To the Editor:
Most Ohioans are aware of corruption allegations surrounding the passage of House Bill 6. Wood County’s legislative contingent, Rep. Haraz Ghanbari and Sen. Theresa Gavarone, were enthusiastic supporters of the scheme to take money from Ohioans and businesses and give it to First Energy Solutions, now Energy Harbor.
Since the scandal broke, Gavarone has defended her support by claiming that, despite corruption, it was “good policy.” This is a lie.
When it passed, HB6 made headlines as one of the world’s most regressive energy policies. Promoting coal and nuclear power with direct charges on everyone’s electric bill, even as the planet is dying from greenhouse gas emissions and as nuclear wastes reach crisis levels, is the worst possible policy. HB6 eliminated funding for wind and solar energy in Ohio, even as the rest of the world embraces clean energy.
This is despite the fact that First Solar, the largest solar manufacturer in the country, employs thousands in our area. HB6 also eliminated an energy efficiency program that saved Ohio businesses billions while costing taxpayers nothing.
Wood County Greens testified before Ghanbari during hearings in the House Energy Generating Subcommittee, and met with Gavarone before the passage of HB6. Both were told of the bill’s many failings. Both ignored those warnings. They also ignored the pleas of a host of citizens, organizations and businesses that were almost universally opposed to HB6. Polls showed the vast majority of Ohioans opposed it. The testimony was overwhelmingly in opposition.
They also ignored one vitally important criticism that demonstrates the depth of corruption in this process. Since HB6 gives Energy Harbor over a billion dollars with no restrictions and no accountability, it leaves the company free to do whatever it wants with the money, including simply pocket it. That’s what happened a few weeks ago when Energy Harbor paid its shareholders $800 million in stock buybacks.
This bill was bad policy from its inception to its completion. Both Ghanbari and Gavarone should be ashamed of their parts.
Only a full repeal, which does not allow Energy Harbor to keep any of the benefits of this corrupt process, is acceptable. The Wood County Green Party also calls on Ghanbari and Gavarone to reject HB104, another multi-billion dollar giveaway to the nuclear industry that is in the legislature right now.
Helen K. Dukes, Joseph R. DeMare
co-chairs Wood County Green Party