The Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund Announces Independent Actions Taken in Cincinnati Municipal Elections

Cincinnati, OH -- Over the last two weeks, the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund launched direct mail and digital ads to support a greener Cincinnati. We sent out two rounds of digital ads and mailers to support the campaigns of our endorsed candidates: John Cranley for Cincinnati Mayor, and Derek Bauman, Greg Landsman, and P.G. Sittenfeld for City Council.

You can view a few examples of these tactics below.

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These actions were not coordinated or authorized by any candidate or candidate’s campaign, and paid for independently.

 

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Paid for by the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund (www.TheOECActionFund.org) and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee. 

 

OEC Action Fund Testimony Against HB 114

The world is undergoing a massive transition in how it generates, transports, manages and delivers electricity to homes, neighborhoods, and businesses. Consider that in 2015, global capacity for renewable energy surpassed that of coal for the first time ever in human history. About half a million solar panels were installed every day around the world in 2015. In 2015, China was installing two wind turbines every hour and continued that growth in 2016 to the tune of one turbine installation per hour.

Ohio is very much part of this world, and because of our Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) and Energy Efficiency Resource Standard (EERS), we are once again moving in the same direction as those around us in the rapid global transition towards clean energy. Substitute House Bill 114 signifies derailment, and if enacted in its current form, would put Ohio behind other Midwestern states in the competition for technological innovation and next generation manufacturing.

House Bill 114 proposes a rollback of the clean energy standards by: making compliance voluntary rather than mandatory; reducing the cumulative energy savings target; watering down the EERS by expanding Ohio’s industrial opt-out program, and; adding several new definitions under what qualifies as an energy efficiency measure. All these changes combined essentially amount to a repeal of Ohio’s existing, functioning and invaluable standards.  

But HB 114 is not the first time our clean energy standards have been attacked. In 2014, the bill that froze the clean energy standards - Ohio Senate Bill 310 - also made several permanent law changes that were seemingly minor, but have and will continue to erode the integrity of Ohio’s EERS.The impact of this law change has allowed some utilities to get something for nothing. No other state in the nation allows utilities to count anything but savings that its programs produce towards its own annual targets. Specifically, SB 310 expanded what kinds of “efficiency” that a utility can claim towards its annual benchmark in two ways:

Allowed utilities to claim savings achieved through increasing federal efficiency standards required for manufacturers of electrical equipment, lighting, and appliances, and;

Allowed utilities to claim energy savings that their customers achieved via their own means, without the prompting of an incentive or rebate.

Prior to SB 310, decisions about what could count towards a utility’s annual benchmark was decided at the PUCO, after lengthy stakeholder input and engagement, and close review of the latest technologies and innovation in the industry. This was an appropriate approach and allowed for relative nimbleness and adaptation to best practices.

If Ohio’s businesses are unhappy with current utility run energy efficiency programs, then let’s work together to find solutions that fit Ohio. There are various models in other states that have produced real energy savings while keeping business customers happy.  
 
Ohio’s Renewable Portfolio Standard and Energy Efficiency Resource Standard play a critical role in setting the course for Ohio’s energy portfolio, and to gradually diversify where Ohioans get their electricity. House Bill 114 needs to be rejected in its current form, which would allow Ohio’s clean energy standards to continue to deliver benefits to Ohioans.

OEC Action Fund Announces TV Ad Buy Calling on Ohio Lawmakers to Reject Power Plant Bail Outs

Columbus, OH -- Today, the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund announced a statewide ad buy calling on members of the Ohio General Assembly to reject two proposals that would grant subsidies for power plants in Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania.

House Bill 239 (Smith, R., Carfagna) and Senate Bill 155 (Terhar, Peterson) would allow three of Ohio’s electric utilities to stick Ohio families with the bill for two jointly-owned coal-fired power  plants. Similarly, House Bill 178 (DeVitis)/Senate Bill 128 (Ecklund, LaRose) proposes rate hikes for FirstEnergy customers in order to support three nuclear power plants owned by the utilities. Both sets of legislation would mean Ohio customers’ paying for plants located in the state and out of state.

The ads will begin running on television starting October 9th across Ohio, with an additional statewide digital buy.

