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City of Mount Vernon responds to Mount Vernon News Piece

Below please find a letter addressed to the Editor of The Mount Vernon News:

Dear Editor of The Mount Vernon News:

On Oct. 4, 2023, The Mount Vernon News published an anonymous article — headlined “Mount Vernon City Council passes resolution promising to “pursue” the replacement of natural gas and coal with solar power” — that completely mischaracterizes the subject at hand. In fact, the only thing remotely correct about the article is its statement that the Mount Vernon City Council passed a resolution. Any other resemblance between the article and the actual truth of what occurred stops there. 

The City has several issues with this article:

1.) The anonymous article is clearly an opinion piece, but from Oct. 4 until the City brought its complaints to the attention of The Mount Vernon News on Oct. 9, it was not labeled as such. For about 12 hours on Oct. 9, 2023, a “commentary” label did appear at the top of the article on your website, but a day later that label was replaced with a “politics” designation, whatever that means, without the content of the article being changed. 

2.) This anonymous opinion piece makes several inaccurate and downright false claims about the sustainability initiatives of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, as well as the resolution passed by the Mount Vernon City Council. Yet, no effort was made to contact MORPC or the City of Mount Vernon and allow them to rebut those claims or even respond to them. 

To this last point, and for the record, the Mount Vernon City Council passed a resolution on Sept. 25, 2023 committing the City to the objectives of MORPC’s Sustainable2050 Program, a voluntary, idea-sharing association of several dozen Central Ohio governments and organizations. These objectives relate to transportation, housing, policy and sustainability. Contrary to the anonymous commentary published in The Mount Vernon News, the legislation does not pledge the City to prohibit the use of natural gas and other fossil fuels, nor to replace gas-powered cars with electric vehicles, nor to install solar panels anywhere.

Again for the record, the Sustainable2050 Program — which by the way has cost the City nothing to join — does not require the City to change any of its laws, ban any activities, or require that any agricultural fields be replaced with solar panels. Nor are these the objectives of MORPC’s program. In fact, MORPC is a member of the Ohio Gas Access Partnership, a coalition of communities and organizations seeking to improve natural gas availability in Central Ohio. In the coming years, Mount Vernon will be building a new Municipal Courthouse and Police Station; these structures will be heated with natural gas.

The City of Mount Vernon requests that this anonymous opinion piece be removed from The Mount Vernon News website.

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