Ohio Environmental Council, August 3, 2015
The impacts of global warming are happening right now in Ohio’s back yard and are not something that will be felt decades from now in countries far away. Things like an increase in: ticks in southeast Ohio, the frequency and intensity of toxic algae in Lake Erie, and extreme weather are just a few of the ways Ohio is already feeling the effect of global warming.
The most recent, comprehensive report on Ohio’s clean energy sector shows Ohio has over 89,000 clean energy jobs.Ohio has had great success building a clean energy economy and the state can continue to build on those efforts with the Clean Power Plan. By using renewable energy and energy efficiency as the main strategies to reach the Clean Power Plan goals, Ohio can continue its transformation to a clean energy economy all while creating more jobs for the Ohio worker.
One of the cheapest ways to reduce carbon pollution in Ohio is through energy efficiency, which can help homes, businesses and factories waste less energy. Over the past several years, electric utility investments in energy efficiency programs have saved Ohioans over $1 billion on their electric bills. If the state chooses to make energy efficiency a part of our plan to achieve the carbon reduction goals Ohioans could save even more.
Power plants in Ohio have been required to regulate dangerous pollutants like mercury, lead, sulfur dioxide, ozone, and carbon monoxide for decades. But until the Clean Power Plan came along, those same power plants could dump as much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as they wanted. The Clean Power Plan will put an end to that loophole and require power plants to finally take steps to reduce their carbon pollution.
According to the American Lung Association, Ohio cities have some of the worst air quality in the country.For example, Cleveland and Cincinnati have some of the worst year round particular pollution in the nation and almost all major Ohio cities struggle with ozone pollution. But recent reports indicate that if Ohio reduces carbon pollution from Ohio power plants, the state will also enjoy some of the greatest reductions in air pollutants that contribute to asthma, heart attacks and other health problems.
The Clean Power Plan requires Ohio to reduce carbon pollution from power plants by 28%, by far one of the largest reductions in carbon pollution Ohio has ever made. Because Ohio’s overall carbon pollution output is one of the biggest in the word, if Ohio reaches the goals the Clean Power Plan sets, then the US will be able to reach its overall greenhouse gas reduction goal. It stands to reason that if the US is making strong commitment to curb the causes of climate change, the rest of the world will likely follow.
Ohio is famously one of the “bell weather” states in presidential election years because of its moderate electorate. If there is one thing Ohioans can agree on across political divides, it’s that we should be deploying more clean energy resources and being good stewards of the planet. In fact, over 50,000 Ohioans have voiced their support for the Clean Power Plan to the US EPA and over 84% of Ohioans want the state to submit a state plan that increases the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency. These numbers unquestionably show that other than |The Ohio State University football team, the one thing that brings Ohioans together is support for a clean energy future.
Ohio only gets a small percentage of its electricity from renewable resources. Instead, Ohio’s electric system is over-reliant on old, expensive to operate, and dirty resources like coal. The Clean Power Plan encourages states to transition away from heavily-polluting resources and deploy cleaner resources. And one of the great things about renewable energy is that once the equipment is installed there are low maintenance costs, and absolutely no fuel costs! Taking our time to increase the amount of our energy that comes from renewable resources will help us avoid wildly fluctuating energy prices.
The final Clean Power Plan rule requires each state to reduce their carbon pollution by a certain amount, but the final rule gives states the flexibility to determine the best, most cost-effective options to reach its carbon pollution reduction target. If Ohio doesn’t submit a state plan, the US EPA will intervene and implement one for Ohio. Ohio can control its energy future by developing a state plan that takes advantage of the state’s clean energy and energy efficiency resources and maximizes the economic, environmental and health benefits of complying with the Clean Power Plan.