Democratic gubernatorial nominee Ed FitzGerald released the following statement on the announcement from the Governor’s office that Kasich intends to sign SB 310 into law, which will make Kasich the first Governor in the nation to freeze renewable energy and efficiency standards.
“Tonight, Governor Kasich’s office announced that he intends to move Ohio’s economy, families, and environment backwards. SB 310 will force utility prices to rise, and cost Ohioans thousands of jobs. In signing this bill, Governor Kasich will align himself with the Koch Brothers and the wealthy and well connected — and against working Ohioans. As Governor, I will work to make Ohio a national energy leader, rather than make headlines for trapping Ohio in the Rust Belt.”
The Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity threw their support behind the bill that makes Ohio the first state in the nation to “significantly ease its renewable-energy standards.” However, Ohio Manufacturers’ Association as well as several other conservative-leaning business groups opposed the bill. Thanks to the freeze, an American Electric Power project that would have created 4,000 new jobs in Ohio before 2019 is also put on hold.
Read more information on this issue here.
Kasich should veto Senate Bill 310 as a still-flawed energy rewrite
EDITORIAL BOARD: Cleveland Plain Dealer | 5.28.14
Senate Bill 310, which imposes a two-year freeze on Ohio’s renewable-energy and energy-efficiency standards, is headed to Gov. John Kasich’s desk after the Ohio House passed the flawed measure Wednesday and the state Senate concurred.
Thanks in part to Kasich’s behind-the-scenes work, SB 310 is less obnoxious than it was. Kasich has said he will sign the measure.
The governor instead should veto it.
SB 310 is more than a simple freeze; the bill also will chill what have been burgeoning alternative-energy investments in a state, and during a governorship, that aims to create Ohio jobs.
Kasich also should veto the bill because the House shunned a common-sense compromise jointly suggested by the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association and the Office of Ohio Consumers’ Counsel. Among other features, the compromise would have limited the freeze to one year. Later Wednesday, the Senate concurred, 21-11, in the House’s amendments. That sent SB 310 to Kasich.
SB 310 also deserves a veto because of the arrogance displayed by the chairman of the House Public Utilities Committee, Rep. Peter Stautberg, a lame-duck suburban Cincinnati Republican. He refused to let the panel even discuss an amendment embodying the Manufacturers’ plan sought by a fellow Republican, Rep. Mike Duffey of Worthington. Procedurally, that was outrageous.
During Wednesday’s House floor debate, Republicans who favored SB 310 said it already included plenty of compromises (presumably a reference to some of what Kasich helped add). And the bill, its supporters noted, is backed by the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Business and Ohio Council of Retail Merchants.
Also supporting SB 310 are Ohio’s coal- and gas- and nuclear-fueled electric utilities — a point Republicans didn’t highlight.
SB 310’s fans claim renewable-energy and energy-efficiency standards, set by the General Assembly in 2008 with just one “no” vote, will kick back in after the freeze. In fact, according to the Manufacturers’ Association, the bill, post-freeze, will water down energy-efficiency standards. That’s not a simple standstill.
Is SB 310 a better bill than it was? Yes, partly thanks to Kasich. Is SB 310 the best bill of its type Kasich may get from this legislature? Maybe. But neither of those factors can make an unacceptable bill, passed unacceptably, fair. Senate Bill 310 deserves a veto.
What People Are Saying About SB 310
Ohio’s veterans, business owners, religious leaders, and lawmakers are speaking out against Governor Kasich’s decision to sign SB 310 – and it’s making national headlines. While the House Republican Speaker seems amazed that “some people really believe in this green stuff,” other Ohioans are less amused by Governor Kasich siding with Koch Brothers against lower utility prices and new jobs.
New York Times: A Pushback on Green Power: “As renewable energy production has surged in recent years, opponents of government policies that have helped spur its growth have pushed to roll back those incentives and mandates in state after state. On Wednesday, they claimed their first victory, when Ohio lawmakers voted to freeze the phasing-in of power that utilities must buy from renewable energy sources.”
Salon: The war against renewable energy just claimed its first victory in Ohio: “While the rest of the country moves to embrace cheaper, cleaner energy, Ohio is about to make a major leap backward. The state House of Representatives approved a bill late Wednesday that will roll back its renewable energy standard (RES) — effectively voting in favor of fossil fuels.”
MSNBC: ‘It’s an example of Ohio returning to the Dark Ages’: “The measure doesn’t completely eliminate Ohio’s renewable energy rules; it just renders them meaningless for a couple of years, at which point policymakers will presumably take another look. The severity of the climate crisis will only get worse in the interim, though that apparently isn’t alarming to the new policy’s proponents.”
