PUBLIC INTEREST CENTER, (614) 644-2160
MEDIA CONTACT: Dina Pierce
CITIZEN CONTACT: Mary McCarron
Ohio EPA to Hold Virtual Meeting about Environmental Education Fund Agenda
Public May Submit Comments Through March 31
Ohio EPA will host a virtual public hearing on Monday, March 29, 2021, on the proposed funding agenda for the Ohio Environmental Education Fund (OEEF) for July 2021 through June 2022.
The hearing begins at 10:30 a.m. The public may submit written comments on the record about the proposal. Citizens who want to participate must register in advance for the hearing. Comments also will be accepted by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) until 5 p.m. on March 31.
OEEF provides grants for environmental education projects that benefit all Ohioans with emphasis on the regulated community, pre-school through university students (and teachers), and the general public. Priority focus areas for the grant program include education efforts to:
- encourage careers in environmental science and environmental engineering;
- improve air quality by reducing emissions;
- improve water quality by managing stormwater and reducing nutrient loadings into streams and lakes that can result in Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs); and
- encourage habitat restoration to improve biodiversity and improve air and water quality.
In addition to awarding environmental education grants, the OEEF also supports priorities through several outreach initiatives:
- Water Quality Education: Ohio EPA coordinates the national Project WET (Water Education Today), Healthy Water, Healthy People and Getting Little Feet Wet curricula by offering educator and facilitator workshops. Agency staff help citizen scientists, environmental professionals, volunteers and school classes monitor the health of local streams through Ohio’s credible data program. The OEEF also funds Ohio EPA’s annual sponsorship of the Ohio Storm Water Conference.
- Promoting Environmental Careers: OEEF supports college scholarships for Ohio students in environmental science and engineering, and competitions for K-12 students including State Science Day, the Future City engineering competition for middle schools, the Ohio Envirothon competition for high schools, and the Ohio Chemistry Technology Council’s “Teachers, Industry and the Environment” conference. A partnership with the Environmental Education Council of Ohio and the Ohio State University School of Environment and Natural Resources is supporting a statewide network of more than 450 environmental professionals connecting with schools as career ambassadors.
The law that created OEEF requires the program to develop an agenda (with spending priorities) for each fiscal year. After a public hearing, the agenda is submitted to the Ohio General Assembly on April 1.
A fact sheet on the proposed 2021 annual agenda is available on Ohio EPA’s website.
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency was created in 1972 to consolidate efforts to protect and improve air quality, water quality and waste management in Ohio. Since then, air pollutants dropped by as much as 90 percent; large rivers meeting standards improved from 21 percent to 89 percent; and hundreds of polluting, open dumps were replaced with engineered landfills and an increased emphasis on waste reduction and recycling.