Activism

Published on May 26th, 2014 | by James Ayre

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Ohio Utilities Fight Renewable Energy, Ohio Religious Leaders Fight Back

May 26th, 2014 by

ohio religious leaders solar

In an example of just how wrong stereotypes can be, the recent move by the Ohio State Senate to freeze the state’s renewable standard, along with its energy efficiency program, at 2014 levels for the next two years, is being strongly opposed by a number of (very possibly Republican) faith leaders in the region.

Not really a surprise to anyone who doesn’t immediately assume religious or Republican beliefs preclude a recognition of the value of renewable energy. But certainly not playing to stereotypes either. Good to see, regardless. :)

Said faith leaders — backed by petitions containing more than 14,000 signatures — are calling on Governor John Kasich Wednesday to veto the bill put forward by the Senate. One that would more or less “gut” the state’s renewable energy standards and energy efficiency programs.

“It is our calling as people of faith to be compassionate and caring for the earth,” stated Reverend Tim Ahrens of the First Congregational Church, UCC in Columbus. “The first words of the Bible say ‘take care of this planet that I have created for you.”

As it stands currently, the bill is set to be voted upon by the Ohio House this week, or possibly later than that.

Climate Progress provides more:

Ohio’s efficiency and renewable rules were passed unanimously, save for one vote, back in 2008. Under the law, the state’s electric utilities are required to generate 12.5% of energy from renewables and 12.5% from advanced sources by 2025 and offer consumers programs to help them reduce their energy use, such as energy audits and rebates for insulation work and replacing lighting.

Reverend Robert Martin of First Presbyterian Church of Athens, Ohio, says that in the past year alone his church has saved over $6,000, thanks to an energy audit which helped his church install LED lighting, replace old boilers and insulate windows. First Presbyterian Church was in fact recently recognized by the EPA as the top house of worship in the National Building Competition for energy savings.

 

“Our energy use was reduced by 30%,” explained Reverend Martin. “And the savings that we realized went straight back into the community, supporting the local food bank, providing free meals, and helping to keep the doors open at a local homeless shelter. That’s where our money should go, rather than disappearing into our energy bill.”

“The people who would benefit from this are just five people – the five CEOs of Ohio’s utility companies,” Reverend Ahren continued. “And I can tell you, the CEO of FirstEnergy made $11 million last year. He doesn’t need this money, he has enough money in his wallet. We need this money to care for the people coming to our doors.”

No argument there.

In related news, Pope Francis recently reiterated his call for Christians to become “Custodians of Creation” at an address in Rome, while also giving a stark warning about the potentially catastrophic effects of climate change. Speaking to the quite massive crowds there, the Pope noted: “Safeguard Creation. Because if we destroy Creation, Creation will destroy us! Never forget this!”

Going on: “Creation is not a property, which we can rule over at will; or, even less, is the property of only a few: Creation is a gift, it is a wonderful gift that God has given us, so that we care for it and we use it for the benefit of all, always with great respect and gratitude.”

However, Eden Keeper notes that Pope Francis hasn’t taken the practical step of divesting from fossil fuels.

Image Credit: Faith In Public Life

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About the Author

's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.



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