What should I be doing instead of this?
October 3rd, 2011 By Kevin Osborne | News | Posted In: 2011 Election, City Council, Environment, Public Policy, Business

Candidates On: The Future of the Environmental Justice Ordinance


As part of CityBeat's continuing election coverage, we’ve once again sent a questionnaire to the non-incumbent Cincinnati City Council candidates to get their reactions on a broad range of issues.

Nine of the 14 non-incumbents chose to answer our questions. Others either didn’t respond or couldn’t meet the deadline.

During the next few weeks, we will print the responses from the non-incumbents to a different topic each time.

Today’s question is, “What is your stance on the city's Environmental Justice Ordinance? Should it be retained or repealed?”

Mike Allen (Independent): “It should be repealed. This puts us at an economic disadvantage, when enforcing existing state and federal regulations accomplishes enough.”

Kevin Flynn (Charterite): “The Environmental Justice Ordinance has some good parts to it, some parts that are duplicative of existing state and federal law, and some parts that are inappropriate. Enforcement of the EJO has never been attempted in our city because funding has never been made available. We need to relook at the EJO keeping the parts that will improve the health and wellbeing of our citizens and eliminating the parts that are redundant and questionable.”

Nicholas Hollan (Democrat): “I am supportive of the EJO because I believe it puts limits on heavy pollution and provides a voice to those Cincinnatians who live in low income, industrialized neighborhoods.”

Patricia McCollum (Independent): “This stance on the OEQ should be repealed.”

Catherine Smith Mills (Republican): “The city’s Environmental Justice Ordinance contains terms that exceed those set forth by the Ohio EPA. It also presents new barriers for business. This is not good policy for Cincinnati.”

Sandra Queen Noble (Independent): “The (EJO) should also be about eliminating ghettos. Invest in the public good. To support the city of Cincinnati’s Environmental Justice Ordinance, passed in '09, I created for implementation the Courtyard of Law. It can deal with every environmental issue, too.”

Jason Riveiro (Democrat): “Environmental Justice is a top priority of mine as a Sierra Club-endorsed candidate. We need to look for ways for everyone to live in a clean and health environment and I think it should be retained.”

Chris Seelbach (Democrat): “I helped my former boss, David Crowley, bring back the Office of Environmental Quality and pass the Environmental Justice Ordinance. I believe in it’s intent: To create a more healthy city where all people, including the poor, live in communities without harmful pollution that could lead to an excess cancer risk or acute health effects.”

P.G. Sittenfeld (Democrat): “I’m proud to come from a family of strong environmental advocates, so I am well aware that the first people to kick my butt if I were ever to come down on the wrong side of an environmental issue would be my own family! I think it would be difficult for anyone to disagree with the notion that all residents of our city deserve to be protected from harmful pollutants, no matter their neighborhood, race, or income level. Obviously, funding is always a critical aspect of any piece of policy, so it doesn’t matter how noble a piece of legislation is if the funding isn’t available for implementation. Our community must continue to strive for excellence in environmental health, and, while ensuring that businesses are compliant with necessary policy, not create unnecessary bureaucracy or expenses for them.”

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