May 11, 2017
Jeffrey Bezos, Chairman, President, and CEO
1200 12th Ave. South, Suite 1200
Seattle, WA 98144-2734
Dear Mr. Bezos,
As concerned citizens, scientists, business leaders, conservationists, and community leaders, we applaud your commitment to clean energy and job creation in Ohio and around the nation. Thanks to your leadership, Amazon.com has created thousands of jobs in Ohio fulfillment centers, and invested heavily in wind farms in Ohio.
We are writing to urge you to expand Amazon’s commitment to clean energy and job creation by including nuclear energy in Amazon’s definition of renewables. Doing so would save Ohio’s nuclear plants, Davis-Besse and Perry, which provide 90 percent of Ohio’s electricity from clean energy, and 1,400 high-paying green jobs.
If Ohio’s nuclear plants are allowed to close they will be replaced overwhelmingly by coal and other fossil fuels. No amount of intermittent solar or wind energy can provide the 24-7, emissions-free electricity that nuclear plants provide. Only nuclear energy can provide the reliable and clean electricity required by Ohio’s cities and industries, including Amazon’s data and fulfillment centers.
Ohio’s nuclear plants are at risk of closing because they are excluded from the federal subsidies that make Amazon’s investments in wind profitable, but also from Ohio’s renewable portfolio standard and large corporate commitments to clean energy including Amazon’s. Solar and wind have grown significantly during a time of cheap natural gas due to federal and state subsidies and renewable energy mandates. If Davis-Besse and Perry received a fraction of the subsidies that wind and solar receive, or were included in Amazon and Ohio’s definition of renewables, they would continue to operate for many years into the future.
Ohio is already one of the most polluted states in the nation. There is a growing body of scientific evidence showing that the closure of nuclear plants results in higher pollution and lower infant birthweight, an important indicator of future health outcomes. If Davis-Besse and Perry close, Ohio would likely have the third smallest share of clean energy and the highest rate of premature deaths from particulate matter in the nation.
You have the power to prevent such an unfortunate outcome from occurring. Governor John Kasich frequently points to Amazon’s commitment to power its Amazon Web Services (AWS) data centers with 100 percent renewables as reason for his support for Ohio’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS). If Amazon were to include nuclear in its definition of renewables, then Governor Kasich and Ohio legislators would have a very strong incentive to end the discrimination against nuclear and keep Davis-Besse and Perry running for many years to come.
There are precedents for including nuclear in both state and corporate clean energy policies. Last year, Illinois and New York saved their nuclear plants by modifying discriminatory state renewable energy mandates and recognizing nuclear energy for its environmental benefits. And Google has said it may source some of the clean energy it needs for its data centers from nuclear power.
You and Amazon can go beyond those positive steps and lead the growing movement to end the discrimination against nuclear. We applaud your recent investments in nuclear fusion, and urge you to consider the harmful impact of closing today’s nuclear power plants before society can develop new ones. If Amazon becomes a clean energy leader by ending the discrimination against nuclear, your impact will reverberate not only within but also far beyond Ohio’s borders.
We are grateful for your consideration, and look forward to hearing from you soon.
James Hansen, Climate Science, Awareness, and Solutions Program, Columbia University, Earth Institute, Columbia University
Jim Swartz, Founder, Accel Partners
Stewart Brand, Founder, Whole Earth Catalog, The Long Now Foundation
Daniel Aegerter, Chairman, Armada Investment
Steve Kirsch, CEO, Token
Steven Pinker, Harvard University, author of Better Angels of Our Nature
Richard Rhodes, Pulitzer Prize recipient, author of Nuclear Renewal and The Making of the Atomic Bomb
Heather Dewitz, Member, Benton-Carroll-Salem Board of Education
Mayor Joe Helle, Oak Harbor, Ohio
City Councilman Rick Walker, Perry Village, Ohio
Erle Ellis, Ph.D, Professor, Geography & Environmental Systems, University of Maryland
Kerry Emanuel, Professor of Atmospheric Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
David Lea, Professor, Earth Science, University of California
Michelle Marvier, Professor, Environmental Studies and Sciences, Santa Clara University
Elizabeth Muller, Founder and Executive Director, Berkeley Earth
Richard A. Muller, Professor of Physics, UC Berkeley, Co-Founder, Berkeley Earth
Kirsty Gogan, Executive Director, Energy for Humanity
Joshua S. Goldstein, Prof. Emeritus of International Relations, American University
Joseph Lassiter, Professor, Harvard Business School
John Lavine, Professor and Medill Dean Emeritus, Northwestern University
Martin Lewis, Department of Geography, Stanford University
Norris McDonald, President, Environmental Hope and Justice
Paul Robbins, Director, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison
 Federal and state subsidies for solar add up to over 12 cents per kilowatt hour — seven times the cost of the proposed subsidy to save Ohio’s nuclear plants.
 Ohio currently has the highest total number of premature deaths from particulate matter, and the third-highest death rate. Source: Caiazzo, F., Ashok, A., Waitz, I. A., Yim, S. H., & Barrett, S. R. 2013. Air pollution and early deaths in the United States. Part I: Quantifying the impact of major sectors in 2005. Atmospheric Environment, 79, 198-208.