COLUMBUS — “As of July 15, the average bill an Ohio residential ratepayer faced (in eight major Ohio cities) for 750 kilowatt hours of electricity was $99.17, according to Public Utilities Commission of Ohio survey data.
In Cleveland, the price for 750 kwh was $98.35; in Akron, $99.38; in Columbus, $101.71; and in Dayton, $107.05.
A year from now, someone needs to see if, thanks to the New Order in Columbus, those prices trended up or down. Dollars to donuts, prices will be up.
The talking-points defense for what Kasich did is that a consumers’ counsel call center (for ratepayer questions and complaints) duplicated a PUCO call center. Yet the agencies have distinctly different missions. The commission is something like a court; the consumers’ counsel is a lawyer for ratepayers. Funny thing: Corporate Ohio forever bleats that all it wants is a “level playing field” in Columbus — until it actually gets one. Corporate Ohio has $500-an-hour lawyers and purring lobbyists at the Statehouse. Utility ratepayers have the consumers’ counsel — just not as much as they did.”
Trucks line up at the Rumpke landfill in Colerain Township. The Ohio Supreme Court has decided to hear an appeal from Colerain Township in a case that resulted in the landfill being given status as a public utility. Cara Owsley/Staff
COLUMBUS — “Reversing a December decision, the Ohio Supreme Court has agreed to hear Colerain Township’s appeal of a decision that the Rumpke Landfill is a public utility.
The court announced today that it has accepted a discretionary appeal to hear the case filed by Colerain Township…
Trustee Joseph Wolterman agreed, saying a decision from the Ohio Supreme Court is in the best interest of all parties involved, particularly the residents of Colerain Township.
‘We need to know the legal standing of the township in this situation moving forward,’ he said. ‘Ultimately, this is a question that has to be answered.’
Ohio Citizens’ Action Director Melissa English said the decision is good news. ‘It’s possibly a game-changer,’ she said. ‘The precedent here was mind-boggling and we are pleased with the decision to reconsider.’”
CHICAGO, IL — “Chicago teen Luis Vega is an unlikely voice for clean air after a coal-fired power plant threatened the health of his community.
He rallied youth and organized a march to protest the Fisk Generating Station, which imported nearly one million tons of coal from Wyoming last year.
Vega unearthed the relationship between the Great Lakes region’s largest city and the American West. His story is part of a multimedia project recently reported by the award-winning News21’s Powering a Nation segment.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks in front of a coal-fired power plant in Alexandria, Virginia, on July 21.
NEW YORK, NY — “One of the frightening new realities in Washington is that many strongly held policy positions are built on untruths. One of the most persistent untruths is that we can’t afford to move away from coal-powered electricity.
The truth is, we can’t afford not to quit coal. The cost consumers pay for power does not reflect the true cost of burning coal. Pollution from coal triggers asthma attacks, a disease that affects 20 million Americans and burdens our health care system. The toxic mercury released from old, outdated coal plants is the single biggest source of mercury emissions in America, making it a potential source of harm to pregnant women and children.
Each year, the soot emanating from coal-fired power plants kills an estimated 13,000 Americans prematurely, and is responsible for an astonishing $100 billion in health costs. These involve costs that consumers pay as well — in their health insurance bills, in the Medicare and Medicaid costs that are breaking our budget, in lost productivity, and in the suffering that they and their children bear.”
— Michael Brune and Michael R. Bloomberg,CNN
July 29th, 2011 | Category: Coal | Comments are closed
CHICAGO, IL — “The company that owns two pollution-spewing coal-fired power plants targeted by environmental activists could be forced to talk clean-up with Mayor Rahm Emanuel after an ordinance was unveiled today that could halt their operations.
Although a nearly identical reform measure previously languished in committee, the new one is backed by about two-thirds of aldermen, including independents and some of the mayor’s closest allies.
Emanuel said he worked on the proposal with Ald. Joe Moore, 49th, a longtime supporter of the Clean Power Ordinance. But the mayor stopped short of endorsing its passage and instead issued a message to top officials at Midwest Generation, which owns the plants.
‘We are paying a health care cost as a city because of’ the plants, he said. ‘I want them as a company to be a responsible citizen to the people of the city of Chicago.
I’m happy there are jobs there. I got that, but those jobs should not come at the expense of the public health cost to our children and to our taxpayers. And I’m planning on having that conversation with them.’”
CINCINNATI — “Four local public hearings on Duke Energy’s proposed nine-year electric rate plan have been scheduled by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.
Residential customers in Ohio would pay about $4 a month more initially under the proposal, which still must be approved by the PUCO.
