Legalized price gouging

It’s bad enough we have a system of legalized bribery (huge political “donations” — more like investments from the super wealthy and corporations) in this country backed up by the courts (led by the Supremes), but this decision affirms legalized price gouging of consumers. Nice going Ohio Supreme Court in giving the A-OK to First Energy Corporation — responsible for the 20013 Northeast United States blackout — for overcharging ratepayers for the purchase of electricity generated by renewable technologies. And from where did some of First Energy Corporation’s overly expensive (which were passed on to consumers) electricity purchases come from? Why, of course, from one of its own affiliates — First Energy Solutions corporation. It’s all legal of course — legitimized now by the Ohio Supreme Court.

http://www.cleveland.com/business/index.ssf/2018/01/43_million_in_firstenergy_over.html#incart_target2box_default_#incart_target2box_targeted_

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The Deep Industry Ties of Trump’s Deregulation Teams

More capturing of government by corporate interests. It happened before under Repub and Dem administrations, but more intense and blatant under the “drain the swamp” advocate in the White House. And it will continue forever and ever and ever until we abolish the constitutional ground rules empowering corporate entities with constitutional rights…

“Some appointees are reviewing rules their previous employers sought to weaken or kill, and at least two may be positioned to profit if certain regulations are undone.

The appointees include lawyers who have represented businesses in cases against government regulators, staff members of political dark money groups, employees of industry-funded organizations opposed to environmental rules and at least three people who were registered to lobby the agencies they now work for.”

Every Polluter’s Advocate

IEL

The record of Every Polluters Advocate (EPA) regarding the Industrial Excess Landfill (IEL) in Uniontown, Ohio has been for several decades pathetic at best. Their approach has been “dilution is the solution” remediation and “what you don’t test for you won’t find.” Several of the test wells that were considered “hot” were simply not tested.

We (Northeast Ohio AFSC) filed several Freedom of Information (FOIA) requests over several years. We received numerous receipts from the Department of the Army indicating dumping. This confirmed sitings by area residents who witnessed Army trucks bearing radioactive markings letting themselves in and out of the site over a period of time. We also received in the IEL file if I recall a document from the Mound nuclear weapons production site in southern Ohio indicating they transported material to the site. No doubt the haul was something like grass clippings and/or apple peelings.

Several area people, in fact, have died from cancers associated with radiation. A nurse at one time went house to house in the area and found an astoundingly high percentage of radiation related health concerns. Mere coincidence no doubt.

Chris Borello refuses to literally and figuratively bury IEL. Kudos to her.

Coverup and denial have been the major responses.

Harper points out an often forgotten reality. The site sits on a ridge with whatever dumped there flowing in many directions. Thus, the grass clippings, apple peelings and other supposedly too safe to worry about in the long term trash will be shared far and wide.

The EPA at the highest level has been hijacked by the corporate polluters and military. Sad fact…and reality…of many, if not most, of our regulatory agencies — they regulate/confine grassroots concerns/activism and shield those responsible for irresponsible actions.

Uniontown landfill Superfund site includes industrial, radioactive waste: Toxic remains
http://www.cleveland.com/akron/index.ssf/2015/12/is_groundwater_in_uniontown_oh.html#incart_m-rpt-1

To avoid environmental catastrophe, we must change our thinking: Letter to the Editor

Tomorrow, August 6, is the 70th anniversary of the first use of radioactive weaponry in Hiroshima, Japan by the United States of America. My reflections on visiting Hiroshima for the 40th anniversary…and now.

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To avoid environmental catastrophe, we must change our thinking: Letter to the Editor
Other Voices By Other Voices
on August 04, 2015
http://blog.cleveland.com/letters/2015/08/atomic_bomb_letter_to_the_edit.html

Einstein’s statement, “[t]he splitting of the atom changed everything, save man’s mode of thinking. Thus we drift towards unparalleled catastrophe” was on my mind while attending the annual observance of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima 30 years ago on Aug. 6. It still is.

Then, it meant inevitable nuclear holocaust unless human social advancements kept pace with technological advancements — which has barely occurred. Now it means something even larger: to question all technological prowess as automatically “progress.” Technologies not only have benefits, but costs — political, economic, social, psychological, environmental.

Homage to technology has blinded us, for example, to the colossal environmental costs of plundering the planet to produce things we all enjoy while spewing toxins into the land, seas and air. We have focused only on the resulting gains, but have ignored the pains – pushing them off on other people, places or generations. We have come to accept that we can have endless more — exponential growth of literally everything while living on a finite planet.

However, nature bats last. It has its own rules. It can’t be propagandized, distracted, ignored, threatened or jailed. Changing our “mode of thinking” isn’t an option, but essential to avoid environmental “unparalleled catastrophe.”

Greg Coleridge
Cleveland Heights

Testimony at Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) Public Hearing on First Energy’s “Electric Security Plan” Proposal

Greg Coleridge / Monday, January 20, 2015 / Cleveland City Hall

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[Note: First Energy corporations wants PUCO guarantees on prices to subsidize it nuclear and coal power plants. Several hearings by the PUCO regulatory agency to receive public testimony are being held across Ohio]

I testify this evening not only as a consumer, but also as a citizen.

As a consumer, I’m concerned about the rising prices of energy that seem unwarranted and little more than a corporate bail out.

But as a citizen, I’m even more concerned — concerned about decision-making, power and democracy – as they relate to not only First Energy corporation but also the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO).

Former Cleveland Mayor Tom Johnson’s warning a century ago is still relevant today: “I believe in municipal ownership of all public service monopolies… because if you do not own them, they will in time own you, they will rule your politics, corrupt your institutions and finally destroy your liberties.”

First Energy corporation has certainly come to rule our politics and corrupt our legislative institution with their hot shot lobbyists and piles of campaign investments, I mean “contributions,” to many of the same Ohio legislators who voted to delay green energy standards.

photoBut it’s not just First Energy corporation that is a threat to our democracy. Regulatory agencies like PUCO, which shield corporate utilities serve to effectively absorb our time, energy and resources and to distract our attention from demanding statewide legislation, citizen initiatives and public hearings on the more fundamental issue of ending corporate owned utilities.

Past and more recent history demonstrates that public owned utilities provide more democratically accountable and cheaper energy. Samuel Insull was right a century ago about electricity being a “natural monopoly.” His belief, though, that regulation would protect utility monopolies from both private competition and outright public ownership was anti-democratic. Milwaukee Mayor Daniel Hoan in 1907 said it best about electric regulatory commissions: “No shrewder piece of political humbuggery and downright fraud has ever been placed upon the statute books. It’s supposed to be legislation for the people. In fact, it’s legislation for the power oligarchy.”

No matter the outcome of these hearings, the core problem is that We the People are not directly in control of our energy. Corporate utilities, using PUCO as a shield, are in charge. First Energy corporation’s market monopoly socialism in which “heads, they win, tails, we lose” both politically and in our pocketbooks doesn’t have to happen. It wasn’t always like it is now. It doesn’t have to continue.

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These hearings are akin to a democracy “theme park” that looks real and legit on the surface but distracts and distorts from the real issues.

Regulatory agencies regulate us. They regulate our ability to think outside the regulatory box – to imagine what real definition, power, control, and democracy could be.

Yes, the answer here tonight is to oppose the corporate bailout of First Energy. But the answer to the fundamental problem of private monopolies is more democracy through public control – the likes of which would make Tom Johnson proud.

We need to think and act not just like consumers, but also as citizens.