Boccieri: Statehouse Republicans Still Blocking Ohio's Energy Independence
New legislative proposal would reinstate standards but remove incentives
September 21, 2016
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State Rep. John Boccieri (D-Poland) today responded to draft legislation released Tuesday by Republican lawmakers that fails to uphold the state’s renewable energy standards set to expire at the end of this year. The latest proposal would reinstate the energy efficiency benchmarks until 2020, but remove all compliance measures and incentives to follow the standards, effectively making the benchmarks null and void over the next four years. 

“Utility companies invested heavily in Ohio’s renewable standards and walking back any part of those initiatives amounts to a rate increase for consumers,” Boccieri said. “We have started down the road toward energy independence with renewable energy, and if Statehouse Republicans surrender the high ground we maintain in this area, I believe that retreat would weaken our national security and undercut emerging and advanced sectors of our economy.” 

The draft legislation would delay imposing noncompliance penalties for the most recently applicable renewable energy benchmarks until 2021, and outright eliminate benchmarks for the years 2021-2022 and 2024-2025. The proposal would also weaken the state’s solar energy standards by significantly reducing noncompliance fines. 

Boccieri also noted that maintaining the diversity of the state’s energy stockpile is crucial to a healthy industry. 

“It makes sense to have an all-of-the-above energy strategy instead of being limited by one source of energy,” he said. “We already have a variety of ways to produce energy and we should maintain that advantage.” 

The latest Republican energy proposal comes as new polling shows a majority of Ohio Republican voters support green energy policies. Research by Public Opinion Strategies found that 62 percent of Republican and conservative Ohio voters support a modified renewable standard, while 82 percent want the state to continue requiring utilities to offer efficiency programs to help consumers cut their monthly bills.

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