Stop using Lake Erie as a toilet


To the Editor:
In 2019, Ohio legislators passed House Bill 6 which guaranteed billions in ratepayer bailouts for
FirstEnergy. HB 6 was a scandalous energy policy because it not only focused billions on a rescue of two
nuclear power plants and two coal plants (one in Indiana), it also gutted Ohio’s clean energy laws.
Despite huge sums of money supporting this bill, it was overwhelmingly opposed by ratepayers, business
groups and environmental groups.
HB 6 not only financially benefited a dirty energy bailout, it also benefited politicians who voted for
it. This scheme ended up with the FBI arresting the speaker of the House.
It was passed in July 2019 and remains law because many Ohio legislators took FirstEnergy donations but
few returned them, even after FBI raids.
Bowling Green leaders saw this bill as the state changing the rules after encouraging them to invest in
green energy. After installing wind turbines and a large solar field, Bowling Green was negatively
impacted by HB 6 for their work toward renewable energy. It was reported that this bill would negatively
impact Ohio’s “desirability as a destination for companies that want an advanced energy economy.”
Sadly, many of these same legislators are now backing a bill that would give voters a say on stopping
wind and solar projects. Instead of trying to suppress more green energy projects, I urge our
legislators to give residents the power to stop the huge animal factories that are using Lake Erie as a
free toilet.
In late January, the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments issued a new policy document
described as a “recipe book for protecting Lake Erie” which “calls for a temporary moratorium on new
permits for livestock facilities known as concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs.”
CAFOs house tens of thousands of animals or millions of poultry in industrial environments that generate
millions of gallons or megatons of animal waste. Studies show this untreated waste is not only a threat
to Lake Erie, but also to public health.
Green energy is the future whereas CAFOs are a failed model of industrial agriculture. Instead of
repressing clean energy, I urge our legislators to help residents stop the siting of more polluting
factory farms – a win-win solution for the environment and public health.
Vickie Askins

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