Energy / Freeze on Clean Energy

A misbegotten Senate energy bill that looks backward, not forward: editorial

Solar panels soak up the winter sun at a six-acre Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority solar farm near CMHA headquarters in Cleveland. (Gus Chan, The Plain Dealer)

Solar panels soak up the winter sun at a six-acre Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority solar farm near CMHA headquarters in Cleveland. (Gus Chan, The Plain Dealer)

CLEVELAND — “The proposed Senate freeze, Senate Bill 310, introduced by State Sen. Troy Balderson, a Zanesville Republican, wouldn’t just suspend the 2008 law, letting it kick in again, automatically, at some date ‘X.’ The freeze would also mean that Ohio would have to pass an entirely new law that might, or might not, match 2008’s.

Yet S.B 221 was — and is — a fair if belated attempt to re-balance Ohio’s energy and environmental needs. That was a notable accomplishment in 2008, because Ohio historically had made the state’s environment take a back seat to its belching electric power plants. Even now, among the 50 states, only Indiana and California have air pollution worse than Ohio’s, according to the United Health Foundation’s America’s Health Rankings.

The 2008 law’s benchmarks slowly phase in through 2024. That sets a roughly 15-year sequence for compliance. Only five of those 15 years have elapsed. A freeze would stop a balanced and calibrated undertaking just one-third of the way into its planned span. Even for a term-limited legislature, that’d be the acme of shortsightedness.”

— editorial, Cleveland Plain Dealer

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