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A new study shows health disparities cost Texas billions of dollars; Senate rejects impeachment articles against Mayorkas, ending trial against Cabinet secretary; Iowa cuts historical rural school groups.

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The Senate dismisses the Mayorkas impeachment. Maryland Lawmakers fail to increase voting access. Texas Democrats call for better Black maternal health. And polling confirms strong support for access to reproductive care, including abortion.

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Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

FirstEnergy abandons interim clean energy goals to address climate change

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Wednesday, February 21, 2024   

Ohio-based FirstEnergy also comes in "first" to eliminate its short-term 2030 emissions reduction goal amid an ongoing bribery investigation related to Ohio House Bill 6.

The bill bailed out coal and nuclear plants while rolling back clean-energy standards. FirstEnergy fired executives after admitting to bribing the former chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.

David Anderson, policy and communications manager for the clean energy watchdog group Energy and Policy Institute, argued although FirstEnergy has fired much of its leadership, its decision shows it is not serious about showing itself as a reformed company committed to helping the world and addressing climate change despite its claims.

"What we saw was FirstEnergy trying to 'talk the talk,' but not 'walk the walk,' when it announced that it is going to eliminate its climate goals for 2030," Anderson contended. "And really just showed in stark form that FirstEnergy is still the same dirty utility company that it's always been."

In its fourth-quarter earnings conference call and presentation, FirstEnergy leaders said they cannot meaningfully cut emissions because the company's two West Virginia coal plants are crucial to ensuring adequate regional electricity supplies. They have therefore decided to abandon the interim emission goal.

The 2050 long-term goal will remain intact. Anderson emphasized climate scientists believe an acceleration to decarbonize the electricity sector by 2030 is the only chance of hitting the broader global goals of decarbonizing the world by 2050.

Anderson noted customers in the region have options for energy, although choices are limited.

"There is definitely growth in Ohio in the renewable energy sector, and we have seen some wind and solar farms built over the last decade or so," Anderson acknowledged. "There's also a lot of strong interest among major corporations in securing more of the power that they buy from cleaner renewable sources, recognizing that's what their own customers want."

Anderson pointed out there is a lot of pushback and opposition to renewable energy projects. He emphasized in much of the 2010s and up until the FBI raided former Public Utilities Commission of Ohio Chairman Sam Randazzo's home and the recent indictment of FirstEnergy leaders, lobbyists worked significantly against clean energy sources and raising costs for everyday people to get access.


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