To: Interested Reporters

From: Energy & Policy Institute

Re: Public records between Senator Seitz and utility companies revealed

Date: September 17, 2015

In advance of the Energy Mandates Study Committee releasing a report on the state’s energy efficiency and renewable energy standards, E&PI is publishing emails highlighting how the utility industry has been working with Ohio legislators for years to attack the clean energy law.

Legislators will have until the end of the year to decide what policy to implement; but if they do nothing, the efficiency and renewable standards will unfreeze.

However, American Legislative Exchange Council-member Senator Bill Seitz recently said, “We’re not prepared to continue our march up State Mandate Mountain in the face of this federal overreach which will be unfolding over the next three years.” Sen. Seitz also said voluntary incentives could be one of the recommendations from the committee.

E&PI believes it’s important to review how the situation unfolded, especially in light of public records that have never been published until today. Below are just some of the emails from a 1672 page records request that shows the relationship legislators have with Ohio utility companies. See all of the records on DocumentCloud here: http://bit.ly/1Kh5IV0


September 19, 2013: Jamie Lynch, a staffer for Sen. Seitz, sent around call-in information to Chrisy Wright, State Government Affairs Manager at American Electric Power; Michael Brello, State Government Affairs Manager at American Electric Power; Ty Pine, Director of State Affairs at FirstEnergy; John Keaton, State Government Affairs Director at Duke Energy; Tom Raga, Director of Government Relations at Dayton Power and Light – just to name a few. The agenda of the meeting was to discuss substitute SB 58’s language, which was scheduled to be distributed the following week after review from the Ohio Legislative Service Commission.

November 19, 2013: Scott Elisar of McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC responded to Jamie Lynch’s email asking for an opinion on what is “an appropriate (brief) response” to Chrissie Thompson of The Cincinnati Enquirer regarding the Ohio Advance Energy Economy information. Elisar tells Lynch to point to the Lesser study, funded by the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, National Federation of Independent Business-Ohio, and Industrial Energy Users-Ohio, which is an association of large Ohio industrial and commercial energy consumers.

One of Elisar’s clients is the Industrial Energy Users-Ohio, and another is Vectren Corporation. In 2014, McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC sponsored the 18th Annual Ohio Energy Management Conference along with American Electric Power, Duke Energy, FirstEnergy, Industrial Energy Users – Ohio, along with others.

November 19, 2013: An Ohio Advanced Energy Economy letter to Sen. Seitz with a comment that appears to be written by Sen. Seitz reading, “More complete fabrications from people with zero credibility.”

November 19, 2013: Jamie Lynch forwarded talking points, at the request of Sen. Seitz, from Lisa Linowes, executive director of Wind Action Group Corp. to Craig Butler, former Assistant Policy Director for Energy, Agriculture and the Environment in Gov. Kasich’s office (Butler is now the director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency); former Public Utilities Commission Chairman Todd Snitchler; a list titled, “Public Utilities;” and rep27@ohiohouse.gov (presumably former Rep. Peter Stautberg). The talking points from Linowes were in response to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) oral testimony on SB 58.

November 20, 2013: Jamie Lynch forwarded information, at the request of Sen. Seitz, from Lisa Linowes, executive director of Wind Action Group Corp. to Senator Obhof; Senator Widener; Senator Faber; Craig Butler; “Public Utilities;” and rep27@ohiohouse.gov.

November 20, 2013: Jamie Lynch forwarded talking points, at the request of Sen. Seitz, from Nicholas E. D’Angelo, an independent lobbyist at the time and former policy advisor to Ohio House Speaker William Batchelder, regarding an amendment to SB 58. As an independent lobbyist, D’Angelo’s clients included Direct Energy, one of North America’s largest retail suppliers of natural gas and electricity.

December 2, 2013: Michael Beirne at American Municipal Power emailed Jamie Lynch his responses to Marcus Roth of Gongwer News Service after the “wind folks went to Gongwer” regarding the “policy rationale for adding old hydro plants to the RPS.”

December 27, 2013: Jamie Lynch, at the request of Sen. Seitz, emailed Tom Raga (DP&L) and Mike Brello (AEP), to get an update on how to respond to “allegations” that SB 58 will cost Ohio families more money. Raga is now Dayton Power & Light’s president and CEO.

For access to all the emails, click this DocumentCloud link: http://bit.ly/1Kh5IV0

For the timeline of how Ohio state’s energy efficiency and renewable energy standards became frozen, click here: http://bit.ly/1KSHJil

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About E&PI: The Energy and Policy Institute is a pro-clean energy think tank working to expose attacks on clean technology and counter misinformation by fossil fuel and utility interests. 

Posted by Matt Kasper

Matt Kasper is the Research Director at the Energy & Policy Institute. He focuses on defending policies that further the development of clean energy sources. He also frequently focuses on the companies and their front groups that obstruct policy solutions to global warming. His work has appeared in The Guardian, the Huffington Post, the Washington Post, and other outlets.

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