The Honorable Mike DeWine
Governor of Ohio
77 S. High St, Fl. 30
Columbus, OH 43215
Dear Governor DeWine,
The Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund (OECAF) actively works to secure healthy air, land and water for all who call Ohio home. Despite efforts to improve it throughout the legislative process, our organization is opposed to Amended Substitute HB 6 (HB 6) because, if enacted, it would increase Ohio’s carbon emissions, put more Ohioans’ health at risk, and threaten over 112,000 jobs of Ohioans working in the clean energy sector. On behalf of OECAF and its members, we are writing to urge you to veto HB 6 because it will have a negative effect on Ohio’s economic and environmental health, is not in the public interest, and therefore should be vetoed.
The bill before you appeases only a few private sector interests in Ohio, at the expense of Ohio families, small businesses, and the health of current and future Ohioans. Since 2009, Ohio’s energy efficiency and renewable energy standards moved Ohio forward in terms of creating new clean energy jobs, attracting new investment and revenue coming into Ohio, and steadily reducing annual carbon pollution equivalent to about a million homes’ worth of electricity consumption.
HB 6 is the wrong direction for Ohio, a state known for its spirit of innovation, strong manufacturing base, and responsibility to the health of our communities. Other states are moving toward a clean energy future and reaping all the benefits that a more diversified energy portfolio provides. We urge you to reject HB 6 and use your leadership to foster a more productive and comprehensive approach to energy policy in Ohio. This legislation steers Ohio in the wrong direction for the following reasons:
HB 6 will make Ohioans sicker
The very serious health threats Ohioans are facing because of climate change will only become greater if HB 6 becomes law. HB 6 forces Ohioans to continue subsidizing two aging coal plants, increasing carbon emissions for years to come. It also rolls back Ohio’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standards, which are projected to reduce carbon pollution by about 10 million tons per year over the next decade. HB 6 means we will forgo the projected health benefits that Ohio’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standards provide: prevention of over 44,000 asthma attacks, 2,400 asthma-related emergency room visits, 4,400 heart attacks and over 2,800 premature deaths attributable to coal-plant pollution. Removing the clean energy standards and subsidizing coal plants mean that our air will become dirtier and Ohioans’ health will get worse.
HB 6 threatens Ohio jobs
Despite the bill presumably preserving some jobs in the nuclear energy industry, this bill puts the jobs of many more Ohioans at risk. Ohio is home to over 112,000 jobs in the renewable energy and energy efficiency sector, and that growth is rapidly continuing with over 5,000 jobs added in 2018 alone. Eliminating the renewable energy and efficiency standards will end the economic growth in this sector and threaten good-paying, clean-energy jobs across the state. It will also hurt the fasting growing jobs in the US—wind energy technicians and solar installers, according to the US Dept of Labor.
HB 6 does not protect consumers, nor does it provide worker or community guarantees HB 6 doesn't provide adequate consumer protections that would ensure ratepayers of Ohio would be made whole if the new nuclear subsidies do not succeed in keeping the Davis-Besse and Perry nuclear plants open and operational. It does not contain protections or adequate financial oversight should the nuclear plants close, failing to create any real safeguards that the nuclear jobs the bill claims to be saving will actually do so. Further, HB 6 does not adequately protect workers or local communities should the two nuclear plants close. Rather, HB 6 appeases only a few private sector interests in Ohio, at the expense of Ohio families, clean energy workers, small businesses and the health of current and future Ohioans.
HB 6 will increase electricity bills for Ohio families and businesses
Energy efficiency displaces the need to generate electricity via a power plant or renewable energy project, and therefore it is inherently cheaper than meeting demand for electricity through coal, natural gas, wind, nuclear, solar or hydropower. Unfortunately, the state’s energy efficiency standard has been grossly mischaracterized as a cost on consumers rather than the money-saving, least-cost resource that it is. This policy, while not perfect by any means, has helped Ohio homeowners and businesses save over $5 billion on their energy bills since 2009, according to the utilities’ own reports to the PUCO. HB 6 will result in a hard stop for energy-saving opportunities for Ohio families and businesses as the programs are completely eliminated within the next couple of years, resulting in higher utility costs overall for consumers.
Therefore, a veto of HB 6 is in the best interest of Ohioans.
Thank you for your consideration in vetoing House Bill 6. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.