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Mon Jun 29, 2020, 08:03 AM

Ohio's Governor Mike DeWine And The Magic Of Selective Science


Even so, Taylor-Miesle said she “still has bruises” from the fight over House Bill 6. The measure repealed Ohio’s renewable and energy efficiency standards and enabled more than $1 billion subsidies for the owners of aging coal and nuclear power plants. DeWine signed the bill into law last July, after years of lobbying by large utility companies. Kasich had opposed similar measures, citing the higher costs for electricity customers. Ohio ranks sixth among U.S. states in carbon dioxide emissions and is the third-largest consumer of coal, behind Texas and Indiana. Ohio Environmental Council and other opponents said the measure will hinder Ohio’s efforts to develop clean energy projects, reduce energy use, and shift away from fossil fuels.

Isabella Guinigundo, a leader in the grassroots Ohio Climate Strike movement, echoed Woodrum. “Politically, it’s okay to listen to the scientists on COVID-19, because that’s the current crisis we’re in,” said Guinigundo, a high school senior in Cincinnati. “For the climate crisis, it doesn’t get him any of those political points to listen to what climate scientists have to say.”

As Ohio’s attorney general, DeWine was openly opposed to federal climate regulations. In 2015, his office joined a 24-state legal challenge against the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, which aimed to curb carbon emissions from coal- and gas-fired power plants. DeWine called it a “power grab” that would harm Ohio’s coal industry. (Trump replaced the Clean Power Plan with a much weaker rule last year.) As governor, DeWine has said he’s committed to reducing carbon emissions and supports an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy — reasons he offered when signing the measure that subsidizes Ohio’s nuclear plants.

Over the past year, in an effort to appeal to DeWine’s broader interest in protecting public health, green groups have sought to frame climate and air quality issues as explicit threats to Ohioans’ wellbeing. For instance, Ohio is experiencing more frequent and intense rainfall and heavier flooding, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Midwest climate assessment. Those conditions can damage crops, contaminate drinking water, and — when coupled with warming water temperatures — spur toxic algal blooms. Higher temperatures are enabling the spread of insects and invasive plants, which leads to more insect-borne diseases and lengthens allergy seasons. Hotter days also degrade air quality and exacerbate conditions like asthma and heart disease.



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