Statement on House Bill 6 Next Steps

Despite extensive efforts to improve House Bill 6 (HB 6) throughout the legislative process, the bill was passed by the Ohio House of Representatives and signed by Gov. DeWine on July 23.

In response, the following quote can be attributed in full or part to Trish Demeter, Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund advocate:

“The Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund remains opposed to House Bill 6 because it is bad for Ohio’s health and environment. We are assessing all options to get Ohio back on the right track. At this time we are not involved in referendum efforts, but we are not ruling that out as a potential option.”


Response to latest amendments to Sub. HB 6

COLUMBUS, OH — Ohio House Bill 6 received yet another hearing after millions of dollars have been spent to influence lawmakers to bailout the bad business decisions of FirstEnergy. The new substitute version of the legislation still contains $150 million in new charges on Ohio consumers to bail out two aging nuclear plants, reinserts a mandatory extension of coal subsidies, and effectively repeals Ohio’s efficiency and renewable energy standards.

The following statement can be attributed to Miranda Leppla, energy advocate for the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund:

“There is nothing to praise in the latest version of House Bill 6 released today; in fact, this bill has gone from bad to worse. The bill will have lasting negative impacts on Ohioans’ health and wallets for years to come, and yet it may be passed Wednesday without any additional opportunity for public comment.

“Coal bailouts are back in, cost-saving energy efficiency programs are completely zeroed out, and Ohio’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) will fade out completely in the next couple of years. The bill will benefit corporate utilities and Wall Street investors, while Ohio families will be stuck with a huge price tag to keep Ohio entrenched in energy systems of the past.”

Response to new version of Sub. HB 6 released on June 26 in the Ohio Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee

The new version of House Bill 6 is essentially a distinction without a difference, and would drive the same conclusion if enacted - higher bills, dirtier air, and Ohio jobs at risk.

COLUMBUS, OH—The Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund stands firm that House Bill 6 still falls far short of what is required to ensure Ohio has a bright energy future. The following statement can be attributed in full, or in part, to Trish Demeter, advocate with the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund:

“The new version of House Bill 6 is essentially a distinction without a difference, and would drive the same conclusion if enacted - higher bills, dirtier air, and Ohio jobs at risk. This new version of HB 6 falls far short of shepherding Ohio into a cleaner, more efficient energy future, and instead will set Ohio back. As a state, we should lean into clean energy, instead of significantly dialing back policies that attract more investment in Ohio, cut energy costs for Ohio families, and reduce harmful air pollution.

“While on paper the renewable portfolio standard (RPS) and energy efficiency resource standard (EERS) are maintained, albeit at lower targets than current law, in practice these standards will effectively fade away. This is due to dramatic changes proposed in the bill on how these policies are implemented, and the likelihood that utilities would no longer cut energy waste through energy efficiency rebate programs. By no means will this bill save Ohioans money on their electric bills, and if the bill is enacted, families and businesses will experience higher monthly bills.

“We appreciate that the Senate removed the poison pill provision that would allow for local referendum on wind farms, and the coal bailout appears to be permissive now, rather than mandated. Unfortunately, the bill still sets Ohio significantly back.

“This process has been rushed from the very start, and instead of implementing a policy with many unknowns, we encourage the Senate to take the time to thoroughly evaluate each policy change they are making in Sub. HB 6. We stand ready to work with the Senate to improve this bill further for the benefit of all Ohioans.”


Response to the Ohio House Passing House Bill 7

House Bill 7 establishes the H2Ohio Trust Fund for water quality improvement projects to protect Ohioans

COLUMBUS, OH—The Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund applauds the passage of HB 7 to further fund water improvement projects that will invest more in Ohio's environment, creating a healthier more prosperous future for Ohioans. The following statement can be attributed in whole, or in part, to Pete Bucher, Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund advocate:

“In addition to any H2Ohio funding in the state budget, the Trust Fund structure will allow for Ohio to have a long term source of funding to implement water improvement projects. Long term funding sources will be crucial to meeting our water quality improvement goals in Ohio as we continue to face the impacts of climate change. This bill further signifies the important role our waterways play in our public health, manufacturing, recreation, and tourism here in Ohio and the Great Lakes region.”

