Yesterday the Joint Committee of Agency Rule Review (JCARR) approved a set of rules proposed by the OPSB that do not reflect the requirements of the law, that are not protective of people and that are not enforceable. In short, it was NOT a good day for the people of Ohio. There was but one slight ray of hope when committee member, Senator Troy Balderson who also chairs the Ohio Senate Public Utilities Committee, pointed out to the OPSB’s Legal Director, Angela Hawkins, that there were, in fact, deficiencies in the rules and he expects those deficiencies to be fixed in the upcoming new rulemaking process. That process formally begins on Thursday, June 9th at a 10:00 a.m. hearing at the offices of the PUCO/OPSB. Testimony will be taken that day and we expect the comment period will be open beyond Thursday. After the OPSB has gathered input, they will issue new rules and those proposed rules will also be open for comment after which, they will go back to JCARR for approval. In the meantime, it is open season on rural families.
Testimony in opposition to the rules was provided by Logan County’s Fight the Wind, Huron County’s Greenwich Neighbors United and Champaign County Union Neighbors United. Our favorite comments came from JCARR member, Rep. Dan Ramos (D): Q: “I can’t understand why you want setbacks that are absolutely protective of any risk. We don’t do that for other facilities. If a power plant is located in a city, we don’t protect every person in town if it blows up. “ Maybe Rep. Ramos doesn’t understand that other power plants are located in areas zoned “industrial” instead of in or next to the residential backyards of families. And they don’t understand that the noise and shadow flicker are 24/7.
Then Sen Joe Uecker (R) remarkably noted: “You keep saying that 4906.20 requires the Board to enact reasonable regulations for protection of the public. I see here that it says “reasonable regulations,” but nothing about protection of the public.”
That is what we are up against folks. It is why we must educate the public. Will you help? Please talk to your neighbors and friends and legislators. We wonder how our County Commissioners and Township Trustees would feel about granting tax abatement to projects that are essentially given a green light to imperil their constituents?