TO VIEW THE AD, CLICK HERE

The proposals create a surcharge on Ohio customers’ electric bills to subsidize two 62-year old coal fired power plants - Kyger Creek Power Station in Cheshire, Ohio and the Clifty Creek power plant in Madison, Indiana. In addition, three nuclear power plants owned by FirstEnergy Solutions - the Davis–Besse Nuclear Power Station in Oak Harbor, Ohio, the  Perry Nuclear Generating Station in North Perry, Ohio, and the Beaver Valley Power Station in Hookstown, Pennsylvania will receive subsidies. 

“With an abundance of renewable energy opportunity in Ohio that is cheaper, cleaner and less risky, why would my elected officials in Ohio agree to hardworking Ohioans’ money going to plants that are old and expensive?” said Trish Demeter, Vice President of Policy with the OEC Action Fund. “And the fact that some of these plants aren’t even in Ohio doesn’t make sense. Ohio customers want more clean energy options, and they want the jobs and environmental benefits to be reaped here in our home state.”

The surcharge for the coal plants would apply to customers of AEP-Ohio, Duke Energy, and Dayton Power & Light until the year 2030. The charge for the nuclear plants would apply to customers of FirstEnergy companies (Cleveland Electric Illuminating, Toledo Edison, and Ohio Edison) for an indefinite amount of time. Both residential customers and business owners could be on the hook for higher electric bills under this proposed legislation.

“These bills are unfair for sending Ohio families’ and small business owners’ hard-earned money to fund poor business decisions made by corporate utilities running power plants in other states,” said OEC Action Fund Director, Aryeh Alex. “The same lawmakers who reject Ohio’s successful clean energy standards on the basis of the ‘free market’ want to give failing power plants a guaranteed subsidy. These rate-payer funded subsidies distort trends in the market that would otherwise push electric utilities to cleaner, more efficient generation options.”  

In addition to costs associated with providing subsidies for the coal plants, the dangers to public health are inherent. Every year, the included coal plants produce thousands of tons of coal ash, mercury, smog-forming pollutants and carbon dioxide, as well as other pollutants. The plants also produce noxious toxins like hydrochloric and sulfuric acid, which can cause numerous health problems for people living nearby.

Statement from the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund on the Ohio House’s Vote to Open up State Parks to Oil and Gas Development

“Today, the Ohio House voted to override the Governor’s veto on a provision of the State Budget that would allow for the fast tracking of oil and gas development in state parks and other public lands. Simply put, this unconscionable attempt to override this veto puts the business interests of oil and gas companies ahead of the well-being of all Ohioans. With one vote, our legislative leaders have diminished the quality of public lands that we all own, in exchange for a one-time check.

Thanking Governor Kasich for Protecting State Parks and Public Lands

The following statement can be attributed in full, or in part, to Sarah Spence, Director of Government Affairs at the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund:

“Today, the Governor vetoed a provision in the State Budget Bill that would have fast-tracked oil and gas leasing in state parks and public lands across Ohio. We thank Governor Kasich for standing up in defense of public lands that we all share in ownership. We cherish our state parks and state lands as places to hike, hunt, fish, and enjoy with our families, and the Governor’s veto keeps these lands safe from oil and gas development for the time being.

“The Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund remains steadfast in our efforts to protect public lands across Ohio for use and enjoyment for future generations.”

Urging Governor Kasich to Veto Budget Bill’s State Lands Drilling Amendment

“This week, the Conference Committee working on Ohio’s budget submitted Amended Substitute House Bill 49 (H.B. 49) to Governor Kasich. The bill includes an amendment that eliminates the governor’s authority to appoint members of the Oil and Gas Leasing Commission (R.C. 1509.71), the state body charged with leasing state lands to the oil and gas industry. The bill would give the governor’s appointment authority to the Speaker of the Ohio House and President of the Ohio Senate. Governor Kasich has declined to appoint members to the Commission since its creation in 2011.

OEC Action Fund Testimony regarding House Bill 114 (to review energy efficiency provisions)

The world is undergoing a massive transition in how it generates, transports, manages and delivers electricity to homes, neighborhoods, and businesses. Consider:

  • In 2015, global capacity for renewable energy surpassed that of coal for the first time ever in human history

  • About half a million solar panels were installed every day around the world in 2015

  • In 2015, China was installing two wind turbines every hour. In 2016, growth in wind has slackened, but only to the tune of 1 turbine per hour.