The “green” agenda at work in America’s heartland
What if a regional quasi-governmental organization, operating with little public oversight, told your city to ban warming up your car in the harsh Ohio winter, while encouraging that city to convert productive farmland into solar farms instead of producing food? A regional government compact in Ohio is doing just that. Operating as a nonprofit organization, the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) has taken tens of millions of dollars in federal grants for “sustainability projects,” and they’ve started going off the deep end.
According to reports, the MORPC has lobbied cities and counties around Columbus to “plant” solar panels instead of crops, using taxpayer dollars in the form of federal grants. MORPC urges its member county and city leaders to replace thousands of acres of productive soybean, corn, and wheat fields with solar farms. With a stated goal of “decarbonizing” the state of Ohio, MORPC has spent tens of millions of dollars, about half of which comes from federal funding, to lobby municipalities to adopt local laws banning starting a personal car in the winter to heat it up, natural gas hookups in homes, and other “decarbonization” restrictions on surviving winter in Ohio.
Regional governments in states across the nations have increasingly begun implementing this model. Regional governments, or voluntary membership in similar organizations, bypass state legislatures and the constitution to work directly with the World Economic Forum (WEF) and United Nations (UN) on their “sustainability” goals.
Regional Governments: The Camel’s Nose Under the Tent For Klaus Schwab?
MORPC operates as a membership-based planning commission for fifteen counties in Ohio. Originally founded in 1943, it helped the region plan highways, sewer, and other infrastructure. Over the years, though, significant mission creep set in and today it’s run by environmental extremists.
Other entities, such as Imagine Utah, operate as a public-private partnership with a corporate structure with direct ties to the WEF. In Oregon, the voters approved Metro Council and a draconian land-use regime of laws in the 1970s, in hopes of protecting the environment. Instead, it has led to a progressive erosion of property rights across the state and a massive expansion of the administrative state.
MORPC states its mission creep (amidst “progressive” buzzwords) openly on its About page:
As the regional council for the Central Ohio Region, MORPC’s core responsibility is to facilitate the region’s transportation planning process. As such, we are experts in research and forecasting, public policy, facilitating funding and financing, and acting as a bridge to convene and connect local governments to work collaboratively to drive holistic regional value.
But the role we embody in the region is much broader, focused on ensuring the region has a prosperous and sustainable future and provides a robust quality of life. MORPC is the trusted voice and advisor in guiding and facilitating investments in transportation and infrastructure. We are a capacity builder, driving synergy and creating greater value for the entire region. We inform policy choices and provide community resources that impact mobility, land-use, environmental sustainability, and housing stability.
While our work directly serves local governments and community leadership, the ultimate beneficiaries of our efforts are all residents in the region. We are driven to ensure access to what matters most ― jobs, healthcare, food, education, and leisure activities.MORPC values diversity of culture and thought as tenets of a sustainable regional ecosystem. We are committed to values that embrace all populations of the region and work to ensure our prosperity agenda gets implemented in a fair and equitable way [emphasis added].
There are many other such organizations across the United States. Many of them, like MORPC, fully adhere to (or have been subsumed by) the ideals of Klaus Scwab, Bill Gates, the WEF, and the UN to radically transform the world under their master plans—like 15-minute cities. They use influence campaigns and public issue polling, steeped in the values of the local communities, to shift public opinion in their favor. They often conceal their true goals or gussy them up to appeal to the locals, and when that doesn’t work, they bypass the U.S. Constitution, state and local governance, and voter scrutiny to advance their radical “sustainability” goals.
A future report from Restoration of America will expose the extent to which these unconstitutional government structures have bypassed the will of the voters in most states.
An Ohio-based blog recently exposed the massive amount of federal grants awarded to MORPC to bribe farmers to plant solar panels instead of food crops. “Leaders of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC),” the Buckeye Reporter wrote, “are urging county and city leaders to authorize the replacement of thousands of acres of soybean, corn and wheat fields with tens of thousands of rows of solar panels, arguing their construction is the best way to ‘decarbonize’ the state.”
A Buckeye Reporter analysis of reports submitted by MORPC to the State of Ohio Auditor found the group is budgeting $23.2 million in spending in 2023. That’s up from $14.8 million last year.
Federal taxpayer grants to MORPC have more than doubled over the past five years, from $6.5 million to $13.8 million.
All told, MORPC has spent $78.4 million since 2019, $40.1 million of which came from U.S. taxpayers.
According to its published budget, in 2023 MORPC will spend $9.92 million on employees and another $6.5 million on consultants.
That seems like quite a bit for 84 employees—averaging just under $120,000 in compensation, each.
MORPC’s revenues doubled between 2019 and 2023, due mostly to federal grants and subsidies. In 2019, their revenue totaled just over $13 million, including $6.5 million from the federal government. By 2023, revenue expanded to $23 million, with $13.5 million coming from the feds.
Where Does All That Money Go?
MORPC has signed on to such “energy equity” aspirations as the Sierra Club’s insistence on leaving petroleum and other sources of cheap energy in the ground. MORPC boasts several “sustainability” plans, including their Local Government Energy Partnership, Sustainable2050 and the Regional Sustainability Agenda.
One wonders what sort of equity that engenders.
Buckeye Reporter shared the details of Sustainable2050:
“Sustainable 2050” is MORPC’s initiative to get Central Ohio municipal leaders to agree to take steps to end fossil fuel use in their communities by 2050. Measures include banning natural gas hook-ups in homes and a ban on Ohio drivers heating up their cars in winter. Whetstone is currently offering “educational materials” to cities that encourage a car-starting ban [emphasis added].
MORPC has successfully lobbied mayors in 22 cities to sign on and is actively adding to that total.
Lobbying is only one aspect of how MORPC spends its money. They conduct annual member visits, to check up on the cities and counties that signed on to their plan; they also host regional collaboration meetings, to encourage buy-in on their latest schemes. A significant chunk of their resources go to public policy advocacy, at the federal, local, and state level. Partnerships include internships, educational programs at several universities, local government summer internship programs, and other educational opportunities. They also boast of their “rural service strategy,” which “serves rural communities by encouraging collaborative planning efforts to help develop inclusive, local strategy-building processes.” Sounds like something every Ohio farmer needs.
In addition, MORPC has developed several conduits to grants, financial resources, and “public and private finance options:”
MORPC provides each member with a general membership in the Council of Development Finance Agencies. CDFA is a financial service agency that provides expertise in public and private finance options. It was founded to strengthen state and local development finance agencies, and to stimulate job creation and economic growth through the use of tax-exempt and other public-private partnership finance programs.
These programs often have the veneer of infrastructure, but like bike trails, multi-use paths, public park expansion, and other alternatives to internal combustion vehicles, they serve to push the globalist agenda towards net-zero and “sustainability.” Meanwhile, the local residents derive very little value, economic or otherwise, from such programs.
MORPC is just one example that demonstrates how regional infrastructure, a little-noticed expansion of local governance, has been infiltrated by globalist influences to radically alter their mission and, in many ways, undermine the prosperity and productivity of our heartland, forcing unwitting residents into sustainability plans they would likely oppose if they knew the true goals.