Happy Holidays everyone! Big antinuclear win!

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Patricia A. Marida

Dec 23, 2020, 3:32:36 PM12/23/20
to Central Ohioans for Peace

Happy Holidays to Friends and Family!


     I was getting ready to compose a winter solstice greeting to everyone and send it on Dec. 21. But you know how putting things off till the last minute can go.

     Instead, I spent the day and into the wee hours writing and calling Ohio’s 33 state senators.  So this year, I am sending you the results of our collective efforts, including what I was doing that day, as my holiday missive.  Power belongs to the people when we take it back. 

     Whether you howled at the moon on the solstice, or whether you are wrapping Christmas presents, or cooking something for someone shut in due to the virus threat, or working to address inequality, I wish good spirits for everyone at the end of this trying year.  







     Congratulations to all of us!  This was a very long struggle, lasting over 2 years! 

On December 22, the Ohio Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee met, with House Bill 104 on the docket – and did not hear the bill!  They approved the minutes of the last meeting and that was it. Many of you made last-minute calls and emails to the whole senate, anticipating that it could be passed there only a few hours later.  Thank you all so very much!!


     Vicky Clemons first alerted us to this bill.  She had been following the activities of eGeneration, a Cleveland company promoting thorium nuclear reactors.  She discovered Ohio House Bill 771 way back in late 2018 – a 56-page bill with language straight from eGeneration’s website.  The outrageous bill was poorly written and cobbled together. It created a whole new government agency that would be responsible to no one. The new Nuclear Development Authority could raise funds and spend money on research and development of molted salt nuclear reactors and thorium nuclear reactors – all with no oversight.  It gave researchers the ability to take high-level radioactive waste from Davis-Besse and Perry and reprocess it, a technology that has been disastrous everywhere in the world that it has been tried.  The Authority had powers of eminent domain, and may have had the Portsmouth Nuclear Site in mind for some of its activities.  

     HB 798 went nowhere and was dead at the end of the year – or so we thought.  But it was revived in early 2019 in the new legislature as HB 104. Testimony was taken in the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee that March. Our committee developed a fact sheet in response, Ohio HB 104: A Radioactive Taxpayer Giveaway, a one-pager listing 10 major problems with the bill. People on the committee thought it was so absurd that no one but our chair Pat Marida would go to the Statehouse to testify against it. People did not know about this bill, and she ended up being the only opponent.  It passed out of the committee 11-2.  Though it was sponsored by a single Republican House member who lived close to eGeneration, it passed with bipartisan support.  HB 104 then languished for over a year when suddenly and unexpectedly it passed the House 80-11. That was scary.

     That was when committee member (and skilled antinuclear attorney) Terry Lodge wrote a 9-page legal analysis of the bill Ohio HB 104 Opposition Sign-On Letter.  Terry, Kevin Kamps (radioactive waste watchdog at Beyond Nuclear) and other committee members garnered the signatures of what eventually turned out to be 107 organizations around the country who signed on to the opposition letter.  Then we waited.  Nothing happened. Then in mid-November, it suddenly appeared in the Energy and Public Utilities Committee.  Pretty sneaky, eh?  This time we were prepared. Terry sent out the letter. The committee met 3 times hearing the bill. Then the committee met and did not hear the bill.  So we thought it was over.  Then it appeared again!  Terry resent the letter with more signatures.  We all called our friends and asked them to call the 13 senators on the committee, and at 15 people voluntarily responded that they had done so.  And likely others did as well.

    Then it was on the agenda for Dec. 22 in the only committee meeting on that last day scheduled for the legislature to meet. Many of us were up to the wee hours, this time calling the 20 senators who are not on the committee, because we all thought it would be going to the full senate.  And then, it was over!  The committee met, approved the minutes of the last meeting, and adjourned. 


     This is a big win for this committee and all our fantastic volunteers!  Thanks so much to everyone who helped make this happen – including those intrepid folks in those 107 grassroots organizations who have their feet solidly on the ground. We can be very proud of this victory. Give yourselves a pat on the back!   Now we are ready to go farther than maintaining the status quo.  Subsides for nuclear power must end. Opposing forces are great, as nuclear power is the “legitimate” front for nuclear weapons.  The sound of the sucking of money away from sustainable energy sources like wind and solar must be stopped.    


Another comment on  this victory is here:  WE HAVE COLLECTIVELY STOPPED Ohio's corporate welfare for Small Modular Reactors scam! Ohio HB 104 died in an Ohio Senate committee and will not be part of the General Assembly's Christmas Tree package of corporate handouts. You helped us stall the military-industrial-nuclear-complex's drive to put Small Modular Reactors in the heart of Corporate America's inadequate and self-serving efforts to curb climate chaos. You have helped stop the waste of billions of state and federal dollars that would spur the conditions for the spread of nuclear weapons around the globe. You have saved thousands of residents of southeastern Ohio from future nuclear accidents and radiation exposure, and death and disease. This is a wonderful stay of execution. We cannot rest for long; Small Modular Reactors with Big Unmodulated Dangers will be returning in '21.


 Happy Holidays!




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