Coal / Energy / Renewable Energy

How fossil fuel allies are tearing apart Ohio’s embrace of clean energy

With scare studies, policy drafts and political donations, industry groups turned Ohio lawmakers against policies they once overwhelmingly supported

COLUMBUS — “On March 30, Bill Seitz, a charismatic Republican, took to the floor of the Ohio House to make a case for gutting a 2008 law designed to speed the adoption of solar and wind as significant sources of electricity in the state. The law, he warned, ‘is like something out of the 5-Year Plan playbook of Joseph Stalin.’ Adopting a corny Russian accent, he said, ‘Vee vill have 25,000 trucks on the Volga by 1944!’

Nine years before, Seitz and his colleagues, Republicans and Democrats alike, had voted overwhelmingly for the measure he now compared to the work of a Communist dictator. It made Ohio the 25th state to embrace requirements and inducements to lure utilities away from coal, a major contributor of the gases fueling global climate change. Studies suggested the law would help create green energy jobs and boost the Ohio economy—and it has.

Now, Seitz said, it was obsolete. Natural gas, rapidly displacing coal, was the resource Ohio ought to foster, he said. He also argued the law gives an unfair advantage to wind and solar when the state’s last nuclear plant is fighting for its life. Most important, Seitz insisted, the government had no business telling anyone what kind of energy to buy. By the time he was done, he had secured a veto-proof majority to undo key parts of the law.

What happened to turn lawmakers so decisively against a statute they’d adopted 93-to-1 less than a decade ago?”

— Brad Wieners and David Hasemyer, Inside Climate News

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