohio EPA will support a final remedy that is first and foremost protective of human health and the environment, but also cost effective.”

Ms. Welker goes to quote the USEPA’s Community Involvement Handbook that asserts, “Congress, in establishing the Superfund Program wanted the Agency to be guided by the lives of the people whose lives are impacted by Superfund sites…the intent of the law is…Ensure the public the appropriate opportunities for involvement in a wide variety of site related decisions, including site analysis and characterization, alternatives analysis and selection of remedy….”

Read more comments from Administrator Kaplan and Director Butler here:      http://www.peopleforsafewater.org/documents/

Scott Bushbaum Sierra Club – Miami Group/Ohio Chapter ExCom