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As U.S. Leaps Ahead on Clean Energy, OH Gov. John Kasich Yanks His State Backwards

3 min. read

A new poll indicates that Americans are growing more doubtful about our future and our national institutions, with "the number of Americans who think the United States 'stands above all other countries' [having] declined from 38 percent three years ago to 28 percent today." One bright spot in that sea of gloom is clean energy. Wind power is seeing "unprecedented growth." Solar industry employment is booming. Energy storage and microgrids are starting to take hold. And the price of renewable energy continues to fall, with a recent article on Greentech Media indicating that solar has reached "grid parity in Utah, a coal state with no renewable standard."

All this great news is why it's so outrageous that Ohio Gov. John Kasich has become the first governor in America to sign a renewable energy freeze in his state.

It took two weeks, but now it’s official—Ohio is the nation’s first state to roll back renewable energy standards.

After the state House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 310 in May, Gov. John Kasich signature was all that was missing to ensure Ohio’s clean-energy fall from grace. The standards—first passed in 2008 and reauthorized two years ago—previously required the state’s utilities to sell more solar and wind energy each year and charged them with finding efficiency solutions for their customers. Kasich’s signing means the standards are put on hold until 2017, when a committee formed by the bill’s passage could agree to permanently freeze them.

Kasich signed the bill Friday without any comment to the media, The Plain Dealer reported.

That's right, Kasich is willing to crater the clean energy industry in his state - or at least take a stab at doing so - simply in order to take a check from the Koch brothers. The likely result?

“Dirtier air. Higher electric bills. Lost jobs and investment. These are the new ‘dividends’ in store for Ohio from this major divestiture in clean energy,” said Trish Demeter, managing director of Energy and Clean Air Programs for the Ohio Environmental Council (OEC).

[...]

“With this legislation, Gov. Kasich is moving the state backwards while monopoly utilities like FirstEnergy and AEP will see even greater profits,” Sierra Club campaign representative Daniel Sawmiller said in a statement. “Ohioans can now expect higher electricity bills, fewer jobs in the clean energy manufacturing and construction industries, and increased pollution.

“Gov. Kasich promised Ohioans he would protect Ohio families, create Ohio jobs, and champion clean energy technologies. By signing this devastating bill, he has decided to ignore the health and economic interests of everyday Ohioans in favor of big corporations. We need Gov. Kasich to be strong on energy efficiency, renewable energy, and green jobs to move Ohio forward.”

Not that the Koch brothers care about anything except their narrow, economic self interest, but you'd think that the governor of a state would care more about the economic prospects of his citizens. In the case of Ohio, we're talking about on the order of "126,855 green jobs," with "Ohio's clean economy...also adding jobs at a much faster rate than the state's overall economy." Again, why would Gov. Kasich want to interfere with a success story like that? Perhaps, as this article reports, it has something to do with the fact that "[a]mong Kasich's maximum or near-maximum contributors were...conservative industrialist David Koch -- one half of the politically influential Koch brothers duo." Funny how that works, isn't it?

Topics: Public Affairs