An Open Letter to the Athens Community

The Ohio University administration and Board of Trustees do not give a s*** about you.

They have entered negotiations for the construction of a natural gas pipeline through your community.  It’s probably not safe.  It’s probably going to be a threat to your health.  Think fracking.  Think polluted water.  But OU is flying into this arrangement in order to meet an approaching deadline – a deadline by which they must reduce their dependence on coal as an energy source.

The process for extracting natural gas is not better.  It’s probably just as dirty as coal, even if waste shows up at different points in the process.  The reason there are not as many restrictions, if any, on natural gas usage is that it’s a newer industry.  And those who profit off of natural gas will continue trying to hide any evidence that it is a threat to the environment and public health.  They will continue to hurt poor and marginalized communities, placing facilities which degrade the environment and the health of the community.

OU has done little to nothing before now to meet requirements of reduced coal usage.  It has missed many opportunities to make the switch to renewable energy during construction or renovation projects on university buildings.  And now, because of their short-sightedness, the administration and Board of Trustees are content to continue making the poorest county in Ohio the guinea pig for everything they can do wrong.  Rather than asking for an extension on their deadline or doing research into renewable energy options, they’re content to slide this pipeline right by you.

This Monday, April 27th, email the OU administration and Board of Trustees and tell them to halt their negotiations.  Tell them your health and the health of the environment matters.  Tell them if this is the best they can do, someone else should be doing their jobs.

Board of Trustees:

Board of Trustees Secretary Peter Mather:

Roderick McDavis, President of Ohio University:

Pam Benoit, Executive Vice President and Provost of Ohio University:

Joe Lalley, Senior Vice President of Technologies and Administration of Ohio University:


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