The Oberlin Review

Oberlin Must Stand by Community Bill of Rights

Ellen Mavrich, Contributing Writer

February 3, 2017

The arctic ice is melting. The beginning of a great extinction is upon us. The money being invested into fossil fuel infrastructure must be redirected into renewable energy now if we are to truly address the challenges of climate change. The NEXUS pipeline is a fossil fuel project which will accelerate hydrofracking throughout the Marcellus and Utica shales and cause the release of methane, a greenhouse gas, into our atmosphere. In addition, this project will include the construction of five compressor stations that are permitted by government agencies such as the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to pollute our air. Most Oberlin residents are aware of this. But having knowledge does not translate into being brave....

NIMBY Activism Will Not Halt NEXUS Pipeline Project

Adriana Teitelbaum, Contributing Writer

December 9, 2016

While many activists and public officials have been focusing their outrage on the Dakota Access Pipeline, Spectra Energy’s NEXUS pipeline is a more immediate threat lurking below public radar for Ohio and other Midwestern residents. By 2018, the NEXUS pipeline could potentially occupy over 255 miles of land stretching from Ohio to Western Canada. The pipeline, which will carry natural gas through Ohio, Michigan and Ontario, Canada, has been in the works since 2013. According to the project’s website, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will not determine whether to approve the project until 2017. However, it is highly unlikely that the project will be halted, as it has been in development for more than three...

Please Don’t Feed the Pipelines

Aliza Weidenbaum, Oberlin resident

December 11, 2015

To the Editors: As someone fully opposed to fossil fuel pipelines, I am thrilled that the city of Oberlin is able to engage the help of such an experienced attorney as Carolyn Elefant in litigating to prevent pipelines (not merely rerouting them). We need all the help that we can get. What still needs editorial focus is that Oberlin College built a new gas plant — yes, a new fossil gas-burning — when it can be expected to know better. It is precisely new gas plants — like Oberlin College’s — that “demand” gas from pipelines. Please don’t feed the pipelines. Consider Ball State University in Indiana — much less famous than Oberlin and much bigger, with around 21,000 students — which fac...

City Council Should Focus on Abolishing, Not Rerouting, NEXUS Pipeline

Editorial Board

December 4, 2015

In a special meeting on Monday, Nov. 30, City Council decided to hire the law offices of D.C.-based Carolyn Elefant to represent the city of Oberlin in a lawsuit aimed at rerouting the NEXUS pipeline. The proposed 250-mile pipeline, to be constructed and operated by Houston-based Spectra Energy, is slated to run from Ontario, Canada to Kensington, Ohio — a town just 76 miles southeast of Oberlin. Based on the intended route, the pipeline will run as close as 95 feet from residences on Reserve Avenue as well as near the Welcome Nursing Home and the fire station, among other city buildings. The Medina County-based Coalition to Reroute Nexus, along with the city officials of Green, Ohio, devised a rerouting plan that ...

Brine Storage, Not Fracking, Warrants Concern

Sophia Ottoni-Wilhelm, Contributing Writer

March 6, 2015

Just last week, Ohio’s Supreme Court ruled that the decision to ban hydraulic fracking can only be made by the state government and no longer by county and city municipalities. As staff writer Bob Downing summarized in the Akron Beacon Journal on Feb. 17, “The decision takes local control of drilling away from communities and supports the state as the continued main overseer of drilling.” The 4–3 vote comes to the great disappointment of many in our community, as it counteracts the city of Oberlin’s Nov. 2013 vote to prohibit all extraction of natural gases in this district. While the Supreme Court’s decision is a definite step back, it should be used as motivation to refocus our attention within the lo...

Social Movements Must Incorporate Environmental Justice

CJ Blair, Columnist

February 20, 2015

There’s no doubt that Oberlin is a place known for its conscientious and progressive students. While Oberlin’s sustainable Adam Joseph Lewis Center and a handful of environmental organizations demonstrate concern about environmental issues, day-to-day conversations between students tend to favor social, rather than environmental, justice. This is by no means a bad thing, but such conversations often fail to see the ways in which environmentalism is just as pressing a concern as social justice, as well as how the two are inextricably tied. If it sounds like I’m going to condemn the social justice initiatives on campus, let me assure you that I’m not. The way in which Oberlin responded to the horrendous incidents...

