Eco-news in brief 2-19

By CG News Editor April Jaynes

New campus sustainability organization forms 

The Sustainable Ohio University Leaders (SOUL) is a new organization to OU dedicated to implementing sustainability efforts on campus.  SOUL was formed in response to recommendations that were outlined in the recently adopted Ohio University Climate Action Plan.  Specifically, participants of SOUL will strategize how to meet key benchmarks of the plan, engage in professional development activities and serve as sustainability liaisons to the rest of the university.  Director of Sustainability Annie Laurie Cadmus said the group is open to any student, faculty or staff  member. A special student information session took place on Monday and the group’s next regular meeting will be held Tuesday, Feb. 19 at 4 p.m. on the second floor of Bingham House.

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Biodiversity restored to newly mapped Raccoon Creek Watershed 

Restoration efforts are steadily improving the Raccoon Creek Watershed that is 112 miles long and covers 683.5 square miles.  The creek runs through Hocking, Vinton, Athens, Meigs, Jackson and Gallia counties and is at the heart of mining country, which has made the creek susceptible to acid mine drainage, erosion and untreated sewage for decades. The Raccoon Creek Partnership  formed in 2007 to undertake serious, collaborative efforts with residents to revitalize the creek through numerous water-quality and marine wildlife renewal projects.  The biodiversity of the creek is being slowly restored with now more than 20 fish species, ducks and herons re-established. As the watershed’s water quality has improved and acid mine drainage has declined, the Raccoon Creek Water Trail Association (RCWTA) wants to create a place where the community can enjoy recreational activities and learn the history of the watershed.  The RCWTA, Raccoon Creek Partnership and other key individuals collaborated to create an informational map of the watershed that the public can expect to see in March.

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Obama faces tough Keystone XL oil pipeline decision

President Barack Obama faces a difficult, delayed decision in whether to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline. Canada, an important trading partner of the United States and a close ally on Iran and Afghanistan, is counting on the pipeline to propel more growth in its oil patch, which is important for the country’s economy. Canadian leaders have made it clear that an American rejection would be viewed as an unneighborly act and could bring retaliation. Additionally, for groups like the Sierra Club, permitting a pipeline carrying more than 700,000 barrels a day of Canadian crude oil into the United States would be viewed as a betrayal and as a contradiction of the president’s promises to make controlling climate change a top priority for his second term.  Specifically, environmentalists have singled out the pipeline project because it would carry oil derived from tar sands and would involve a process that is dirtier than other forms of oil production and that releases more carbon dioxide.

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