May 19, 2014

Bill to Freeze Ohio's Renewable Energy Standards: How They Voted

A few lawmakers crossed party lines when the Ohio Senate voted Thursday to advance a freeze on Ohio's renewable energy laws.

Senate Bill 310 freezes for two years a 2008 state law requiring utility companies to sell more electricity from renewable sources of energy and requires a committee to study the effects of the renewable energy standards.

The bill also allows companies to look outside of Ohio for more than 50 percent of the energy needed to meet those requirements and makes it easier for companies to opt out of energy efficiency programs.

The bill is the product of months of debate in the Senate, which began with a proposal to end the requirements altogether.

The bill cleared the chamber just after 1 a.m. Thursday in a 21-12 vote, with three Republicans and one Democrat voting against their parties. Sen. Bill Beagle, a Tipp City Republican; Sen. Randy Gardner, a Bowling Green Republican and Sen. Gayle Manning, a North Ridgeville Republican, voted against the bill while Sen. Shirley Smith, a Cleveland Democrat, voted for the bill.

The version passed by the GOP-controlled Senate also had the support of Republican Gov. John Kasich. In a joint statement with Senate President Keith Faber, a Celina Republican, Kasich said the 2008 mandate is "a challenge to job creation and Ohio's economic recovery.

"They are simply unrealistic and will drive up energy costs for job creators and consumers," the statement continues. "However, alternative energy sources are an important component of Ohio's diverse energy portfolio, which is why we've rejected the notion of scrapping Ohio's renewable standards."
The bill is being considered in the House.

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