Jane Van Ryan
Posted August 24, 2009
At 7:26 a.m., Friday, August 21, in Lima, Ohio, the lead story on the local NBC newscast showed hundreds of people lining up in a parking lot for free food. They stood behind a panel truck from the West Ohio Food Bank as cardboard boxes were handed down to them.
One man standing in line said he was laid off in April. Others had similar stories.
At 11.2 percent (July 2009), Ohio has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. And northwest Ohio--the region that includes Lima and nearby Toledo--has been hit the hardest. "We're not just in a recession here, it's a depression," Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner told Reuters recently.
Yet, a new study shows the Waxman-Markey climate bill passed by the House could make Ohio's economic hardships worse. The CRA International analysis of the bill shows the bill would reduce jobs in Ohio by as many as 114,100 and lower the average household's purchasing power by as much as $1,070 a year.
Perhaps that explains why more than 700 people converged on the Veteran's Memorial and Civic Center in Lima on Friday for an Energy Citizens rally. Nearly half of the crowd consisted of seniors. Some brought American flags; others wore caps proclaiming they were veterans. The speakers included the owner of a bowling alley, an auto dealer, a farmer and several other people who wanted to stand up and be counted in their opposition to the House-passed climate bill. For them, the issue was jobs and economic opportunity.
As one attendee told me as he walked into the rally, "I'm here to make sure my kids and my grandkids will have jobs."
Similar Energy Citizens rallies were held in Roswell and Farmington, New Mexico and Greensboro, North Carolina last week, and each attracted a larger crowd than expected. For more information on the rallies, go to www.energycitizens.org.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jane Van Ryan was formerly senior communications manager and new media advisor at the American Petroleum Institute (API), where she wrote blog posts and produced podcasts and videos. Before coming to API, Jane managed communications for a large science and engineering corporation, and for a top-tier research and engineering university. A few years ago, you might have seen her in your living room when she delivered the news on television. Jane officially retired from API in 2011 and now freelances as an independent communications consultant when not gardening at her farm in Virginia.