Environmental Corner, March 2023

Reducing Carbon Emissions

Several newer federal laws (especially the Inflation Reduction Act, IRA) include programs to help homeowners and others reduce their own carbon dioxide emissions in response to the climate crisis. If you are considering even smaller household changes, such as getting new appliances, new windows, insulation, as well as my favorite, rooftop solar, it is worth your time to look at these. Some of the tax rebates are for 30% of the purchase price  –  a significant amount of money. In addition to rebates for individuals, there are also block grants to states and local governments and non-profits.  Some of these are still in the process of being rolled out. 
Here are some resources to help get you started:
From the New York Times, an interactive guide to the IRA
From Rewiring America, a downloadable guide to everything IRA
From Natural Resources Defense Council, a Consumer Guide to the IRA

The House Bill 6 Trial
There have been very interesting reports in some local papers about the ongoing trial in Cincinnati of Larry Householder, former speaker of the Ohio House, who is charged with racketeering involving a $60 million bribe for pushing through House Bill 6 in 2018. HB 6 is the law that collects $80,000 every day in electric surcharges on consumers’ bills to subsidize two obsolete coal-fired power plants left over from the 1950s.  The nuclear bail-out portion was repealed, but the rest is still in effect. 
Apparently one of the ways that bribery money was used was to buy those sinister ads in the summer of 2019 warning people that China was trying to take over the Ohio Electric grid by circulating ballot petitions. It worked, because the effort to put HB6 on the ballot for voters to decide did not get enough signatures. Signature collectors were also harassed and paid to stop work. So you never got a chance to vote on HB 6.
For more information, Common Cause has a YouTube video. It is worth watching if you have any interest in legislative shenanigans!  The recording of the program,  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9L2jL96D_I&t=8s.
If you are part of the Oxford Electric Aggregation program (as most of us in Oxford are!) it is worth noting that our electricity provider is Energy Harbor. After the bad publicity surrounding the HB 6 scandal, First Energy reorganized and became Energy Harbor! So all this hits very close to home! The contract is up for renewal in the near future.

-P. Branstrator

Author: lizwoedl


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