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PUCO chief blasts ‘green’ energy on Twitter; Is this appropriate behavior for a state utility regulator? Objectivity??? January 17, 2013

Posted by Laura Arnold in Uncategorized.
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Dear IndianaDG Readers:

OK, so this guy is not tweeting about open cases before the Public Utility Commission of Ohio (PUCO) but it does appear to me that he is inherently biased and does not have an objective and open mind about renewable energy. Isn’t that bad enough for someone who should be an impartial judge making decisions based on the evidence presented in the record. I thought things here in Indiana were bad in the past but I think things are now much better under Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) Chairman Jim Atterholt after the departure of David Lott Hardy.

This might be on par though with action when last year Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels put  on his recommended Christmas Book List Robert Bryce’s  book entitled, Power Hungry: The Myths of “Green” Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future. No problem though now. Daniels is no longer Indiana’s Governor. Now Daniels is the new President of Purdue University.

Laura Ann Arnold

PUCO chief blasts ‘green’ energy on Twitter.

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PUCO observers say Chairman Todd Snitchler is unusually vocal about his opinion

By Darrel Rowland                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

The Columbus Dispatch–Saturday January 12, 2013 6:04 AM

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio’s ruling this week against a solar-energy project may not have come as a surprise to anyone following Chairman Todd Snitchler’s Twitter account.

The former lawmaker from Uniontown, Ohio, frequently shares material critical of solar, wind and“green” energy, even re-tweeting a story called “Elites of West have cranked up myth of Global Warming” from Pravda, a Communist Party-connected newspaper in Russia, calling it “interesting.”

Among more than 1,000 tweets from the past year, Snitchler did not once share anything positive about renewable energy. Instead, he tweeted about how “clean-energy aid racks up losses” and “the Himalayas and nearby peaks have lost no ice in past 10 years, study shows”; shared the conservative website Drudge Report’s “complete list of green energy failures” and conservative political commentator Laura Ingraham’s “windbag & greeniac update”; and re-tweeted “electric cars pose environmental threat,” “after Sandy no one lined up for wind turbines” and that the “  ‘green’religion is taking over from Christian religion.”

The social medium Twitter allows users to communicate in messages of up to 140 characters, and to re-tweet others’ messages, which often include links to websites.

The Republican, who uses Ronald Reagan in front of an American flag for his Twitter photo, also tweets about the shortcomings of Barack Obama, the press and those advocating gun control.

Following the president’s re-election, Snitchler tweeted: “Last night’s big winner: the politics of personal destruction.” Two days after the school shootings in Connecticut last month, he re-tweeted: “Would it be too much trouble to enforce the gun laws already on the books?”

Snitchler notes on his Twitter bio that “these tweets are mine and do not reflect the views of the PUCO or anyone else.” However, he commingles notices of PUCO hearings and official news with his personal observations.

Snitchler would not talk in person about his Twitter account, instead relaying answers through Jason Gilham, the PUCO’s deputy public-affairs director, who noted, “There’s no references to any open cases.”

About the same time, Snitchler was tweeting, “Say goodnight Gracie…”

Gilham said all five commission members undoubtedly have their own opinions, which is one reason the law mandates bipartisan representation.

But longtime observers of the utilities commission say past chairmen were never so vociferous or openly partisan about their opinions.

“I would say they were a little more circumspect,” said William Spratley, who was state consumers’ counsel from when the office was formed in 1977 to 1993. He now runs Green Energy Ohio, a nonprofit group he founded 13 years ago that educates the public on solar and wind issues.

By law, Snitchler also is chairman of the Ohio Power Siting Board, which considers whether proposed major wind or solar facilities are in the public interest.

Snitchler voted along with a majority of PUCO members this week to nix the Turning Point Solar project, a 49.9-megawatt photovoltaic array planned by American Electric Power for southeast of Zanesville. PUCO staff had recommended to the governing board that the project was needed. The facility, which would have brought an estimated 300 construction jobs and 300 manufacturing jobs, would have been the largest project of its type east of the Rockies. AEP, which was denied permission to assess ratepayers for the undertaking, is now considering funding alternatives.

Gilham said there was nothing in Wednesday’s PUCO order that discounts the merits of the solar project.

The Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel would not comment on the tweets.

drowland@dispatch.com

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