Response to the Senate Passage of the Budget Proposal

Columbus, OH—The State Senate today passed their proposal for the upcoming FY 2020-2021 Ohio State Budget. In response, the following quote can be attributed in full or part to Kristy Meyer, Vice-President of Natural Resources Policy for the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund:

“This budget proposal maintains many positive things that will help improve our water quality and increase our access to public lands. We appreciate the work of Senate President Larry Obhof and the Ohio Senate on those issues.

“The initial funding for the H2Ohio is a great start and we hope to see long-term, dedicated funding for water quality—to fulfill the H2Ohio program as proposed earlier this year. Strong accountability measures should be put in place to ensure a good investment of public dollars that will achieve water quality improvements.

“We are pleased to see funding for our nature preserves and $47 million for the purchase of the AEP ReCreation Lands. We urge the State Park Fund line item be reinstated in conference committee to include a one-time $25 million dollar infusion to update and improve our Park system.

“However, all of the investments in conservation are meaningless with the Senate’s addition of its SB1 regulatory reduction provision that threatens the ability of the state to protect the health and safety of all Ohioans. We are also calling on lawmakers to invest in $1.1 million to fund the state’s census efforts so that we can have a complete count in 2020—something that Senator O’Brien offered as an amendment and was rejected by the majority party.

“The OEC Action Fund continues to work with lawmakers to ensure that Ohio’s land, water, air, and democracy are protected for this budget and beyond."

SENATE PASSES BILL TARGETING WATER QUALITY IMPROVEMENTS

SB 2 establishes a statewide watershed planning and management program

COLUMBUS, OH - The Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund applauds President of the Senate Larry Obhof and Minority Leader Kenny Yuko and Bill Sponsors Senators Bob Peterson and Matt Dolan for the introduction of and leadership of SB 2. SB 2 creates a watershed coordinator program in each major watershed, coordinated plans for water quality improvements, an aggregation of conservation practices utilized in the state by watershed, as well as a farmer 4R program.

The following quote can be attributed in full or part to Kristy Meyer, Vice President of Policy at the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund:

“We are encouraged by the passage of this bill out of the Senate. The bill would create a program that puts us on a path for water quality improvements and better understanding of the current conservation practices being utilized on agricultural fields across the state. We applaud the Senate, especially the bill Sponsors, Senator Peterson and Dolan for this step towards better water quality in Ohio.

With summer looming and a large harmful algal bloom expected, residents struggling to pay their water bills, and communities failing to make the necessary water infrastructure upgrades the must consider all funding and voluntary and legislative tools to sustainably improve our waterways and ensure all Ohioans have access to clean, safe, and affordable water.”

Response to the Senate Republican Budget Proposal

Columbus, OH—The Senate Republican Caucus today released their budget priorities for the upcoming FY 2020-2021 Ohio State Budget. In response, the following quote can be attributed in full or part to Kristy Meyer, Vice-President of Policy for the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund:

“This budget proposal continues many of the good things introduced by Governor DeWine and refined by Speaker Householder and the Ohio House of Representatives. Particularly, we are pleased to see the continued full funding for our parks, nature preserves, and wildlife areas, and $47 million for the purchase of AEP ReCreation Lands.

“We continue to push for long-term, dedicated funding for water quality—to fulfill the H2Ohio program as proposed by the Governor. It is good to see this a major priority in this version of the budget as well.  

“As 2020 quickly approaches, we urge the Senate to include adequate funding for the state’s efforts to ensure a complete census count including $1.1 million for hard to count community grants.

“The OEC Action Fund continues to work with lawmakers to ensure that Ohio’s land, water, air, and democracy are protected for this budget and beyond."

Statement from the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund On The House Passing a Disastrous Corporate Bailout in HB6

Columbus, OH—The following statement can be attributed in full, or in part, to Miranda Leppla, Vice-President of Energy Policy at the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund:

“Today, members of the Ohio House of Representatives forced through House Bill 6, a bill that will increase air pollution, and burden Ohioans with bailing two aging nuclear power plants and two coal plants - including one in Indiana. The House vote essentially dupes Ohioans into paying millions more on their electric bills for energy sources of the past, while simultaneously wiping out energy-saving efficiency programs and shutting out rapidly expanding opportunities in wind and solar energy - the two fastest growing job sectors in the nation.

