BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF OHIO:
To enact section 1559.01 of the Revised Code to declare it to be the public policy of the state to establish the Clean Ohio Fund for the purpose of achieving certain goals related to the protection of the environment and preservation of the state's natural resources.
Section 1. That section 1559.01 of the Revised Code be enacted to read as follows:
Sec. 1559.01. The general assembly finds that protecting the environment and preserving the natural resources of this state are vital to the quality of life and economic development of the state. The general assembly recognizes that achieving these goals requires a commitment of financial resources. Further, the general assembly recognizes that the most efficient use of those financial resources is to provide support to and become a partner of local governments and private entities in achieving statewide goals. Therefore, it is the public policy of this state to establish the clean Ohio fund, a framework for providing financial assistance to state agencies, local governments, and private entities for the purpose of achieving all of the following:
(A) The redevelopment and remediation of sites that have been contaminated by past industrial activity. Such redevelopment will return previously abandoned or underutilized industrial properties to productive use, create jobs, expand the tax base for urban communities, and provide numerous environmental benefits.
(B) The restoration and protection of streams and watersheds through providing financing for conservation easements and acquisitions of riparian lands;
(C) The preservation of the state's productive and unique farmland resources through increased support for the agricultural easements program;
(D) The preservation of river corridors, forests, grasslands, and wetlands;
(E) The expansion and development of recreational trails so that the state's citizens may have access to natural resources and the many benefits that they provide.