Details from Federal Outlook
Details from State Outlook
The Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund (OECAF) is actively engaged with the Ohio General Assembly and Kasich administration on policies that promote clean energy, and protect Ohio’s water quality and public lands. Here are some pieces of legislation we are working on:
HB 114 (Blessing) – Renewable Energy Standards This piece of legislation would make Ohio’s renewable energy standards and energy efficiency standards completely voluntary. The OECAF opposes this legislation in its current form. By converting Ohio’s renewable portfolio and energy efficiency standards to voluntary goals, creating special exemptions for large energy users, and watering down Ohio’s cost-saving energy efficiency standard, House Bill 114 would entrench Ohio in energy sources of the past, increase air pollution, inflate Ohioans’ energy bills and squash technological innovation in the Buckeye State.
House Bill 239 (Smith/Carfagna) / Senate Bill 155 (Terhar/Peterson) – OVEC Bail Outs These companion pieces of legislation propose a multi-million-dollar subsidy for electric utilities, paid for by customers of AEP-Ohio, FirstEnergy, Duke, and Dayton Power & Light; all of which are shareholders of the Ohio Valley Electric Corporation (OVEC). The cost of the subsidy is approximately $256 million per year for approximately the next 23 years in order for the OVEC owners to continue operating two coal-fired power plants that will be 85 years old by the time the subsidy expires. The plants are Kyger Creek in Cheshire, OH and Clifty Creek in Madison, IN. Together, these plants produce massive amounts of air pollution that harm Ohioans’ health. The Kyger Creek plant alone is responsible for 305 asthma attacks and 29 heart attacks per year. These plants should not be propped up by Ohio consumers, and instead should be subject to the competitive market just as every other power plant operating in the region. The OECAF strongly opposes these pieces of legislation.
House Bill 225 (Thompson) – Orphan Well Program This piece of legislation seeks to streamline the Ohio Orphan Well Program and ensure robust funding. Orphaned wells are improperly abandoned oil or gas wells that are no longer in production and are often several decades old. They pose a hazard to the environment and to human health and safety. Until they are located and properly plugged, they are pathways to pollution. Risks include fire, overflow of oil or brine into ecologically sensitive areas like streams, and groundwater contamination. The bill requires Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) to better protect Ohioans by locating, prioritizing, and plugging orphaned and abandoned oil and gas wells in a timely manner. While we believe the funding levels in the bill may not be feasible for the industry to use, we support this legislation.
House Bill 393 (Devitis/O’Brien) / Senate Bill 165 (Dolan/Skindell) – Brine Sales These companion bills would remove treated oil & gas waste bring from traditional, vertical wells from Ohio’s oil and gas waste laws and treat it as a commodity that could be sold commercially. The OECAF testified as an interested party to the bills because of the sponsors’ willingness to strengthen testing requirements for the material; however, we remain very concerned with the amount of heavy metals and radium that could still exist in the brine even after treatment.
Senate Bill 238 (Dolan) – Wind Farm Setbacks This bill would restore Ohio’s wind setback laws to a more reasonable distance than what is in current law. The Ohio General Assembly changed the setback law in a budget bill with no testimony or public input, and increased the setbacks enough that it has essentially halted commercial wind development in the state. The OECAF is supportive of this bill.
Senate Joint Resolution 5 (Huffman) – Congressional Redistricting The OEC and OECAF understands the importance of having a well functioning representative democracy. Bipartisan solutions are more likely when voters select their elected officials and not the other way around, and keeping communities together gives voters leverage to demand action on the pollution going into the neighborhood creek or attention to the quality of their air. That’s why the OEC was involved in negotiation a legislative end to partisan gerrymandering of Ohio’s congressional districts. We support SJR 5 and the upcoming ballot initiative on May 8 that will place this bipartisan map drawing process in Ohio’s constitution.