Recent news

Stanford engineers develop state-by-state plan to convert U.S. to 100% clean, renewable energy by 2050

Jan 03, 2020 5:22 PM

"The study is published in the online edition of Energy and Environmental Sciences. An interactive map summarizing the plans for each state is available at www.thesolutionsproject.org.

Jacobson and his colleagues started by taking a close look at the current energy demands of each state, and how those demands would change under business-as-usual conditions by the year 2050. To create a full picture of energy use in each state, they examined energy usage in four sectors: residential, commercial, industrial and transportation.

For each sector, they then analyzed the current amount and source of the fuel consumed – coal, oil, gas, nuclear, renewables – and calculated the fuel demands if all fuel usage were replaced with electricity. This is a significantly challenging step – it assumes that all the cars on the road become electric, and that homes and industry convert to fully electrified heating and cooling systems. But Jacobson said that their calculations were based on integrating existing technology, and the energy savings would be significant."

-- Mark Z. Jacobson and colleagues, Stanford News

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Ohio Supreme Court agrees to weigh in on House Bill 6 referendum lawsuit

Dec 26, 2019 9:55 AM

Ohio Supreme Court building

COLUMBUS — "If Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts is given additional time, another question is whether they should get less than 38 days because their initial proposed ballot summary -- a succinct explanation of the proposal provided to potential petition signers -- was rejected by Attorney General Dave Yost. Yost approved revised ballot summary language a couple weeks later.

The Supreme Court wasn’t required to accept Sargus’ request. But on Tuesday, the court – without comment – agreed to hear it. Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts will now have 40 days to file a brief arguing its case, after which the court will schedule oral arguments from each side and issue its opinion.

It’s unclear what the court’s opinion will be. Three justices – Pat DeWine, Pat Fischer, and Judith French – have recused themselves from the case, meaning three state appeals court judges will be temporarily seated in their place."

— Jeremy Pelzer, cleveland.com

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“Blocker” avoids conviction in clash with House Bill 6 petition circulator

Dec 18, 2019 4:55 PM

COLUMBUS -- "A woman accused of smacking a cellphone from the hands of a man gathering signatures on a petition in Dublin avoided a criminal-damaging conviction by paying a bond forfeiture on the misdemeanor offense.

Stinner Wimberly Shine, 51, of the East Side, on Monday agreed to pay a $150 bond forfeiture in the case, Franklin County Municipal Court records show.

'A bond forfeiture, in a nutshell, involves a defendant paying a bond in exchange for not having to enter a guilty plea to the charge,' Lindsay Weisenauer, a spokeswoman for city of Dublin, wrote in an email.

The deal was offered to her by Dublin Prosecutor Marty Nobile, she said, because the victim, Harold Chung, of Las Vegas, wasn’t available for Monday’s hearing."

-- John Futty, The Columbus Dispatch

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The media was on our side

Dec 17, 2019 10:22 AM

House Bill 6 was supposed to be easy to pass. In the end it took our opposition an extra month and a huge effort to win by just one vote. The media was on our side. The public was on our side. The strength of our members and power of grassroots organizing almost defeated the Goliath of greed and corruption.

It is simply astonishing to see the sheer number of articles, commentary and editorials published against House Bill 6. Not only while the bill was being debated in the legislature, but even after Governor Mike DeWine signed HB6 into law, every major newspaper continued to report on how HB6 is a giant leap backward for Ohio:


FirstEnergy corrupts democracy with gifts

Dec 16, 2019 11:55 AM

FirstEnergy spent millions on advertisements, lobbying and charitable giving to ensure the passage of House Bill 6, corrupting every branch of state government.

Supreme Court

The fate of FirstEnergy's bailout of its struggling nuclear and coal plants may rest in the hands of the Ohio Supreme Court.

But six of the seven justices sitting on the court have received campaign cash from the utility at some point in their judicial careers.

FirstEnergy’s PAC contributed more than $78,000 to state Supreme Court candidates since 2010.

source: Toledo Blade

Executive Branch

FirstEnergy gave nearly $23,000 to the campaign and inaugural celebration of Governor Mike DeWine. FirstEnergy also was among DeWine’s top campaign contributors in each of his last three elections (for governor and attorney general).

.

Both Ohio’s Secretary of State Frank LaRose and Ohio’s Attorney General Dave Yost received money from FirstEnergy and other utility companies that supported HB 6. FirstEnergy ranked amongst LaRose’s top campaign donors with contributions totalling $25,408. It’s unsurprising, then, that these officials responsible for approving the HB 6 referendum effort would take their time in doing so.

Ohio General Assembly

FirstEnergy poured more than $400,000 into state legislative campaigns during the 2017-18 election cycle that helped create the General Assembly that passed HB6.

source: Toledo Blade

Charitable giving 

on Tuesday, the Energy and Policy Institute released a report, Strings Attached, that notes numerous cases in which recipients of gifts from utilities or their parent corporations provided legislative testimony or regulatory comments favorable to companies’ interests.

FirstEnergy uses philanthropy specifically to manipulate politics, policies and regulation.