ThinkProgress: Ohio Is Poised To Be The First State To Roll Back Its Renewable Energy Standard: “Since the standard came into effect, Ohio’s clean energy sector provided 25,000 jobs and at least $1 billion in private sector investment. This has saved ratepayers roughly $230 million, dropping electricity rates by almost a percent and a half. So who is driving the opposition to the standards? Akron-based, coal-dominated utility FirstEnergy has been leading the charge, with a group of utilities spending $694,000 to donate to state legislators.”
Ohio Manufacturers’ Association: SB 310 “will drive up electricity costs for customers and undermine manufacturing competitiveness in Ohio.”
Catholic Conference of Ohio: “Through firsthand experience, we have come to appreciate the impact the current energy portfolio standards have on improving the energy efficiency of church facilities and individual households. For example, the economic rebate incentives have allowed for affordable boiler replacement and lighting retrofit projects in many of our buildings…We ask you to prayerfully consider if it would be more prudent for the sake of environmental stewardship to maintain our current policies and not freeze these standards while the study takes place.”
Governor Ted Strickland: “It’s an example of Ohio returning to the Dark Ages”
Zach Roberts, a National Guard veteran and the Ohio director of Operation Free: “It’s pretty cut and dry. You either diversify your energy portfolio to ensure the energy brought into the civilian grid in the event there is a situation or you don’t. And when you don’t you are gambling with the energy security.”
Michael Speerschneider, chief permitting and public policy officer for EverPower, which recently won approval to develop a 176-turbine project in Ohio, said the ruling would make it more difficult to find a buyer for the power, dimming prospects for doing business in the state: “We came to Ohio based on the policies that were in place. Changing that now, freezing it, just sends a message that says, ‘Now, we don’t want you here anymore.’ ”
Michael E. Webber, deputy director of the Energy Institute at the University of Texas at Austin: “It used to be that renewables was this Kumbaya, come-together moment for Republicans and Democrats. The intellectual rhetoric around why you would want renewables has been lost and replaced by partisanship.”
Ted Ford, Ohio Advanced Energy Economy: “Halting the standards for two years will effectively shut down the state’s renewable industry, which has generated about $1.2 billion in investments. It’s like executing the prisoner and then holding the trial.”
Susan Makos, VP of Social Responsibility at Mercy Investment Services and a board member of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility: “This bill pulls the rug out from under the state’s growing renewable-energy and energy-efficiency industries. S.B. 310 moves Ohio backwards at a time when most other states are moving ahead in building a clean-energy economy. The Ohio House should vote no on S.B. 310.”
Ron DeLyons, Managing Principal and CEO of Creekwood Energy Partners: ” What is both surprising and disturbing is that SB 310 isn’t designed to increase our commitment to moving our clean economy forward. It needs to be stopped. Ohioans have spoken, and now policymakers need to listen.”
State Rep. Robert Hagan: “As the rest of the country is moving forward on energy efficiency and independence, Ohio is moving backward. Reversing our Renewable Portfolio Standards is completely irrational, and unfortunately Ohio consumers and businesses are the victims of the absurdity.”
David Kushma, Toledo Blade Editor: “How [Governor Kasich] responds will offer voters useful information about where Mr. Kasich’s political sympathies lie, during this year’s re-election campaign and possibly for a presidential run in two years.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer Editorial Board: “SB 310 is more than a simple freeze; the bill also will chill what have been burgeoning alternative-energy investments in a state, and during a governorship, that aims to create Ohio jobs. Kasich also should veto the bill because the House shunned a common-sense compromise jointly suggested by the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association and the Office of Ohio Consumers’ Counsel.”
Cincinnati Enquirer Editorial Board: “Last week. The Enquirer editorialized against SB 310. It’s appropriate to study whether the standards are working, but freezing them would almost certainly mean their eventual demise. Consumer groups argue that freezing the standards would mean higher bills for utility consumers, and supporters haven’t been able to adequately address these concerns. Investments have poured into Ohio’s alternative-energy industry in the past five years, and passing 310 would mark the state as an unpredictable place to do business.”
Plain Dealer: Strike that: Ed FitzGerald suggests line-item veto for energy bill, campaign says he misspoke: FitzGerald has in recent weeks called for a traditional veto on SB 310, which would freeze renewable energy standards through 2016 and ease other rules.
The Toledo Blade: Dem candidate opposes energy bill: Ed FitzGerald, Gov. John Kasich’s Democratic opponent in November, on Tuesday urged the governor to reject an energy bill that may soon reach his desk that the Cuyahoga County executive called “devastating for northwest Ohio.
WCPN: Opponents of Ohio Energy Standards Freeze Make TV Push: With the House weighing an energy standards freeze, opponents are mounting a big campaign to get their message out. Along with that commercial, Democratic nominee for governor Ed FitzGerald held a teleconference to discuss his opposition to the bill. FitzGerald said a freeze to the standards would hurt job growth and send a negative message to the rest of the country.