Making good on his promise, Governor John Kasich vetoed legislation Dec. 27 that would have weakened and delayed implementation of the state’s successful clean energy standards that had been “frozen” by the Ohio legislature two years ago (SB 310). The standards will now go back into effect as of January 1, 2017.
“Governor Kasich’s veto sends the signal that Ohio is back in the clean energy game, and ready to deliver good jobs and a healthy environment to businesses and families,” said Samantha Williams, Staff Attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “While the lawmakers who fast-tracked this legislation seem determined to freeze Ohio in the past, the Administration wisely sees that embracing the clean energy shift that is already underway can only help the state move forward. Jobs and investment are coming to the region—the Governor is right to steer them to Ohio.”
Governor Kasich’s veto of HB 554 is a rare rejection of legislation passed by the Ohio legislature’s Republican super-majority, which failed to muster a veto-proof vote margin for the energy bill. Over the last year, Governor Kasich had repeatedly promised to veto such legislation, calling any further delays in implementing the clean energy standards “unacceptable.” Gov. Kasich’s veto is a signal to the growing number of businesses that want clean energy that they can find it in Ohio, not just in Michigan and Illinois, two neighboring states led by Republican governors that have recently upped the ante on their own clean energy standards.
Business opposition to continuing the clean energy freeze was strong, led by national companies like Campbell Soup, Nestle, and Whirlpool Corporation, which collectively employ more than 25,000 people in Ohio. Overall, businesses made the case that uncertainty over the energy standards prevented them from making large-scale investments in the state or had already pushed jobs out-of-state.
The clean energy standards have broad support from Ohioans, who see firsthand the bill savings from energy efficiency and renewable energy programs, and the environmental and health communities, who championed the standards as a hedge against climate change, a major threat to public health.
Statement by Joe Logan, President, Ohio Farmers Union on Veto of HB 554:
“In 2008, Ohio took a bipartisan and forward-thinking approach to the state’s electrical energy needs and promoted that 25 percent of our state’s electrical generation would be from renewables by 2025.
“The Ohio Farmers Union supported this then, argued against the freeze in 2014 and today we applaud Gov. John Kasich’s veto of HB 554.
“Many of Ohio’s family farmers look forward to a future of American energy independence and see economic opportunities for rural Ohio in the renewable energy sector.
“Gov. Kasich’s action today ensures that Ohio remains a leader in renewable energy – an important selling point for many businesses as they choose where to expand operations. Many consumers have benefited from other aspects of the 2008 legislation such as energy efficiency investments.
“Gov. Kasich chose the right path today and this bodes well for Ohioans both rural and urban.”
Information for this story was provided by the NRDC, the Ohio Farmers Union and Gov. Kasich’s office.