The plan would base charges on both a competitive auction to set electric prices and a required capacity charge paid by all customers.
It would replace a three-year rate plan that expires at the end of the year. That plan has triggered half a dozen competitive offers from other electric suppliers in Duke’s southwest Ohio service area. Late last year, Duke proposed a two-year transition to a market-based rate plan, but the commission rejected it saying it didn’t comply with the state’s electric deregulation law.”
Neither seen as imminent threat, but plant safety ‘degraded’
David Lochbaum, nuclear safety engineer for the Cambridge, Mass.-based Union of Concerned Scientists.
OAK HARBOR — “Two Davis-Besse direct-current electrical systems were in ‘an unanalyzed condition that significantly degrades plant safety’ for years, according to an event report posted Wednesday on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Web site.
While the government regulator acknowledged the two issues existed long before Japan’s Fukushima crisis, it did not see either as an imminent threat. It allowed FirstEnergy Corp. to continue operating the Ottawa County nuclear plant at full power…
David Lochbaum, nuclear safety engineer for the Cambridge, Mass.-based Union of Concerned Scientists and a former NRC trainer, said Davis-Besse’s wiring is among many electrical issues gaining prominence at America’s 104 nuclear plants in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster, which began with a March 11 tsunami and was exacerbated by myriad electrical problems that rendered safety systems inoperable at multiple plants in Japan…
Mr. Lochbaum said he finds it amazing that the first post-Fukushima look at Davis-Besse’s wiring configuration ‘magically vaporized all the clouds or curtains or whatever had been hiding this safety violation for all those decades.’
He said that if the nonqualified electrical component had shorted out, an electrical fault could have disabled all of the safety equipment sharing that panel.”
First Energy plans to make their flyash dump 200 feet high.
HOOKSTOWN, PA — “As representatives of the FirstEnergy Generation Corp. conduct information meetings in Greene Township, Pa. about a proposed coal-combustion byproduct (CCB) disposal facility, residents opposed say they are still waiting for an open forum meeting…
Roni Kampmeyer community organizer for Citizens Against Coal Ash (CACA), said the group has spent the last year asking FirstEnergy officials for a town-hall style meeting in which First Energy officials would respond to citizens’ questions.
Citizens Against Coal Ash (CACA) is a grassroots group of Greene Township residents and others concerned about the effects of coal ash from Little Blue Run coal ash impoundment from FirstEnergy Corp.’s Bruce Mansfield plant. They are also opposed to the proposed expansion.”
WEST VIRGINIA — “Among the 1.2 million American citizens living in mountaintop removal mining counties in central Appalachia, an additional 60,000 cases of cancer are directly linked to the federally sanctioned strip-mining practice.
That is the damning conclusion in a breakthrough study, released last night in the peer-reviewed Journal of Community Health: The Publication for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. Led by West Virginia University researcher Dr. Michael Hendryx, among others, the study entitled “Self-Reported Cancer Rates in Two Rural Areas of West Virginia with and Without Mountaintop Coal Mining” drew from a groundbreaking community-based participatory research survey conducted in Boone County, West Virginia in the spring of 2011, which gathered person-level health data from communities directly impacted by mountaintop mining, and compared to communities without mining.
‘A door to door survey of 769 adults found that the cancer rate was twice as high in a community exposed to mountaintop removal mining compared to a non-mining control community,” said Hendryx, Associate Professor at the Department of Community Medicine and Director of West Virginia Rural Health Research Center at West Virginia University. “This significantly higher risk was found after control for age, sex, smoking, occupational exposure and family cancer history. The study adds to the growing evidence that mountaintop mining environments are harmful to human health.’
Bottom line: Far from simply being an environmental issue, mountaintop removal is killing American residents.”
MORGANTOWN, W.V. — “The federal government and the West Virginia Coal Association want a judge to dismiss a lawsuit aimed at protecting Logan County’s Blair Mountain from surface mining and returning it to the National Register of Historic Places. In new court filings in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., the Department of the Interior, the National Park Service and the Keeper of the Register argue that environmental and preservation groups lack legal standing to sue over the 1,600-acre site of a 1921 armed uprising by coal miners. . . .
The government contends the Sierra Club, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, West Virginia Labor History Association and other groups can’t demonstrate any concrete harm from the delisting, don’t own property on the mountain and lack legal permission to visit any of the privately owned parcels. “Their interest in the site is purely notional, and even if mining were to occur on Blair Mountain, the injury that they allege they would suffer is purely speculative,” the motion for summary judgment argues.”
TORONTO, ONTARIO — “Canadian Steel Producers Association (CSPA) announced new policy changes in their latest Environmental Performance Report, including a new focus on mercury switches.
