Climate tour stops in Youngstown, calls for coal plant phase-out

By David Skolnick


A 27-state bus tour stopped at the History Center of Industry and Labor to support the president’s proposals to target climate change by limiting carbon pollution and greenhouse gases.

But some at Friday’s “I Will Act on Climate” tour stop at the center at 151 Wood St. went further than that.

Rashay Layman, associate organizing representative for the Sierra Club in Columbus, said she wants to see coal plants, which provide a majority of Ohio’s electricity, phased out and replaced by solar and wind power.

“Clean-coal technology is not a better option” than traditional coal plants, she said. “Wind and solar options are better. Coal is an energy on its way out.”

Wind plants are opening in southwest Ohio while most coal plants are in the eastern and southeastern portions of the state.

When asked what eliminating coal plants would do to the economy in those areas that depend on them for employment, Layman said coal-plant owners should properly train workers on alternative-energy facilities.

“They invested in fossil fuels — that was their decision,” she said. “It’s their responsibility to determine how to train workers to transition them.”

Bill Padisak, president of the Mahoning-Trumbull Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO, said, “There should be a middle ground with good, clean coal that burns efficiently.”

He supports building clean-coal facilities.

Martin Abraham, dean of Youngstown State University’s College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, said some people don’t believe climate change is a “big deal.”

But there’s been a rise in recent years of flooding, wildfires and natural disasters, he said. While climate change can’t be linked to any specific event, all of them taken as a group were caused by climate change, largely man-made, Abraham said.

The “I Will Act on Climate” tour began July 11 in Knoxville, Tenn., and will finish Aug. 19 in Washington, D.C.

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