“Ohioans deserve so much better. Today’s vote demonstrates that many Ohio Representatives chose the interests of big corporations over the health and pocket books of working families. HB 6 is nothing more than a ploy to bail out corporate utilities that want to continue to run old, dirty energy sources, under the guise of “clean air."

“While we are extremely disappointed in today’s vote, we are hopeful that the Ohio Senate and Governor DeWine stand up for Ohio families and those that will be most impacted by the increase in air pollution. We urge the Ohio Senate to reject HB 6 in its entirety, and to take a  comprehensive and measured approach to the issue of Ohio’s energy future.

“We applaud Minority Leader Sykes and key committee members Representatives Denson, O’Brien, Boggs, Leland, and Weinstein for fighting to stop this effort and for proposing a more holistic energy plan with the Ohio Clean Energy Jobs Act (House Bill 260)—a far superior plan that should be passed into law over the draconian HB6.

“As this terrible legislation moves forward, the OEC Action Fund, our partners from across the political spectrum, Ohio businesses, and more will be educating Ohioans on the negative impacts of this bill, and will fight to prevent this legislation from proceeding through the Senate in its current form. Ohio energy policy impacts the health of our kids and economy, and our state can’t afford to see House Bill 6 become law.”

Statement on HB6 Being Voted Out Of Committee without Ample Time for Debate or Amendments

Columbus, OH -- Just moments ago, Republicans on the Ohio House Energy and Natural Resources Committee forced a vote on House Bill 6, the nuclear bailout tax that now also funds a coal plant in Indiana on the backs of Ohio ratepayers. This party-line vote was called without giving Democrats the opportunity to offer amendments or hear from experts on the new omnibus amendment that was introduced less than 24 hours prior to the vote.

The following quote can be attributed in full or part to Miranda Leppla, Vice-President of Energy Policy for the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund:

House Bill 6 is a disastrous attempt to fleece Ohioans and use their hard-earned dollars to bailout two outdated nuclear plants and two coal plants--one of which is located in Indiana. The Republican-led bill is a stark contrast from the Ohio Clean Energy Jobs Act introduced earlier today by the House Democrats, which would move Ohio toward cleaner air and economic prosperity."

Instead of offering time to debate and hear potential amendments, the chair forced a vote with no opportunity to hear legitimate criticism or opposition. Ohioans deserve better, and we urge members of the Ohio House to think long and hard about saddling Ohioans with bailing out the bad decisions made by FirstEnergy Solutions.

COMMON SENSE ENERGY PLAN SAVES JOBS AND CONSUMERS MONEY

Ohio Clean Energy Jobs Act Better for Workers, Consumers, Environment, and Ohio

COLUMBUS, OH -- Today House Democrats held a press conference and unveiled the Ohio Clean Energy Jobs Act, which will move Ohio’s economy forward by creating good paying jobs, ensuring cleaner air, and better health for all Ohioans.

“The Ohio Clean Energy Jobs Act is fair to businesses and consumers, and maintains energy efficiency standards that will save Ohioans money. This plan is good for workers, consumers, the environment, and Ohio,” Miranda Leppla, Vice-President of Energy Policy at the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund said.

“The Ohio Clean Energy Jobs Act puts Ohio on the right track to ensuring 50 percent of our energy needs are being generated from renewable sources,” Leppla said.

“This bill stands in stark contrast to House Bill 6, which will take Ohio backward,” Leppla said. “We support establishing accountability and transparency measures in the state’s clean energy program that requires utilities to demonstrate the need for continued subsidies and gives consumers the ability to “clawback” their investment if the utility decides to close or sell facilities, which is absent from House Bill 6.”

“Lawmakers in the Ohio House face a clear choice. They can bailout FirstEnergy Solutions and reward their poor management decisions, put profits over people, and put consumers on the hook to pay billions of dollars to a greedy utility in perpetuity,” said Leppla. “Or they can embrace a common sense plan that benefits everyone in Ohio. We ask Republicans to work in good faith with Democrats and adopt the Ohio Clean Energy Jobs Act to protect existing jobs and create new, good paying jobs instead of moving forward with the disastrous House Bill 6.”

