Thomas Condemns Passage of House Bill 6
July 17, 2019
Today, the Ohio Senate voted to pass energy legislation, House Bill 6.
“The threats facing Ohioans because of climate change will only get worse under HB 6,” said state Sen. Cecil Thomas (D-Avondale), who voted against the bill. “HB 6 means rolling back our renewable energy standards, higher electricity bills for consumers and worse health for Ohioans. It is not what was advertised and sends a message that Ohio does not support clean energy. And, what is very troubling, HB 6 requires my constituents to now shoulder the burden of utility costs even though they are not First Energy Solutions customers.”
A key component of HB 6 is the subsidy of nuclear power and aging coal-fired plants. FirstEnergy Solutions stands to benefit the most, with consumers contributing $150 million per year to keep the company’s two nuclear plants running in northern Ohio. It will also, effectively, eliminate Ohio’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standards.
“This bill is contrary to sensible renewable energy principles. It halts the progress Ohio was making towards a cleaner environment,” said Thomas. “HB 6 takes care of a few private sector interests while costing Ohio families and small businesses. HB 6 will hike up rates for consumers because the bill eliminates money-saving efficiency rebate programs. These programs have saved Ohioans over $5 billion on their bills since 2009, and HB 6 completely eliminates those money-saving opportunities moving forward.”
HB 6 also stands to cut job growth and investment. Ohio has over 112,000 jobs in the renewable energy sector with over 5,000 jobs added in 2018. Solar installation is the second-fastest job sector in the US, but HB 6 will curtail the industry. The renewable energy industry is the fastest growing industry in America.
“HB 6 also negatively impacts the health of current and future Ohioans,” said Thomas. “This is an issue that hits me very hard in my heart. The intense and prolonged heat waves we are experiencing damages air quality which impacts children and adults with asthma. I lost my daughter, and my grandchildren lost their mother, to an asthma attack. We cannot turn our backs on the human toll that climate change has on all of us and our families.”
Thomas also commented on the many phone calls that Senate offices received, many of which were transferred to them by private calls centers in Virginia.
“HB 6 proponents tried to sell this as a ‘clean air’ bill and their ads were misleading,” said Thomas. “I take great exception to the tactics which were used by the proponents. These telemarketers told the constituents to demand a ‘yes’ vote on HB 6. When we explained what the bill actually does, an overwhelming majority of folks said they were never told about the negative impact on renewable energy. HB 6 is bad for all of us, except First Energy Solutions and the coal plants.”