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Ohioans’ renewable energy future just took another step backward

COLUMBUS — “If you’re a supporter of clean and renewable energy, you know our state legislators often work against new forms of energy. And, today’s news of the Ohio Senate’s confirmation of Sam Randazzo as the chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) was yet another example.

With this one appointment, Governor DeWine and the entire legislature have put Ohio further behind, turned their backs on billions of dollars in economic development, thousands of jobs and cleaner air for our children.

They appointed Sam Randazzo knowing he has fought against renewable energy as a lawyer and former lobbyist with Industrial Energy Users-Ohio. He also successfully worked with Rep. Bill Seitz to end future wind development in Ohio in 2014 and has worked on legislation to roll-back Ohio’s modest renewable energy standards.

Rachael Belz, Executive Director, Ohio Citizen Action

Read our report opposing Randazzo’s nomination.

Randazzo’s application of a conflict-of-interest standard also bears scrutiny. In 2016 he objected to the nomination of Howard Petricoff, a lawyer with ties to the wind industry, siting conflict-of-interest.  As PUCO Chairman, he now will preside over both groups he represented and vehemently opposed.  We will join others in demanding he recuse himself from all matters involving his former clients and opponents.  However, we have serious doubt that he will do the ethical thing and recuse himself from the cases and projects he so adamantly fought against.

What this means for us, Ohioans who share a cleaner, greener vision of our energy future, is more work, more vigilance and more power-building. As the systems and agencies designed to protect the public’s interest become usurped by corporate interests bent on propping up coal and nuclear power, we must let them know we’re watching and fight back. Governor DeWine and Mr. Randazzo must hear from the pro-clean energy majority of their constituents, regularly and often. Our fight for Ohio’s renewable energy future depends on it.”

— Rachael Belz, executive director, Ohio Citizen Action