GROUPS BACK BAD-FOR-CONSUMER PAYOUT BILL DARK MONEY GROUP SPENDS MILLIONS ON MISLEADING ADS

Columbus -- Today, several groups testified in support of a bill to bail out nuclear power plants, which would cost consumers millions more each year on their electric bills. This bill would gut money-saving efficiency programs, throttle investments in wind and solar projects, and hurt hard-working Ohioans.

“Ohioans should not have to pay the millions of dollars it would cost to support these aging nuclear power plants, while our legislators gut the renewable and efficiency programs that have saved Ohioans money every year for the past decade and have driven job growth across our state,” said Miranda Leppla, Vice-President of Energy Policy for the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund. “Ohioans work hard for their paychecks, and their money should be put toward renewable energy and efficiency programs, which have already created over 112,000 jobs in Ohio and have the potential to create tens of thousands more. Although today several entities testified that bailing out the nuclear plants would save jobs, there are hundreds of thousands of Ohioans opposing this bill who were unable to testify in support of the energy efficiency and renewables standards that this same bill would jeopardize.  Our clean energy economy continues to drive job growth at a much faster pace than the rest of Ohio’s economy, and we should be protecting all workers, not just a select few. Ohioans in the clean energy economy were too busy working for the money needed to pay for their electric bills,” Leppla explained.

“Meanwhile, a dark money group has already spent as much as $2.7 million on false and misleading advertising that attempts to take Ohioans’ hard-earned money. At the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund, we stand with those who oppose House Bill 6. We hope Ohio legislators vote no and create a healthier Ohio for our children and thousands of good paying jobs from renewable energy,” said Leppla.

Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund Disappointed in Committee Leadership for Stifling Debate on Nuclear Subsidy Bill

Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund Disappointed in Committee Leadership for Stifling Debate on Nuclear Subsidy Bill


COLUMBUS, OH -- Commenting on the walkout today by Democrats on the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee:

“It’s ironic and sad that a utility company that supplies electricity for lighting is so willing to hide in the shadows. The OEC Action Fund calls on FirstEnergy and supporters of HB 6 to answer each and every question about its scheme to pick the pockets of Ohio families and reap $300 million a year in perpetuity to pay for aging nuclear power plants, while gutting our renewable energy and energy efficiency programs. When this is all said and done, it could be a billion-dollar payout,” said Miranda Leppla, Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund’s Vice President of Energy Policy.

“FirstEnergy is using its influence to silence its critics in the Ohio House, the utility's allies are spending vast amounts of money to air deceptive and misleading advertisements on television. We need to put a spotlight on FirstEnergy,” Leppla said.

For more information, read the Common Cause report on "Connecting the Dots: FirstEnergy Political $$$, Profits, and Utility."

SPEAKER HOUSEHOLDER AND MINORITY LEADER SYKES COMMIT TO INVESTING IN CLEAN WATER AND OHIO’S ENVIRONMENT WITH HB7

SPEAKER HOUSEHOLDER AND MINORITY LEADER SYKES COMMIT TO INVESTING IN CLEAN WATER AND OHIO’S ENVIRONMENT WITH HB7

House Bill 7 establishes the H2Ohio Endowment Board to oversee state funds for water quality improvement projects to protect Ohioans.
 

COLUMBUS, OH - The Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund applauded Speaker of the House Larry Householder and House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes and Joint Sponsors Representatives Ghanbari and Patterson for introducing HB 7 to establish a state trust to fund water quality improvement projects that will invest more in Ohio's environment, creating a healthier future for Ohioans. The following statement can be attributed in whole, or in part, to Pete Bucher, Water Resources Director:

“This structure will allow for Ohio to have a long term source of funding to implement water improvement projects in addition to the Governor’s proposal to apply general state funds through H2Ohio. This is a creative approach that signifies the important role our waterways play in our public health, manufacturing, recreation and tourism here in Ohio and the Great Lakes region.”

The OEC Action Fund works for pragmatic solutions to keep Ohio clean and beautiful, and our communities safe. We fight for clean air and water, clean energy, and protected public lands.