City Meets Target, Halves Carbon Emissions

City Meets Target, Halves Carbon Emissions

February 20, 2015

The city of Oberlin has met its target of cutting 2012 greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2015. Oberlin emitted 113,832 metric tons of greenhouse gases in 2012 and is projected to emit 56,866 metric tons in 2015, according to analysis done by the consulting firm Cameron-Cole. “In three years, we halved the entire city’s greenhouse gas emissions,” said Sean Hayes, the executive director of the Oberlin Project. The Oberlin Project is an organization that seeks to help Oberlin make progress...

Ohio Senate Delays Decision on Fracking, Agriculture Bill

Elizabeth Dobbins, News Editor

December 12, 2014

Ohio legislators are making a final push this month to move several bills through the Senate, including laws that could improve support for free clinics and weaken fracking regulation. House Bill 320, which would lower the barriers to volunteering at free clinics, passed almost unanimously through the House in February and was approved by the Senate earlier this month. The bill extends Ohio’s Good Samaritan Law, a law that allows volunteer physicians to treat uninsured patients by protecting these volunteers from medical malpractice. H.B. 320 expands this protection to physicians treating patients on Medicaid; as a result, Medicaid patients can now receive care at free clinics. According to Paul Baumgart...

Unanimous Vote by Council Retracts Support for Pipeline

Sarah Conner

October 31, 2014

Oberlin City Council unanimously voted last Monday in favor of retracting support from the NEXUS pipeline, a project led by DTE Energy and Spectra Energy. The pipeline would span nearly 250 miles from upper Ohio to Ontario and deliver up to 2 billion cubic feet of gas to the Midwest and Canada every day. As of now it is uncertain whether or not DTE Energy and Spectra Energy will choose to move forward with the installation of the pipeline. City Manager Eric Norenberg said he was concerned that they were still looking to build in Oberlin. Last fall, the community passed a bill of rights outlawing the addition of any new pipelines. Members of the community expressed concern that working with DTE and Spectra went...

Students Must Mobilize Against Proposed Pipeline Through Oberlin

CJ Blair, Columnist

October 3, 2014

Early during Orientation, another student told me that there were plans to build a natural gas pipeline that would go straight through Oberlin. When I heard this, I almost laughed, because I knew it wouldn’t happen. Surely the students of one of the world’s most politically active colleges would do everything in their power to prevent a project like this. When I joined Oberlin Anti-Frack, however, I realized that this was true only for a small group of students; the campus as a whole was far from being united and ready to mobilize against the pipeline. With several crucial dates in the battle against the Nexus Pipeline just days away, it is without question the most important time to make sure Oberlin students...

Ban Fracking on College Lands

Rhys Hertafeld and Emily Belle

October 11, 2013

To the Editors: Many of us chose to attend Oberlin College based on its reputation for promoting social justice and environmental sustainability. In the spirit of this commitment, we encourage students, faculty and community members to join in efforts to explicitly prohibit natural gas development on College-owned property, including the immediate campus and acreage in surrounding areas. Natural gas extraction in this region often involves the process of hydraulic fracturing, with the potential for contamination of local waterways and hugely detrimental human health effects in nearby communities. With these dangers in mind, it is imperative that we adopt a proactive stance to ban fracking infrastructure on College...

Benefits of Transition to Natural Gas Questioned

Rachel Weinstein, Staff Writer

October 11, 2013

Oberlin College is currently gearing up for a new sustainable installment — the replacement of the central heating plant’s coal boilers with new natural gas-fueled tanks. For years, the College has been dependent on a central coal burning plant to heat academic and residential buildings on campus — a solution that only some find acceptable. Separated into multiple zones, buildings on the northeast side of campus will be the first to utilize the new natural gas energy. The initiative will officially break ground next Monday, beginning with the construction of the site for the new boilers. “[Rob Lampaa, director of sustainability] put forward a plan in the last year and the Board of Trustees voted to approve...

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