Southern Ohio Will Benefit From House Bill 6

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The following is a Op-Ed submitted to The Informer and does not necessarily reflect the view of The Informer, the staff of the informer, or the ownership of The Informer or its parent company, The Southen Ohio Publishing, Inc. The view text of Ohio House Bill 6 is available at this link.

Stephen Caraway | OP-ED Guest Colmnist |

You are hearing a lot of noise about Ohio House Bill 6. While you may not know the details, this bill will have profound effects on Ohio’s electric grid and impact the way Ohioans use electricity for years to come.

Out of state oil and natural gas interests, namely the American Petroleum Institute, have started flooding Ohio’s airwaves with advertisements and filling mailboxes with junk trying to scare Ohioans into opposing a realistic and beneficial piece of legislation. It’s important that Ohioans know the facts.

More than half of the energy generated in our state comes from coal. Another almost 34% comes from natural gas. Nuclear power makes up about 15% and the rest is generated by renewable energy sources.

Many people would like to see the state run on zero-emission energy. That desire explains why people buy into lofty renewable sources such as wind and solar, but the amount of energy those sources provide makes up roughly 10% of the state’s clean energy. The other 90% comes entirely from nuclear sources.

So, what does HB 6 actually do?

House Bill 6 eliminates a pair of expensive “green energy” mandates that, according to the Public Utilities Commission, cost Ohioans over $300 million per year. A flat rate would replaces those mandates, the funding of which goes directly to helping the forms of energy that we would be silly to let die: coal and nuclear.

Ultimately, the bill saves you, the customer, money. The average residential ratepayer who receives their power from a utility company will save an estimated $3.68 per month. If you are a member of a rural cooperative, this bill will have no financial impact on your future electric bill whatsoever.

This bill does something that we wish could have been done for the coal industry years ago: It protects domestic energy jobs. HB 6 will save the two Ohio nuclear power plants and finally prove once and for all that Ohioans value electric generation that comes from Ohio and we are dedicated to ending our dependency on foreign oil.

As a former Adams County Commissioner, I have seen firsthand the devastation in our community caused by the closing of two coal-fired power plants. Between the loss of jobs and the devasting hole in our local budgets, has the shift from coal to natural gas proven to be worth that sacrifice? I know many who would say not.

While the two Ohio nuclear plants are far away from our communities here along the Ohio River, we should appreciate them and view them as an important part of our local economy. More than 4,000 jobs are tied to those plants and they are responsible for more than $520 million for the state’s GDP. Supporting these power plants would benefit the state as a whole by ways of increased productivity and expanded domestic security.

Those out of state oil and natural gas interests have set their sights on nuclear after attacking and pushing coal to the brink. This is not about energy options, it is about market share for oil and natural gas producers. If we allow Ohio’s nuclear plants to shudder, we will be headed for a natural gas monopoly in Ohio.

The highly payed political professionals and lobbyists employed by the American Petroleum Institute want us to believe this is about bailing out coal and nuclear industry, but let me be clear – it is not. This bill is about securing these energy sources for years to come, maintaining America’s safety and ensuring Ohioans’ jobs. I encourage Senator Peterson to join with the bi-partisan coalition in the Ohio House and pass HB 6.

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