The report highlights many of the recent environmental successes and initiatives undertaken by the CSPA, and also includes their new policy stance on mercury that is sometimes left behind in scrap metal. This new policy for scrap metal, entitled “Zero Mercury Purchasing Policy” shows the strong commitment of the member companies to preventing mercury emissions. They state, “CSPA supports the principle of utilizing mercury-free scrap steel to the greatest extent practicable, from automotive and non-automotive sources”. To ensure that this purchasing policy is executed, each of the CSPA member companies will now require that all steel mill scrap that is supplied to them is mercury-free. This move demonstrates their deep commitment to environmental performance.”
COLUMBUS — “Residential customers of Columbus Southern Power, AEP’s central Ohio subsidiary, would pay an extra 1.5percent in 2012 and 2.7 percent in 2013, with virtually no increase in the first five months of 2014.
The rate increases are percentages of a customer’s entire electricity bill. For example, the 1.5percent increase would raise the average monthly bill by $1.29 in 2012 to $121.58.
But those numbers come with a big caveat. They do not include several dozen additional charges, or riders, whose amounts have not been set.
The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio is reviewing the rate plan, which was filed in January. A decision will come before the end of the year.
AEP is still reviewing the new testimony, spokeswoman Terri Flora said. Speaking in general about the rate plan, she said AEP is trying to promote construction of power plants and economic development.”
TOLEDO — “This month, the GOP-controlled House passed a bill that would gut the EPA’s power to set water standards for states. Never mind that water from one state can flow downriver to degrade the next.
The measure would roll back important provisions of the Clean Water Act, which for nearly 40 years has made tremendous progress in improving the quality of America’s waterways for drinking, fishing, and recreation. Every Republican in Ohio’s House delegation voted for this extremist legislation.
More mischief is pending. A House vote is expected soon on an Interior Department spending bill that includes noxious affronts to the idea of responsible environmental stewardship.
As well as making various assaults on the EPA, there’s even a perverse provision in the measure that would place a moratorium on the listing of plants and animals under the Endangered Species Act (265 are pending).
The Obama Administration has indicated that it would veto this bill. But it shouldn’t get that far. Ohio’s representatives of both parties ought to vote against it first.”
Six regulations prompting outcry directly affect coal-fired power plants including new limits on air emissions contributing to climate change, smog, soot pollution and acid rain.
WASHINGTON, DC — “The Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. regulator criticized by business groups for proposing the most new rules of any agency, says the courts and former President George W. Bush have left it no choice.
Companies are bracing for and complaining about a raft of requirements with three- to four-year deadlines for compliance. American Electric Power Co. of Columbus, Ohio, has said new EPA standards would force it to spend as much as $8 billion through the end of the decade, cut about 600 jobs and shut five coal- fired power plants. Electricity rates might rise, new oil- drilling stall and cement factories close, according to trade groups.
Prospects for getting the EPA to ease up, as sought by companies and lawmakers in the Republican-led House, are limited by the agency’s stand that it’s obeying judicial instructions. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson ‘has made clear that we will be guided by the science and the law in all the steps we take to protect Americans’ health,’ spokesman Brendan Gilfillan said in an e-mail on July 21.
Jackson said in March at a House hearing that ‘our major rules are either under court-ordered deadline’ or ‘the result of settlements or litigation.’”
Dr. Michael Hendryx, Associate Professor, Department of Community Medicine, West Virginia University
CHARLESTON, WV — “Poverty in Appalachia is concentrated in the communities around mountaintop removal mines, and people living in those areas suffer greater risk of early deaths, according to a new scientific paper by a West Virginia University researcher.
Michael Hendryx, an associate professor in the WVU Department of Community Medicine, compared data on poverty, mortality and mining in counties in West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia. He was trying to determine if residents near mountaintop removal mines experience greater poverty and higher death rates compared to other kinds of mining or other areas of Appalachia.
‘Mountaintop mining areas had significantly higher mortality rates, total poverty rates and child poverty rates every year compared to other … counties,’ Hendryx wrote in his paper, which appears in the current issue of the peer-reviewed Journal of Health Disparities Research and Practice. ‘Both poverty and mountaintop mining were independently associated with age-adjusted mortality rates.’”
Letters to Senator Sherrod Brown and Senator Rob Portman
6,615 members have sent handwritten letters and petitions to Senator Brown urging him to support US EPA rules that will protect our health from polluting coal plants as of January 24, 2012.
3,751 members have petitioned Senator Portman urging him to support US EPA rules that will protect our health from polluting coal plants as of January 24, 2012.
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