Strings Attached: How utilities use charitable giving to influence politics and increase investor profits

Dec 12, 2019 4:11 PM

"Other non-profit organizations have also received funding from FirstEnergy and backed proposals to bail out the utility’s coal and nuclear power plants.

In 2019, Laura Jones, the executive director of Leadership Ashtabula, provided testimony in support of the bill that bailed out the Davis-Besse and Perry nuclear power plants in Ohio, which are now operated by the bankrupt FirstEnergy Solutions. 

Leadership Ashtabula also submitted comments to FERC supporting Perry’s 2017 bailout proposal. The group received $4,000 from the FirstEnergy Foundation in 2017. 

Beth Hannam, executive director of the Sandusky County Economic Development Corporation (SCEDC), testified in support of the 2019 bailout bill. The SCEDC received $3,000 from FirstEnergy Foundation in 2017.

A metadata analysis found the name of an outside lobbyist for FirstEnergy Solutions at the Dewey Square Group listed as the “author” of Hannam’s testimony. 

Hans Rosebrook, for FirstEnergy Corp., serves on the SCEDC’s board of directors and capital campaign and strategic plan committee.  
Applicants for grants from the FirstEnergy Foundations are encouraged to contact the local external affairs manager for FirstEnergy for their community. The company’s external affairs managers serve in leadership roles in some of the nonprofits the foundation funds."

-- The Energy and Policy Institute

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Nuke plant owner gave to justices

Dec 09, 2019 10:23 AM

COLUMBUS — "The sole member of the current bench who has not received money from FirstEnergy PAC is Democratic Justice Michael Donnelly, elected in 2018.

Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor received $6,000 from the PAC in 2010; Justice Fischer received $13,400 in 2016; Justice Judith French, $6,700 in 2014; and Justice Sharon Kennedy, a total of $13,000 in 2012 and 2014. Justice Patrick DeWine received $2,700 for a prior lower court campaign in 2012.

All are Republicans.

The Supreme Court’s rules of practice allow for a party in a case to request that a particular justice recuse himself or herself from the case, but it is the justice’s decision whether to do so. Campaign contributions are not mentioned as potential disqualifier.

'Justices have no obligation to state a reason for a recusal, but are free to do so, since it is solely their decision whether to recuse or state a reason,' said Supreme Court spokesman Edward Miller."

— Jim Provance, The Toledo Blade

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FirstEnergy Solutions plans to change name to Energy Harbor

Nov 26, 2019 11:22 AM

The Perry nuclear power plant in Lake County

The Perry nuclear plant in Lake County, seen here, and the Davis Besse plant near Toledo are both owned by FirstEnergy Solutions, which plans to soon rename itself Energy Harbor.

COLUMBUS — "FirstEnergy Solutions, the Akron-based coal and nuclear power generating company, announced Monday it will change its name to Energy Harbor once its bankruptcy restructuring is finalized.

The company, founded in 1997 as a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp., runs three nuclear power plants in Ohio and Pennsylvania, as well as coal plants in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The company has been in the news frequently this year, both because of its efforts to emerge from bankruptcy and because of the passage of House Bill 6, under which it will get more than $1 billion from Ohio ratepayers to bail out its Davis-Besse and Perry nuclear plants in Northern Ohio.

A FirstEnergy Solutions spokeswoman didn’t immediately reply when asked Monday why the company was changing its name.

In a release, FirstEnergy Solutions CEO John Judge said the name Energy Harbor 'reflects a focus on providing our customers and local communities with safe and resilient energy in addition to industry leading service to manage their energy needs.'”

— Jeremy Pelzer, cleveland.com

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Congrats Brad!

Nov 22, 2019 4:09 PM

Brad Holmes

In early June, we welcomed Brad Holmes as our new Phone Canvass Director at our Cleveland office. Brad is a 2018 graduate of Bowling Green State University and first joined our staff as a field canvasser in May 2018, but quickly moved to become a leading phone organizer.  He is thrilled to take on this leadership role to empower others in the professional realms of activism, politics, and environmental advocacy. He has been involved in community rights and sustainability activism through several student groups, which then tied into his undergraduate education in Environmental Policy, Ethics, and Sociology. He replaces long-time director Stephen Gabor, who was promoted to Membership Director. In only 6 months in his new position, Brad has doubled the size of Ohio Citizen Action's phone canvass staff, and trained them so well that our campaign and fundraising goals have been consistently met, often weeks ahead of schedule.


AEP Ohio solar project suffers setback

Nov 22, 2019 3:29 PM

COLUMBUS -- "The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) voted Thursday to deny AEP Ohio’s application for a rate hike for customers to finance the 400-megawatt project in Highland County.

A typical AEP Ohio residential consumer who uses 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity a month would have paid 28 cents per month initially to finance the project, but AEP expected that fee to decrease over time — a forecast disputed by the project’s opponents.

Ohio law requires that the commission determine whether a proposed project to generate electricity is needed."

-- Mark Williams, The Columbus Dispatch

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