Ohio’s State Senate plans to start moving a bill (SB 58) by State Senator Bill Seitz this week that would severely weaken the renewable energy standards that Ohio passed in 2008. We posted about about the bill back in June. Since then, nearly every paper in the state, as well as Ohio’s largest corporations, has come out against the changes Seitz in proposing.
As the The Cleveland Plain Dealer pointed out back in October, the current standards passed nearly-unanimously in 2008, with both Bill Seitz and House Speaker Bill Batchelder voting for the bill. The PD editorial urges lawmakers to “leave well enough alone.”
“Ohio’s air is still too dirty. Ohio’s power sources are still too narrow,” writes the Plain Dealer. “And Ohio’s General Assembly has more than enough unfinished business to keep it plenty busy without replacing a very well-thought-out law with one that’s anything but.”
The Toledo Blade, in a September editorial, recognized that the existing energy standards law “has encouraged the creation of 25,000 clean-energy jobs in Ohio, and another 10,000 in energy-efficiency initiatives. For every dollar invested in efficiency, consumers save $3 on their utility bills.” “Leave the clean-energy law alone,” the Blade concludes.
In early November, the Cincinnati Enquirer joined the chorus against Seitz’s bill, noting that it “goes too far and unravels the progress Ohio has made since 2008 in diversifying its energy portfolio.” The Enquirer points out that there has been “a drop in both electricity demand and cost since the law was passed” and notes that “Seitz’s bill could result in a 3.9 percent increase in electricity bills, or about $300 million a year” for Ohioans.
In October, the AARP came out against the bill, noting it would greatly increase the cost of electricity to consumers.
Today the Akron Beacon Journal’s editorial board also came out against the bill, noting that some of Ohio’s largest companies, like Dow Chemical, Honda, Whirlpool and Ingersoll Rand, wrote a letter asking Seitz to reconsider. Other large employers like Scotts Miracle Grow, Johnson Controls and Navistar also signed the letter.
One of the few companies who is actively supporting the bill is First Energy. And why not? If the bill passes, huge increases in consumer and small business electricity costs will result in huge profits for First Energy.
As the Sierra Club’s Dan Sawmiller wrote at Plunderbund back in June, “the millions of homes and businesses benefiting from new jobs and lower electricity prices from energy efficiency, should expect their leaders to be held to a higher standard.”
That means you, Mr. Seitz.