To: Members of the Ohio General Assembly
From: Heather Taylor-Miesle, President, Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund
Re: House Bill 6
Dear Honorable Senators and Representatives,
As the vote on Substitute House Bill 6 approaches, I am writing to inform you that the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund will be scoring this bill for the purposes of our Legislative Scorecard for the 133rd Ohio General Assembly. To the extent that House Bill 6 passes, the OEC Action Fund will be doing extensive public education on the content and the votes on this legislation due to its adverse impact to Ohio’s environment and the health of Ohioans. We urge a no vote on House bill 6 because:
HB 6 bails out aging coal and nuclear plants at the expense of clean energy, and will increase carbon emissions in Ohio. HB 6 repeals Ohio’s renewable portfolio and energy efficiency standards which are incredibly valuable and cost-effective policies that drive investment in clean energy. These clean energy standards are on track to reduce Ohio’s annual carbon pollution by approximately 10 million tons between 2017 and 2029—the equivalent to avoiding emissions from the annual electricity consumption of 1 million homes.
HB 6 will make Ohioans sick. If Ohio’s renewable energy and efficiency standards are eliminated, Ohioans will experience dirtier air, and we won’t receive the projected health benefits that these standards provide through 2029—prevention of over 44,000 asthma attacks, 4,400 heart attacks, over 2,800 premature deaths and more—all attributable to coal-plant pollution.
HB 6 will cause Ohioans to lose $7.71 in energy efficiency savings on their electric bills per month per household. Ohioans have received over $5.1 billion in energy savings on their utility bills since 2009 thanks to utility-run efficiency programs per the efficiency standard. Because the bill wipes out energy efficiency programs, the average Ohio family will lose $7.71 in energy efficiency savings per month if HB 6 becomes law.
HB 6 bails out two coal plants at a cost of $368 million, and one plant isn’t even in Ohio. Sub. HB 6 continuously bails out two coal plants jointly owned by the Ohio Valley Electric Corporation (OVEC), one in Cheshire, OH and one in Madison, IN. The cost to ratepayers of AEP Ohio, Duke, and DP&L will be at least $368 million through 2030, heaping millions more in costs on Ohio families and businesses.
HB 6 puts Ohioans jobs at risk and shuts out the fastest growing job sectors in the country: Over 112,000 Ohioans work in the clean energy sector, including 84,000 construction and manufacturing jobs. While HB 6 will subsidize nuclear and coal power plants, and may be effective at retaining jobs, the bill would not create new demand for clean energy projects and jobs moving into the future. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, solar installers are projected to be the fastest growing job over the next decade, and wind energy maintenance technicians are expected to see the second fastest growth through 2026. HB 6 disguises a bailout of two coal plants owned by OVEC, and Ohio’s two old, uncompetitive nuclear power plants as a “Clean Air Program” that allegedly includes new wind and solar, but if you take a closer look, it disqualifies most, if not all, wind and solar projects.
HB 6 contains no worker or community protections and enriches certain utility interests at the expense of consumers. HB 6 does not guarantee that Ohio’s two nuclear power plants will stay open even with new ratepayer-funded subsidies created in the bill. The legislation does not require the nuclear plants owner - FirstEnergy or any potential future owner - to keep the plants open and operational for any period of time, and does not restrict the use of the ratepayer-funded subsidies to be used only for operation and maintenance of the nuclear plants. This leaves customers and workers exposed, and could potentially allow the funds to be allocated for utility shareholder profits or other purposes.
HB 6 puts us further behind neighboring states. While the rest of the country is moving forward, and doubling down on a path towards more diversified energy portfolios, Ohio’s modest 12.5% by 2027 Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) is still effectively driving investment in Ohio. But Ohio’s RPS pales in comparison to neighboring states’ targets: Michigan is going to hit 35 percent by 2025, Indiana will hit 25% by 2025-2026, Illinois will hit 25% by 2025 - 2026), and Pennsylvania will hit 18% by 2020-2021 (According to the National Council of State Legislatures).
In summary, HB 6 cannot be fixed. The OEC Action Fund reiterates its call for a comprehensive approach to energy policy reform that would; truly and measurably reduce carbon emissions from the power sector and reduce air pollution overall; create new jobs and economic opportunity in communities across Ohio; encourage competition and cost-effective solutions that can be implemented by utilities and customers alike, and; protect the health of the most vulnerable Ohioans suffering from asthma and other respiratory illnesses.
If you have any questions, please direct them to Trish Demeter, Chief of Staff, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (614) 598-8374.
Heather Taylor-Miesle, President
Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund