Energy / Freeze on Clean Energy

Bill to weaken clean energy standards progresses despite Kasich opposition

COLUMBUS — “The latest proposal to weaken Ohio’s clean-energy standards is on a fast track, as a key lawmaker said today that he wants to see the measure pass on the House floor within a matter of weeks.

But that doesn’t change the underlying reality that Gov. John Kasich opposes the plan, a stance he reiterated this week.

House Bill 114 had its first hearing before the House Public Utilities Committee today. The measure says the renewable-energy mandates would become optional, and energy efficiency standards would be reduced. This is a revision to a 2008 law that set the rules, which must be followed by electricity utilities.

…Opponents of the bill say the clean-energy rules should remain in place because they are good for the economy and the environment. Also, opponents note that Kasich vetoed a similar bill in December.

‘The House is picking a fight it can’t win,’ said Samantha Williams, an attorney for the National Resources Defense Council. ‘They should be taking the lead to support an industry that employs 100,000 Ohioans and saves money for families and businesses, rather than pulling the rug out from under it.’

The bill’s chief sponsor, Rep. Louis Blessing, R-Cincinnati, said mandates have an ‘inequitable nature’ because some energy sources are favored over others.”

— Dan Gearino, Columbus Dispatch

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