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To reduce 11M tons of GHG emissions, officials reveal Miami Valley climate action plan

 Miami Fort Power Station in North Bend, Ohio
Wikimedia Commons
Miami Fort Power Station in North Bend, Ohio

The Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission released its draft priority climate action plan this past Thursday.

The planning commission has worked since September with community partners and sustainability consulting firm SSG to draft the region’s climate action plan.

The goal of this plan is to identify high priority projects that can be accomplished in the near future to reduce our region’s carbon footprint.

“Our approach to greenhouse gas emissions planning really focuses on the steps to remove, reduce or remove emissions from the overall system," said Yuill Herbert, director of SSG, at the commission’s water and environment subcommittee meeting on Wednesday.

“And to do that we focus first on efficiency. So how do you reduce energy consumption overall?”

The plan was made possible after the commission applied to receive $1 million through the U.S. EPA’s Climate Pollution Reduction grant. The funds were released to the commission this past July.

Through these funds, the commission was able to take an inventory on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the region. The commission found that Montgomery, Greene and Miami counties produced over 11 million metric tons of GHG emissions in 2021.

Nearly half of those emissions come from the residential sector.

In order to reduce the area’s emissions, the draft plan outlines nine projects:

  1. Electrify fleets for regional parks’ staff. This includes electric vehicles, UTVs and mowers and charging infrastructure. 
  2. Develop a regional virtual power plant (VPP) led by Sustainable Ohio Public Energy Council (SOPEC). Potential sites include the Valleycrest Landfill and the Dayton International Airport.
  3. Funds created from the VPP will go towards a revolving loan fund that can be used to support additional solar, weatherization and transportation electrification projects.
  4. With an emphasis on low-income and disadvantaged neighborhoods, buildings will be fitted with “net zero” infrastructure (design, insulation, heat pumps, solar systems, etc.)  to increase energy efficiency.
  5. The “sludge” by-product produced at the Sugarcreek Wastewater Treatment Facility will no longer go to landfills. Instead, a thermal drying facility will be constructed to produce “a beneficially usable, Class A dried product.”
  6. Expand the Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority’s (RTA) electric trolley system.
  7. Increase carbon sequestration potential by planting more native trees and grasses. The plan states low-income and disadvantaged neighborhoods will be prioritized.
  8. Provide incentives for lower-income individuals to obtain newer and environmentally cleaner vehicles. This includes purchasing/leasing electric or hybrid vehicles, or alternative transportation options such as using an e-bike or using public transit.
  9. Support ongoing transportation programming, prioritizing safe walking and cycling routes in low-income and disadvantaged communities 

“These are measures that we think will directly address the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions within our region,” said Matt Lindsay, manager of environmental planning for the commission.

He said communities in the region were already considering these projects.

The U.S. EPA has $4.6 billion at its disposal to help support the implementation of local projects such as ones proposed in the draft plan.

The Cincinnati, Columbus, and Cleveland metropolitan areas are also in the process of drafting their own priority climate action plans.

Of the four metropolitan areas in Ohio creating a climate action plan, Lindsay said the Miami Valley is the first to have their draft completed and publicly available.

“It's been good planning, good partnerships and perhaps some luck in terms of the expertise that we were able to bring on board allowing us to move at a steady pace,” he said.

Public comments on the plan will be accepted from now through February 9. A public meeting discussing the draft plan will be held Thursday, February 1.

The finalized priority climate action plan will be due to the U.S. EPA on March 1.

The commission will also be working on a comprehensive climate action plan which will include a detailed model of the Miami Valley to look at buildings, transportation, agriculture, forestry, and energy systems. 

That is slated to be complete by June 2025.

Adriana Martinez-Smiley (she/they) is the Environment and Indigenous Affairs Reporter for WYSO. They grew up in Hamilton, Ohio and graduated from Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism in June 2023. Before joining WYSO, her work has been featured in NHPR, WBEZ and WTTW.

Email: amartinez-smiley@wyso.org
Cell phone: 937-342-2905