Despite asserting on at least 15 occasions that he believes in free markets and is a “capitalist” opposed to mandates, Ohio Rep. Bill Seitz has used his powerful leadership position in the state legislature to pick energy winners and losers.
“Natural gas, with which Ohio is bountifully blessed, sets the price as the preferred electricity fuel to the exclusion of coal, nuclear, wind and solar,” wrote Seitz in an op-ed a year ago on Cinncinnati.com.
But by November 2017, coal had been picked out of that list, when he asked his House colleagues to support OVEC Bill HB 239. That legislation would require consumers state-wide to pay higher electricity bills to subsidize the state’s uncompetitive coal and nuclear plants.
Our question is: What caused Rep. Seitz to promote allowing the state’s utilities to charge ratepayers extra fees to save the state’s aging, uncompetitive coal plants?
To learn more, we have requested public records of communications by Seitz and his Legislative Aide Jimmy Wolf about coal, wind energy and related topics with key lobbyists from FirstEnergy Corp., Murray Energy, McNess Wallace & Nurick LLC and Union Neighbors United.
Ohio Conservatives Support Clean Energy
It’s worth noting a recent poll commissioned by the Ohio Conservative Energy Forum showed a 76% majority of self-identified conservative Republican and independent conservatives want more renewable energy and greater energy efficiency.
We’ve asked for relevant records that can shed light on what caused Rep. Bill Seitz to abandon his “free market” principles and start picking energy winners and losers.
The public has a right to know what goes on behind closed doors in Columbus when elected officials get together with fossil fuel lobbyists.
Scott Peterson is executive director of Checks and Balances Project, an investigative blog that seeks to hold government officials, lobbyists and corporate management accountable to the public. Funding for C&BP comes from sustainable economy philanthropies and donors.