Protecting Farm and Forest Land

Do you support the establishment of the Darby National Wildlife Refuge?

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service seeks to establish a 23,000-acre national wildlife refuge and 26,000 acre farmland preservation zone at the Little Darby Watershed in central Ohio and has pledged to buy land only from willing sellers. If established, the Darby National Wildlife Refuge would become only the third national wildlife refuge in Ohio. Establishing the refuge would preserve prime farmland, while also protecting the areaís drinking water, vital wildlife habitat and one of the last remaining ecologically diverse warm water watersheds in the United States.

Do you support or oppose a moratorium on new land acquisition in the Wayne National Forest?

Ohio ranks 47th out of 50 states relative to the amount of public land set aside per capita. The Wayne National Forest is Ohio's largest tract of public land and only national forest. It provides many public benefits, including an estimated $25 million in local income and 1,000 jobs a year related to travel and tourism. The Wayne supports a diverse wildlife habitat, at least one endangered species, the Indiana bat, and recreational areas for hiking, birding, hunting, fishing, horseback riding and camping.

The U.S. Forest Service seeks to consolidate the Wayne's patchwork configuration by acquiring land from willing sellers to fill in its many private in-holdings. However, private developers want a four-year moratorium on any new land acquisition by the Service. If passed, the moratorium would ban the Wayne National Forest from acquiring land from willing sellers in 11 of the 12 counties in which the Wayne resides. It would essentially freeze the growth of one of southeast Ohio's most significant natural resources.

Water Quality

How will you ensure that our communities have access to clean and safe water supplies now and in the future?

Only 52 percent of Ohio's 62,000 miles of rivers and streams meet the "fishable and swimmable" goals established in the federal Clean Water Act. The vast majority of Ohioís remaining water quality problems are a direct result of the altering of stream channels and pollution from runoff. Inadequate pollution problems and lax environmental enforcement only exacerbate the water quality problems. How elected officials address this issue will determine whether Ohio's waterways remain healthy for future generations.

Factory Farms

How would you regulate factory farms to ensure that our water and quality of life are protected?

Some poorly operated factory farms have been linked to environmental and public health problems including increased water pollution, fly infestations, fish kills and worker health and safety violations. Yet, factory farm operations plan to expand and relocate to Ohio. Currently, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency is charged with issuing permits for expansion and for new operations, but some want to transfer that authority to the Ohio Department of Agriculture. Others think that neighboring communities around a factory farm and local elected officials should have more say in the permitting process.

Clean Air

Would you favor requiring all Ohio's fossil fuel power plants to conform to the new environmental standards to reduce ozone (smog), acid rain, particulates and global warming?

Currently, Ohio's air is heavy with the pollutants that cause ozone smog, acid rain, deadly particulate matter, greenhouse gases and mercury poisoning. The primary causes of this pollution are automobiles and the many coal-burning electric power plants throughout Ohio. When the federal Clean Air Act was amended in 1977, older electric power plants were "grandfathered" in and allowed to meet less stringent emissions standards. Many environmentalists and public health experts believe that the addition of off-the-shelf, cost effective emission controls to these older plants could substantially reduce health problems experienced by Ohioans and others living downwind of those plants.

Clean Air and Transportation

How will you create efficient and safe transportation options that will allow us to maintain our high quality of life?

Many of Ohio's biggest environmental problems are related to the public's reliance on automobiles. Suburban sprawl, for instance, is defined as automobile-dependent development, and has serious social, economic and environmental impacts. Other problems include increased air and water pollution, and loss of land to highway development. Alternative means of moving people and goods from place to place must be developed. Elected officials - from zoning boards and county commissioners to governors and state legislators - must address suburban sprawl and related open space preservation, land-use planning and transportation issues, well into the new century.

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