People with pink signs standing outside a government building

Ohio legislature considers bills to prop up nuclear, tamp down renewables

FirstEnergy has gone to the Ohio legislature for bailouts for their two nuclear reactors (power plants) on Lake Erie: Davis-Besse east of Toledo and Perry east of Cleveland. SB 128 was introduced in the Ohio Senate on April 5, 2017. This bill would give Zero Emissions Nuclear Credits (ZENS) to these 2 reactors.  The subsidy would raise Ohio electric ratepayers’ bills by about 5 percent, amounting to around $300 million/year.

Ohio has excess electric capacity:  Ohio does not need electricity from Davis-Besse and Perry.  About 3000 megawatts of new gas plants are in the works in Ohio, more than compensating for the 2000 or so

Renewables are now cheaper and less polluting, with no radioactivity and much less carbon. There are now more jobs in solar and wind than in nuclear or coal.  Solar deployment numbers for 2016 show a 95 percent growth.

Davis-Besse and Perry pose catastrophic risks.  All old reactors have deteriorating, brittle steel and concrete. Davis-Besse has a cracked shield building. Perry sits on an earthquake fault.  It was named by Reuters as the world’s most dangerous nuclear plant in terms of worker safety. 

FirstEnergy led the fight against wind and solar in Ohio.  FirstEnergy led the charge for Ohio Senate Bill 310 which froze Ohio’s renewable energy standards in 2014. They fought to renew freeze with HB 554 in 2016, but Gov. Kasich vetoed the bill.

HB 114 would make Ohio’s Renewable Energy Standards completely voluntary. The bill changes the requirements for renewable energy generation to “goals” and removes all enforcement measures.

Benefits of Ohio’s Renewable Energy and Efficiency Standards:

Investment in energy efficiency results in big savings for customers. For every dollar spent on energy efficiency programs in Ohio, residents and businesses gained almost double that at $1.90 in benefits. (from MEEA’s testimony on HB554/SB320).

While the Clean Energy Standards were in place, investments in Ohio’s clean energy sector generated over $160 million in annual GDP growth and created thousands of new jobs.

Nearly 275,000 Ohio children suffer from asthma, and increased emissions have been shown to increase the frequency and severity of asthma attacks. There is a corresponding decrease in air pollution and harmful emissions when we invest in renewable energy sources and energy efficiency.


HB 114 dismantles support for new, real zero-emissions wind and solar technology that is increasingly cheaper, doesn’t need to be guarded and more than pays for itself – while SB 128 is a subsidy to an existing dirty, dangerous, aging nuclear source that gouges ratepayers for the tab.

TELL YOUR OHIO SENATOR AND REPRESENTATIVE THAT YOU OPPOSE THESE BILLS!Their names and contact information can be found by filling in your 9-digit zipcode at  ~ Pat Marida, chair, Ohio Sierra Club Nuclear Free Committee.

Planned Parenthood Updates

The Ohio House released their version of the state budget in April. The substitute bill makes changes to the initial budget version written by the governor's office. Ultimately, the state operating budget legislation must be passed and signed into law by Gov. John Kasich by June 30.

In its latest version, funding was removed for the Parenting and Pregnancy Program, which funds crisis pregnancy centers. (This is good news!)

Kasich approved taking these funds from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) fund in a previous budget. What should be help for mothers to feed, clothe, and care for children is now being used by fake clinics to lie to women about abortion options. Our precious and limited TANF block grant funds should not go to organizations that lie to and coerce the people who come to them for help.

In a House Finance Committee hearing in April, Rep. Nickie Antonio and Rep. Emilia Sykes each questioned crisis pregnancy center representatives who were attempting to present reasons why their fake clinics should receive tax dollars.

Thanks go to our volunteers who were able to collect more than 700-plus petition signatures in less than two weeks demanding that Senator Rob Portman protect the 80,000 Ohioans that rely on Planned Parenthood services every year. On Thursday, April 20, we had 12 volunteers join us for the petition delivery to Portman's staffers. Although Portman was unavailable, we were able to have two groups hold meetings with his staff to talk about the GOP led attacks on reproductive health care and abortion access in our home state.

At the National Coalition of Jewish Women's Advocacy Boot Camp, Planned Parenthood had the pleasure of hosting a Teen Activism Training Session where teen's discussed the type of sexual education their schools offered, what they felt it lacked, and how they could become better advocates for reproductive freedom in school and in their communities.

REMINDER: May 3rd is the FOCO (Freedom of Choice Coalition) annual Advocacy Day. This year, attendees will gather at the Statehouse to demand Governor Kasich and the legislature end their agenda to deny Ohioans reproductive rights, health and justice. Kasich has passed multiple abortion bans, defunded family planning, and is using his Department of Health to harass abortion providers. We'll learn more about the current threats to reproductive health care and a forthcoming proactive policy agenda. Armed with information and training, participants will engage their legislators to show that their constituents oppose abortion bans and attacks on funding.

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