Communities United for Action has been leading the fight for Environmental Justice in Cincinnati for over 30 years. Our work for Environmental Justice started with a coalition of Mill Creek Valley neighborhoods and a group of concerned citizens who worked together to prevent a mass burn incinerator from being built near their homes. Visit our Victories page to read about how this movement has grown to address many different issues in order to create safe and healthy communities for all.
Current Environmental Justice Campaigns
Current campaign: Metropolitan Sewer District Accountability
Our sewer bills have increased 17% in the last two years! The Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) has been collecting our hard earned money since 2006 to spend it on a $3.2 billion dollar project called Project Groundwork. Project Groundwork is the response to a consent decree from the EPA (Environmental Projection Agency) after MSD’s Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs) were found to be in violation of the Clean Water Act.
Hamilton County’s sewer system is almost 100 years old and not engineered to meet the needs of our increased population. When it rains too hard, CSOs overflow and mix raw sewage with groundwater which floods citizen’s basements and backyards. This project is designed to stop sewage overflows and clean up our rivers and streams. However, when CUFA met with MSD on December 3, 2013 they told us that only 11 of the 159 Combined Sewer Overflows have been fixed since Project Groundwork began in 2006. That’s not even 7% of the project!
Where is our money going? What progress is being made?
So far, CUFA has:
- Met with MSD to receive a progress update on Project Groundwork and to express our concerns.
- Met with Congressman Steve Chabot (OH-1) at his DC office about visiting CUFA to hold a meeting about our high sewer bills.
- Held a public meeting with Congressman Steve Chabot (OH-1) about our high sewer bills, sewerage overflows, and foreclosures. Rep. Chabot committed to:
- Keep us informed of the progress of his bill HR2707, which seeks to reduce the cost of cleaning up CSOs by implementing local solutions. We are glad to hear that his proposed legislation should bring down our sewer bills.
- Include CUFA’s suggestions to hire local workers to clean up Hamilton County’s Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs)
- Send a letter to Mel Watt, Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, supporting principal reduction in order to end the foreclosure crisis.
- Held a public meeting with Hamilton County Commissioners Todd Portune and Chris Monzel about lowering our rates, requiring MSD to be more transparent and to hire local people for MSD jobs. Find Out More.
Take action now!
Current Campaign: A Clean Power Plan for Cleaner Air
In Cincinnati, people living in poor neighborhoods die 20 years earlier than residents of wealthy neighborhoods because of hazardous pollutants in the air. CUFA leader Sandy Lindsey testified at an EPA hearing that the air her children breathe severely triggers their asthma. This is a familiar story in Cincinnati, so CUFA is taking action for cleaner air.
In 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) introduced the Clean Power Plan. The EPA ruled that each state must create a Clean Power Plan to cut carbon emissions into the air by 30% from 2005 levels by 2030. The State of Ohio has decided not to submit a Clean Power Plan and has joined a lawsuit challenging the EPA’s Clean Power Plan rule.
We need clean air now!
So far, CUFA has:
- Joined National People Action and CREDO to circulate an online petition for a strong Clean Power Plan. Sandy’s story generated over 20,000 signatures that were delivered to the EPA in Washington, DC. You can still take a stand for clean air, click here.
- Sent four CUFA leaders to Washington, DC and Atlanta, GA to tell the EPA that Ohio needs a strong Clean Power Plan that puts people and planet first. One leader’s testimony was even quoted by a Senator on the floor in Congress. Click here for pictures from the hearing.
- Held two local meetings to hear what residents want in a Clean Power Plan. Click here for pictures from the meeting.