Wrapping up a busy end-of-the-year legislative free-for-all, Gov. John Kasich pulled out the veto stamp for a bill that would have kept Ohio on the path toward deeper fossil fuel reliance
and, invariably, an unhealthy environment from the lake up north to the river down south. HB 554 is canned (though the Statehouse legislators could override the veto), and renewable energy standards will once again become a thing in Ohio.
Those standards — tiered milestones that will get us, in a nutshell, to 12.5 percent of electricity being generated from renewable energy sources by 2027 — were frozen in 2014 (in a bill signed by Kasich). Today's veto gets the state back on a track that most states are following now: not leaning so hard on, e.g., coal or even "clean coal."
Kasich connected his veto to the ongoing need for small business growth in Ohio: "Job creators have attributed their reasons for expanding, growing and creating jobs in Ohio to, among other things, our state’s stable fiscal health, jobs-friendly tax climate and sound regulatory policies — as well as our state’s wide range of energy generation options. [This bill] risks undermining this progress by taking away some of those energy generation options, particularly the very options most prized by the companies poised to create many jobs in Ohio in the coming years, such as high technology firms."
State Sen. Bill Seitz, a Cincinnati Republican who tends to vocally oppose progressive plays in Ohio, insisted that Kasich's veto flies in the face of a state that awarded its popular vote to President-elect Donald Trump. "It is apparent that Governor Kasich cares more about appeasing his coastal elite friends in the renewable energy business than he does about the millions of Ohioans who decisively rejected this ideology when they voted for President-elect Trump."
Proponents of environmental protection and air and water safety are celebrating the veto as a step in the right direction after the past few years' of inaction.
Dick Munson, the director of Midwest Clean Energy at Environmental Defense Fund, offered this whimsical line: "Ohioans should cheer – it may be winter, but the clean energy freeze has finally thawed."
A caution, however: