4 Reasons Why Gov. Kasich Must Veto Ohio's Energy Bill
By Samantha Williams
Now that Ohio's Senate and House have sent an ideologically-driven bill, HB 554, to Gov. John Kasich's desk that would further delay implementation of the state's popular clean energy standards (and weaken them, too), the governor has until Dec. 28 to do the smart thing for his state's economy and the wellbeing of Ohioans: Veto it.
Will Gov. #Kasich Save #Ohio's #CleanEnergy Economy? https://t.co/qnanXt5x2X @cleantechfacts @OhioEnviro @EnvDefenseFund @mzjacobson @e2org— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1481391522.0
That's what Ohio citizens (including conservatives) and the businesses that employ them overwhelmingly want, including national players like Nestle, Campbell's Soup, the Gap and the world's largest manufacturer of energy efficient appliances, Whirlpool.
There are many good reasons why businesses are weighing in. The clean energy standards—which were frozen two years ago in another ill-advised legislative attempt to delay progress, and will resume on Jan. 1 if Gov. Kasich vetoes this bill—mean more good jobs for residents. They also represent a draw for the growing number of employers who want to locate their companies in states where they can readily achieve their own corporate sustainability goals.
The standards have also succeeded (and will continue if they're allowed to reinstate) in lowering energy bills for residents and businesses, factories, and farms. They ensure Ohio's kids cleaner air to breathe. They improve public health. And, of course, they're a vital hedge against dangerous climate change.
Over the last year, Gov. Kasich has promised, admirably, "I'll veto the bill," calling any further delays in implementing the clean energy standard "unacceptable." Now, he has the opportunity to show Ohioans—and Americans as a whole—just what leadership looks like, demonstrating not just backbone but a smart head on his shoulders. After all, he'll signal to the growing number of businesses that want clean energy that they can find it in Ohio, not just in Michigan and Illinois, two neighboring states led by Republican governors that have recently upped the ante on their own clean energy standards.
Wake Up #Ohio Lawmakers and Unfreeze Your #RenewableEnergy Standards https://t.co/5eI5OhTIYR @NRDC @OhioEnviro @NextGenClimate @mzjacobson— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1477518759.0
To help you understand just how successful the clean energy standards have been in Ohio, and the potential if the freeze is thawed, let's run the numbers:
100,000 clean energy jobs: That's how many Ohio has now. Buckeyes, for instance, already lead the nation in wind power component manufacturing, with more than 60 factories across the state. But since the standards were put on hold two years ago, they've sold far fewer products within Ohio. The freeze (and other wind-power restrictions the legislature imposed) have put an end to most Ohio-based projects. Then there's First Solar, which employs 1,200 in the Toledo area. The company told legislators in testimony last month that if HB 554 becomes law, "it would take a hard look at staying in Ohio." Should Gov. Kasich veto HB 554, and the standard becomes reinstated, the opposite is possible. Not only might First Solar stay put, but the state will have the opportunity to retain, and even grow, the clean energy jobs that already exist in fields as wide-ranging as insulation manufacturing, solar component parts development, and light bulb design.
112 businesses: Businesses want certainty, so they know how to plan for their future. HB 554, which will delay the standard for two more years and then open it up again for reinstatement, offers the opposite. Take it from Worthington's Republican Representative Mike Duffy in his comments during debate on the bill. "More uncertainty. More legislation. Not a lot to like," he's said.
Not only that: In 2016, 17 U.S. companies with combined revenues of more than $826 billion, including Apple, General Motors, and Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble, pledged to get all of their electricity from renewable sources. More are lining up to join them, and they want to site their facilities near clean energy projects. They want the energy-bill savings that wind, solar power and energy efficiency provide, and the future hedge against the volatility of natural gas prices. That's why 112 Ohio businesses opposed the bill and support the veto, dozens of which came out to testify in legislative committees urging a thaw to the clean energy freeze.
14 Republican lawmakers: A growing contingent of Republicans, both inside and outside of the legislature, support clean energy for Ohio.
In total, 14 GOP legislators opposed the bill—nine in the House of Representatives (Arndt, Boose, Burkley, Dean, Duffey, Grossman, Hall, Reineke, Thompson) and five in the Senate (Hite, Gardner, Beagle, Manning, and LaRose.) Senator Hite even went so far as to call wind turbines "beautiful." Many of these legislators have clean energy projects and employers in their districts. And, together, they're enough to stop a veto override.
140 premature deaths: The public health benefits of the clean energy standards are enormous. In 2017 alone, the standards can prevent 140 premature deaths, 230 heart attacks, 2,230 asthma attacks and 16,900 lost days of work and school. By 2029, if Gov. Kasich vetoes HB 554, the clean energy standards stand to prevent 2,820 premature deaths among neighbors, families and friends in Ohio.
So we call on the governor to be, literally, a lifesaver, a job creator, an energy-bill-savings-promoter and a greenhouse gas pollution fighter.
