The Rios for Governor Campaign and the Green Party of Ohio issued a joint statement today regarding the signing into law of Senate Bill 310, by Ohio Governor John Kasich. This new law freezes at current levels renewable energy standards originally passed unanimously by the State legislature in 2008, and reauthorized in 2012.
The standards in place of the last 6 years required Ohio utilities to ensure that an increasing portion of the energy they sold came from renewable sources, such as wind or solar. The law also required that energy firms take the lead in creating more energy efficiency options for their customers.
The new law, freezes such efforts at 2014 levels for 3 years, in order for a newly formed committee to study the standards. In 2017, those standards could be permanently frozen.
By signing this new law, Governor Kasich has allowed Ohio to become the first state in the country to retreat from renewable energy. This action was taken despite the urging of numerous environmental organizations, citizens and companies that operate in Ohio.
Bob Fitrakis, Co-Chair of the Ohio Green Party and Lt. Governor candidate, stated “Governor Kasich has taken a giant step backwards, committing the people of Ohio to fossil fuels and dirty coal that will make our people sick and lead to future wars for oil. Kasich has demonstrated he is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the fossil fuel industry, FirstEnergy, Duke Energy, and his policies are equally fossilized.”
Ohio had benefited from the standards in pace, seeing over 125,000 green jobs created (2007-2010) and realizing a 8.5% growth in clean energy industries. 27 wind farms and 8 utility-scale projects had been announced or were already under construction due to the standards just discarded.
The Ohio economy as a whole, by way of comparison, has seen a 6.1% decrease with a loss of nearly 350,000 jobs in the same time period.
The state of Ohio garners most of its energy from coal, and spends over $1.5 billion yearly to bring coal into the state. This is money that is being spent unnecessarily and money that could be used to provide Ohioans with jobs and economic security.
Green Party of Ohio gubernatorial candidate Anita Rios said of the decision, “With global warming posing an imminent threat to all Ohioans, we need to be embracing renewable energy which is now feasible and viable — and actually less expensive than the dirty alternatives that Kasich can’t wean himself from.”
The freezing of renewable energy standards will place the State of Ohio at the bottom of the list in terms of attracting investor monies and the potential economic growth of the industry. Neighboring states will now leapfrog over Ohio and see the benefits, while Ohioans can look forward to a shrinking economy, more health issues and higher energy bills.