Despite high-profile calls to repeal the scandal-tainted Ohio Clean Air Program Act (H.B. 6) and recent legislation crafted toward that end in both the Ohio House and Senate (66 of 99 House members have reportedly co-sponsored Democratic or Republican bills to repeal H.B. 6), the policy behind the measure continues to garner support.
As reported here on August 26, the six commissioners from Ohio’s Lake and Ottawa counties—home to Davis-Besse and Perry, the two nuclear plants saved from early closure by H.B. 6—have made clear their opposition to an immediate repeal of the act.
In addition, last week additional voices came to the defense of H.B. 6 policy, including:
Lawmakers: On September 2, Sens. Theresa Gavarone (R., 2nd District) and John Eklund (R., 18th District) issued a joint statement, declaring H.B. 6 to be good public policy. (Davis-Besse resides in Gavarone’s district, and Perry in Eklund’s.) “The two plants account for thousands of jobs, millions in funding for schools, emergency services, and libraries, as well as 90 percent of the carbon-free energy produced in our state,” the senators said. “The way of life for thousands of families would be decimated should any law be enacted that would repeal H.B. 6 without an adequate replacement.
The senators noted that they are strong supporters of clean energy options as part of a balanced energy policy for Ohio and that the nuclear plants “generate 15 percent of Ohio’s electricity. Wind and solar represent a fraction of Ohio’s power grid (less than 2 percent), and it would be impossible at this time or in the near future for those technologies to make up the 15 percent gap in energy use if the nuclear plants are decommissioned. Repealing H.B. 6 without an immediate replacement would result in a significantly less diverse energy portfolio.”
Industry: Also on September 2, Maria Korsnick, president and chief executive officer of the Nuclear Energy Institute, penned a guest column for cleveland.com, stating, “As we let the courts resolve the legal situation, we need to reconsider the policies, but we also need to be careful to think separately about bad tactics and good goals. We must not reverse our course to a carbon-free energy future. We must bear in mind that it’s going to be very hard to reach zero emissions by mid-century, as the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has deemed necessary.”
Korsnick added, “This is especially true since we are likely to have to more than double electric production and replace the 60 percent of the existing system that is fossil-powered. We’ll need vast amounts of new solar and wind; we’ll need storage technologies like batteries to balance the grid over short periods; and we’ll need 24/7 clean technologies like nuclear to keep the system affordable and reliable over the longer term.”
Korsnick stressed that state policies that recognize the value of carbon-free energy “are essential to launching us on the hard work of the next 30 years toward saving the climate and successfully completing an affordable and sustainable transition.”