As is especially important now, with President-elect Trump and his appointees promising to gut the country's clean energy policies and programs, Gov. Kasich can be a smart and important leader when we need one most.
Veto the bill, governor!
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By Kristen Fischer
It's going to be back-to-school time soon, but will children go into the classrooms?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) thinks so, but only as long as safety measures are in place.
Keeping Schools Safe<p>What will safer schools look like?</p><p>In a <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2766822" target="_blank">JAMA article</a> published last month, <a href="https://www.jhsph.edu/faculty/directory/profile/1781/joshua-m-sharfstein" target="_blank">Dr. Joshua Sharfstein</a>, a pediatrician and professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, outlined suggestions — many of which are similar to AAP's.</p><p>Remote learning protocols must stay in place, especially as some schools stagger home and in-building learning. If another shutdown needs to occur, children will rely on distance learning completely, so it must be easy to switch to, he said.</p><p>He suggested giving parents a daily checklist to document their child's health. Kids should be screened quickly on arrival and be given hygiene supplies. Maintenance staff should use appropriate PPE and have regular cleaning schedules. A notification system should be in place if a case is identified, Sharfstein recommended.</p><p><a href="https://www.albany.edu/rockefeller/faculty/erika-martin" target="_blank">Erika Martin</a>, PhD, an associate professor of public administration and policy at University at Albany, said nutrition assistance and health services should be included. She called for tutoring programs with virtual options as well as technology access.</p>
Supporting Staff<p>Teachers and staff will be affected by safeguarding measures, noted <a href="https://directory.sph.umn.edu/bio/sph-a-z/rachel-widome" target="_blank">Rachel Widome</a>, PhD, an associate professor of epidemiology and community health at University of Minnesota.</p><p>"In order for all of the in-school precautions to work well, we'll be asking a lot of teachers and staff," Widome told Healthline. In addition to their usual workload, they'll now be asked to monitor mask-wearing, ensure children are keeping distance, and be aware of any symptoms.</p><p>Along with Sharfstein, Widome called for an increase in financial support. More employees will likely be required so teachers and staff members can keep up with the added demands.</p>
Should Kids Go Back?<p>While these guidelines may help get some schools to reopen, many people don't think children should go back to school over fears they could contract the disease and spread it to other vulnerable family members like grandparents, infant siblings, or their parents.</p><p>In a <a href="https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2020/07/08/peds.2020-004879" target="_blank">Pediatrics</a> commentary, <a href="https://www.md.com/doctor/william-raszka-md" target="_blank">Dr. William V. Raszka, Jr.</a>, an infectious disease specialist at The University of Vermont Medical Center, argued that schools should open because school-aged children are far less important drivers of COVID-19 than adults.</p><p>But he says the risk and benefit is not equal among all students ages 5 to 18.</p><p>"Elementary schools are arguably higher priority for face-to-face schooling, since younger children are at lower risk for infection and transmission, and since parental supervision of younger children's distance learning may be particularly challenging," added Sorensen, who penned a <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/channels/health-forum/fullarticle/2767411" target="_blank">June article in JAMA</a> with reopening tips. "That means middle and high schools are more likely to emphasize distance learning."</p><p>Specific student populations, such as special education students and students with disabilities, would also benefit greatly from more time spent in face-to-face environments, Sorensen said.</p>
What Parents Can Do<p>Parents should ask for and receive frequent updates from schools about plans for the fall. They should also be informed about plans if and when COVID infections are identified, Sharfstein said.</p><p>"I'd like to see parents investing now, during the summer, in doing things that can slow and stop the spread of the virus in their communities," Widome said.</p><p>"Now is a good time for kids to practice wearing masks and get used to them as they may be wearing them for longer stretches if school starts up in person," Widome suggested.</p><p>She recommends parents try different mask designs and materials to see what children are more comfortable wearing.</p><p>"If you are using cloth face coverings, it's good to have extras on hand," Widome added.</p><p>Parents should model healthy behavior at home and while out in public — another thing that could affect how well children adapt to reopening practices, Sorensen said.</p><p>"Children may want to know more about face coverings," added <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/leescott/" target="_blank">Lee Scott</a>, chairwoman of the Educational Advisory Board at <a href="https://www.goddardschool.com/" target="_blank">The Goddard School</a>. "Dramatic play, such as creating or wearing a face covering, may help some children adjust to this concept." Schools can also show children photos of what faculty members look like in their masks so the students are familiar with that appearance.</p><p>Johns Hopkins University recently released its eSchool+ Initiative, a slew of resources surrounding education during the pandemic. These include a <a href="https://equityschoolplus.jhu.edu/reopening-checklist/" target="_blank">checklist for administrators</a>, report on <a href="https://equityschoolplus.jhu.edu/ethics-of-reopening/" target="_blank">ethical considerations</a>, and a tracker of <a href="https://equityschoolplus.jhu.edu/reopening-policy-tracker/" target="_blank">state and local reopening plans</a>.</p>
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