Power to natural gas

The Nov. 20 Beacon Journal editorial, headlined online “Earth needs Ohio’s nuclear plants,” stressed the need to prioritize Ohio’s nuclear plants for environmental benefits based on the position of the Union of Concerned Scientists. The editorial cited the blog post of the UCS president urging “that we keep an open mind about all of the tools in the emissions reductions toolbox — even ones that are not our personal favorites.”

Though natural gas may not be a personal favorite of the organization, it has been crucial to reducing carbon emissions and costs for consumers. And before Ohio decides to bail out its nuclear power plants, we must consider the economic and environmental consequences for favoring one industry over others.

Prioritizing nuclear energy could lead to increased prices for Ohio ratepayers who would foot the bill to keep nuclear plants running, while also pushing cheap, clean natural gas out of the marketplace. North American carbon emissions due to fossil fuel use decreased by about 23 million metric tons of carbon per year mainly due to the shift from coal to natural gas, according to the U.S. Global Change Research Program. Wholesale electricity prices in Ohio have dropped nearly 50 percent since 2008 thanks to competition in electricity markets.

Playing favorites also risks economic consequences. In Ohio, the natural gas and oil industry is responsible for 262,000 jobs, while the nuclear sector employs less than 77,000 workers nationally. Prioritizing nuclear energy over other sources like natural gas could disrupt a key component of the state’s broader economic success and stability.

Propping up less competitive energy sources like nuclear would disadvantage Ohio’s robust natural gas sector. Government shouldn’t be in the business of picking winners and losers in America’s energy markets.

Chris Zeigler, executive director,

API Ohio, Columbus

 

Keep options open

The Dec. 10 editorial “No relief for debt adjusters” wrongly argues that state legislators need to protect Ohioans from debt settlement companies. Such government paternalism may be well-intended, but all too often creates unintended consequences that end up hurting the very people it tries to help.

Unfortunately, the fact is that thousands of Ohioans are up to their eyeballs in unsecured debt and can’t afford the minimum monthly payments. People in these situations deserve to have every option available to help them to get out of debt — including debt settlement.

However, Ohio’s current laws restrict the debt settlement services with arbitrary fee caps and poorly tailored language. These flaws make it legally murky for many debt settlement companies to operate in the state.

Limited regulations on debt settlement services are appropriate. Companies must disclose to clients the costs, benefits and risks of debt settlement programs, and clients don’t pay until they accept a settlement and start paying off their debt. Further regulations to protect Ohioans just limits options and makes it harder for indebted Ohioans to get help.

Greg R. Lawson,

The Buckeye Institute, Columbus

 

Who wins in Washington

When the government shuts down, who loses?

Federal employees? No paycheck. Military? No paycheck.

Congress? Congress always gets paid.

Anna Gomarakis, Tallmadge