April 25, 2017

Honorable John Kasich 
Riffe Center, 30th Floor
77 South High Street
Columbus, OH 43215-6117

Dear Governor Kasich,

As scientists, conservationists, and concerned citizens, we applaud your commitment to clean air and green jobs, and urge you to keep open Ohio’s nuclear plants by treating them fairly.

Last year, you vetoed legislation that would have repealed Ohio’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, out of concern for having a negative impact on jobs, and clean air. It would be inconsistent and unfair to let nuclear plants close while supporting a state mandate for solar and wind that excludes nuclear energy.

Solar and wind have boomed during a time of cheap natural gas for the simple reason that they benefit from large federal and state subsidies, and aggressive state mandates. If nuclear energy received a fraction of those subsidies, Davis-Besse and Perry nuclear plants would not be on the verge of closing.

If Davis-Besse and Perry nuclear plants are closed, Ohio will become the worst polluter in the country on most major pollutants including sulfur dioxide, mercury, nitrogen oxides, carbon dioxide and particulate matter, the most important source of health damage from air pollution along with ozone. At 4,233 deaths per year, Ohio had the highest number of premature deaths resulting from PM2.5 from electricity generation.[1]

Last month, a new study in Nature Energy found that the closure of two nuclear plants in the Tennessee Valley in the 1980s led to lower infant birthweight, a key indicator of health outcomes later in life, due to the increased air pollution from the coal that burned instead.

Keeping nuclear plants online will cost a fraction of the cost of subsidies for renewables. Federal and state subsidies for solar add up to over 12 cents per kilowatt hour — seven times the cost of the proposed subsidy to save Ohio’s nuclear plants.

In 2016, Ohio’s nuclear plants generated almost 12 times more electricity than Ohio’s solar and wind combined. And while nuclear plants provide power roughly 90 percent of the time, solar and wind can only do so intermittently, requiring coal and other fossil fuel back-up.

Furthermore, while the over 1,400 jobs at Perry and Davis-Besse are permanent and high-paying, jobs installing solar panels and wind turbines are temporary — and the panels and turbines are usually made outside of the United States.

If Ohio’s nuclear plants close, the share of electricity Ohio generates from clean energy would decline from 16 percent to just one percent. If that happens, Ohio would have the third smallest share of clean energy among all 50 states.

And without nuclear, Ohio’s energy mix would be much less diverse. Ohio already imports approximately 20 percent of its power. If natural gas replaces both coal and nuclear, Ohioans would become dangerously dependent on a single, notoriously price-volatile fuel.

Ohio needs nuclear power to be a part of its future energy options. We urge you to support keeping Davis-Besse and Perry nuclear power plants online. In doing so, you will help Ohio protect its health, its environment, and its taxpayers.

We thank you in advance for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Heather Dewitz, Member, Benton-Carroll-Salem Board of Education

Mayor Joe Helle, Oak Harbor, Ohio

Guy L. Parmigian, Ph.D., Superintendent, Benton-Carroll-Salem Local School District

Larry J. Tscherne, Business Manager, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union 245
 
City Councilman Rick Walker, Perry Village, Ohio

Matthew Elrod, Biggs Professor of Natural Science, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, Oberlin College

James A. Menart, Director of the Renewable and Clean Engineering Master’s Degree Program, Wright State University

Barry Muller, Past Chair, Michigan-Ohio Section of the American Nuclear Society

Henry B. Spitz, Ph. D., Professor of Nuclear & Radiological Engineering, University of Cincinnati

Mark Perry, Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and Professor of Finance and Economics, School of Management, University of Michigan-Flint

James Hansen, Climate Science, Awareness, and Solutions Program, Columbia University, Earth Institute, Columbia University

Raymond Pierrehumbert, Halley Professorship of Physics, University of Oxford

Steven Pinker, Harvard University, author of Better Angels of Our Nature

Richard Rhodes, Pulitzer Prize recipient, author of Nuclear Renewal and The Making of the Atomic Bomb

Steve McCormick, Former CEO, The Nature Conservancy

Steven Tindale, former Executive Director, Greenpeace UK, Alvin Weinberg Foundation

Jeff Terry, Professor of Physics, Illinois Institute of Technology

Jeremy Carl, Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University

David Keith, Gordon McKay Professor of Applied Physics for the Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

Paul Robbins, Director, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Kerry Emanuel, Professor of Atmospheric Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

David Lea, Professor of Earth Science, UC Santa Barbara

Barry Brook, Professor and Chair of Environmental Sustainability, University of Tasmania

James Conca, Earth and Environmental Scientist

Kevin Efrusy, Partner, Accel Partners

David Marquardt, Founding Partner, August Capital

Michelle Marvier, Professor of Environmental Studies and Sciences, Santa Clara University

Elizabeth Muller, Founder and Executive Director, Berkeley Earth

Richard Muller, Professor of Physics, UC Berkeley

Garrett Gruener, Managing Director, Gruener Ventures

Steve Kirsch, CEO, Token

Andrew Klein, President, American Nuclear Society

Joe Lassiter, Professor, Harvard Business School

John Lavine, Professor and Medill Dean Emeritus, Northwestern University

Norris McDonald, President, Environmental Hope and Justice

Michael Shellenberger, President, Environmental Progress

Barrett Walker, Alex C. Walker Foundation


[1] Mortality rate based on Ohio power sector emissions in 2005. Estimates of avoided mortality today are based on EP analysis, using relative particulate and sulfur emissions from the power sector in 2005 and 2016. Ohio is the second worst state in the nation in terms of sulfur dioxide emissions from electricity generation, which cause acid rain. And carbon emissions would increase the equivalent of adding an additional 2.4 million cars to Ohio’s road.