June 17th, 2014 — Member News
The Ohio University Board of Trustees will be voting to discontinue the construction of a $75-100,000,000 gas plant on the Athens Main Campus. This gas plant would have locked the school into a 50-year contract with the gas industry, ensuring our dependence on fossil fuels and combustive energy all the way up until 2075. We’re going to reach a tipping point for the climate well before that date (that is, a temperature increase that we will not be able to return from for a very long time, according to climatologists). We could not have waited until 2075, and so students at OU created the Bobcats Beyond Gas campaign to come up with alternative options.
Geothermal, solar, and wind were all discussed; the Board of Trustees and the Department of Facilities, however, have decided to cancel the brand new gas plant, in favor of converting the existing plant (previously run on coal) over to gas entirely.
While the Ohio University Sierra Student Coalition and its affiliate organizations within the Athens community are proud of the decision that our university has made in regards to this investment, we must continue to maintain our position on methane gas: as we face the dire results of climate change, we cannot approve any combustive energy source, especially one that is only slightly less pollutive than coal.
As long as we are dependent on fossil fuels, methane gas will be a mere band-aid on an open wound. Despite all of the best intentions and warmest wishes, it is a product that will continue to contribute to the death of entire ecosystems, the permanent extinction of species and their habitats, and an ever-changing landscape that will forever alter our social and economic ways of life.
That said, the administration’s decision to halt such a large infrastructural investment in a fossil fuel is a huge step in the right direction. However, Bobcats Beyond Gas are still committed to working with the university to move off all fossil fuel energy sources in the future. We look forward to continuing those discussions with the administration.
Our sincerest gratitude goes out to the Board of Trustees: they made a difficult decision, but have succeeded in giving us more flexibility for the next few years while the Bobcat community figures out what to do next. That being said, we won’t rest until the entire state of Ohio has been released from the heavy hand of oil, gas and coal. It’s time to move forward, and I encourage the state to look to their youth as leaders and innovators in combatting climate change.
More information on the agenda announcing the new Utility Master Plan can be found on the Ohio University Board of Trustees web page. For more information on the Bobcats Beyond Gas campaign or its parent organization, OUSSC, please contact Caitlyn McDaniel (firstname.lastname@example.org<mailto:email@example.com>), Emma Holman-Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org<mailto:email@example.com>), or Olivia Wallace (firstname.lastname@example.org<mailto:email@example.com>).
Bobcats Beyond Gas at Ohio University
Climate change, debates around hydraulic fracturing and natural gas extraction, and recent developments in renewable energies have made this issue a difficult one to face with a level head.
However, we believe that your participation in this conversation will help our school make the best choice possible for the collective health of our institution and community. Please come with an open mind, any information that you might find pertinent to the topic at hand, and a lot of questions!
Find them on Facebook: Bobcats Beyond Gas
Bobcats Beyond Gas have launched a petition site demanding that the Ohio University administration listen to the students asking for cleaner emissions from energy usage on campus and the switch from a cogeneration Natural Gas plant to a trigeneration plant incorporating solar and other alternative energies.
Video by Badger Johnson
Panelists in the Video (right to left):Bob O’Neal, Village Bakery, Della Zona Christine Hughes, Village Bakery, Della Zona, Catalyst Cafe Geoff Greenfield, Third Sun Solar
Bernhard Debatin, Professor of Journalism, Ohio University
William Beale, winner of Green Innovation Award from Ohio University, March 2014 Jeff Wilson, author of The Greened House Effect; Renovating your home with a deep energy retrofit