Democratic lawmakers today contrasted harmful energy legislation passed by Republicans with recent findings on the attitudes of Ohioans on renewable energy. State Reps. Dan Ramos (D-Lorain), Michael Ashford (D-Toledo) and Mike Foley (D-Cleveland) pointed to energy policies such as Senate Bill 310, which contradict the attitudes of Ohioans, environmental experts and business leaders on the need for renewable energy in Ohio.
A recent bipartisan poll released by Re-AMP, a Midwest collaboration of environmental advocacy organizations, found that Ohioans strongly support renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, especially as methods of job creation. Yet, Gov. Kasich and Republican lawmakers passed SB 310 this year, which puts a two-year freeze on all renewable energy standards and threatens energy efficiency projects in Ohio.
“Many of the concerns we heard in committee on SB 310 are the same concerns we’re hearing from Ohioans today,” said Rep. Ashford. “Ohioans know that a commitment to renewable energy leads to job creation, energy savings and a safe environment in the future. Ohio should not be catering to special interests at the cost of good jobs and energy savings.”
The renewable energy standards, passed with support from both parties in 2008, created more than 3,200 jobs in Ohio and saved Ohioans $1.3 billion over the course of four years. The freeze on these standards is estimated to cost Ohioans $4 billion in energy savings and 4,000 jobs in renewable energy fields. Despite the opposition of 73 companies and organizations in Ohio to the freeze, the legislature passed SB 310 essentially along party lines.
“The freeze on renewable energy standards reverses all of the progress Ohio has made over recent years in the energy sector. Our state had the opportunity to stand out as a leader in the field of renewable energy, and now we have let that opportunity slip. It is a loss for our state as a whole and for the hundreds of thousands of Ohioans who remain desperate to find work,” said Rep. Ramos.
Republican lawmakers claim the freeze on renewable energy standards will allow time to study the standards and understand their impact. House leadership recently announced that a committee created through SB 310 is currently being organized to study the standards.
“The creation of this committee is a complete sham and utterly meaningless with regard to supporting an advanced energy economy,” said Rep. Foley. “While real issues like the failing economy and charter school reform remain unaddressed, the GOP feels the need to set up phony hearings to continue to undermine investments that Ohioans generally support.”