The Zehnder Weekly: How Obama Cost the Ohio Valley Hundreds of Jobs

Obama promised to create jobs. He has created few, if any jobs. Not only that but he has cost us jobs. Let me give you a specific example of how Obama cost the Ohio Valley, where I live, hundreds of jobs.

Obama implemented the Cap and Trade program, causing the rise of electricity rates. “Under my plan, or a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket,” he said.

In 2013, Ormet aluminum smelting company located in Hannibal, Ohio, filed for bankruptcy and shut down in October  of 2013 costing the Ohio Valley at least six hundred jobs.

Ormet requested a reduction in its power rates from the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO). PUCO gave some relief in partnership with Ormet’s power company, AEP: “The lower the market price of aluminum, the lower Ormet’s electric rate would be,” reports Bloomberg. However, that was still not sufficient: “Under Ormet’s proposal, the price of aluminum would have to increase by 65 percent before it would pay anything for the massive amount of power it consumes,” according to Bloomberg.

“The bottom line is, the worldwide price for aluminum is so low that Ormet can’t break even, much less turn a profit,” reports the Columbus Dispatch. Due to Ormet’s struggling financial situation, they were struggling to pay their massive power bill to AEP.

As with everything, the situation has been politicized. The former employees of Ormet who are members of the United Steelworkers Union have pressured Governor Kasich to subsidize Ormet so that it can reopen. However, in this situation Governor Kasich’s is powerless to intervene. “The governor can’t intervene the way the union has asked him to; by ordering the head of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio to give Ormet an even richer subsidy on its electricity costs. The PUCO is an independent body not controlled by Kasich. And even if Kasich did intervene in some way to give the aluminum-smelting firm a deal, keeping the plant open would require large subsidies, and it does not make economic sense for the state as a whole to continue to prop up the operation,” reports the Columbus Dispatch.

Not only has Obama cost the Ohio Valley hundreds of jobs, but AEP customers are still subsidizing the remainder of Ormet’s electricity bill which they failed to pay AEP when the plant closed in October of 2013. This could cost AEP customers up to $2.8 billion dollars over the next ten years.

Sadly, this problem is not unique to the Ohio Valley, or even the State of Ohio. “The situation is similar to that at Ravenswood, where Century Aluminum says it must have a rate reduction to restart its smelter, and in several other states where aluminum companies are requesting lower electric rates as a condition to keep their operations open,” reports the State Journal.

So if we’re going to blame a politician for this, let’s not blame governor Kasich for this; he was powerless to reverse the situation. Let’s blame Obama and his Cap and Trade bill, which he himself admitted would lead to the rise of electricity prices.

Follow Katherine on Twitter: @kathzeh
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