News and Notes: Ohio
Newsy bits from our fair state:
Strickland Announces Wind Project Grants; Coal Plants Opposed - Mark Niquette reports in The Daily Briefing that today Gov. Ted Strickand (D) followed up yesterday's speech presenting his energy plan by announcing grants worth up to $5 million from the Ohio Wind Production and Manufacturing Incentive Program for two wind energy projects, one in Champaign and Logan Counties and the other in Wood County. Environmentalists are in favor of renewable alternative energy sources like wind and solar, but are deeply skeptical about "clean coal" and coal gasification. ActForChange.com is conducting a campaign that calls on Ohioans to contact Strickland and local lawmakers and urge them to oppose two coal-fired plants planned for Meigs County. However, coal is a huge resource in Ohio and Strickland is from coal country. There is tremendous pressure on Strickland and the legislature to include coal technologies in Ohio's energy plan.
Homeownership Preservation Clinic Underway in Cleveland - The U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development is sponsoring a six-hour clinic today (2:00 pm to 8:00 pm) at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Cleveland, where borrowers who are having difficulty making their monthly mortgage payments can meet with representatives from fifteen area loan servicers, as well as attend workshops and meet with housing counselors about ways to prevent foreclosure. The clinic is being supported by the Ohio Treasurer, Ohio Department of Commerce, and Ohio Housing Finance Agency, who note that "the number of foreclosures is expected to increase in the next two years as many adjustable rate mortgages with lower 'teaser' rates are reset to higher interest rates and higher monthly payments." If unable to work out terms with their lender, borrowers at risk are encouraged to call the HOPE Hotline at 888-995-HOPE (4673).
Fedor Endorses Union-Backed Fuel Economy Measure - Ohio Senate Minority Leader Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) today filed a resolution in the Ohio Senate backing passage of a bill in Congress to raise the corporate fuel economy (CAFE) standard from the present 27.5 mpg to 32 mpg by the year 2022. Former Secretary of Transportation Rodney Slater hosted a press conference to praise the measure. However, as pointed out today on The Daily Briefing, environmental groups favor a stronger measure, already passed by the U.S. Senate, that would raise the CAFE standard faster - to 35 mpg by 2020. Fedor (and the United Auto Workers) say the slower measure is needed avoid harming the domestic auto industry, and thus protect jobs. However, a recent analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists concluded that switching to the higher 35 mpg standard by 2018 would "increase US employment by 241,000 jobs in the year 2020, including 23,900 in the auto industry."