CLEVELAND— Reps. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) and Casey Weinstein (D-Hudson) at a press conference today announced that they will soon introduce the Energy Jobs and Justice Act, comprehensive energy policy rooted in equity, economic development, and accountability.
The Energy Jobs & Justice Act would:
Launch the state’s largest economic development initiative in recent history by prioritizing clean energy jobs and environmental justice programs;
Center equitable policy design to ensure clean energy benefits go to those most historically and disproportionately harmed by Ohio’s regressive energy policies;
Move Ohio towards a more equitable clean energy future by encouraging clean energy growth, energy waste reduction, and curbing utility influence over policymaking and regulatory actions.
“Ohio is still reeling from the corruption behind HB 6, and Ohio taxpayers are still paying the price. It’s time to turn the page, and the Energy Jobs & Justice Act is the exact blueprint Ohio needs to move forward,” said Rep. Weinstein.
“All people, regardless of their race, ethnicity, national origin, or income level, deserve to live in a clean environment with affordable essential services such as electricity and water,” said Rep. Howse. “It is time to build a comprehensive energy policy centered around equitable solutions that are good for our economy, our communities, and our health so every Ohioan can live the American Dream right here at home.”
The Energy Jobs and Justice Act centers on three primary policy pillars that provide the accountability and transparency necessary to ensure an equitable energy landscape that serves all Ohioans. The legislation focuses on the development and implementation of clean energy and energy waste reduction standards that are proven to grow Ohio jobs and save Ohioans billions of dollars by decreasing energy consumption.
These three pillars include:
Promote just transition for underserved Ohio communities and those previously dependent upon fossil fuels
Direct resources and support to reduce structural and institutional barriers historically faced by black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) communities
Invest in workforce development and contractor equity, which will attract billions in new private workforce investment in Ohio
Carbon Emissions Reduction
Ensure all electricity sold to Ohio utility customers and all electricity generated in Ohio is 100% carbon-free by 2050 with interim year benchmarks to ensure Ohio stays on track with this goal
Level the playing field for renewables in Ohio by removing overly burdensome red tape on siting new wind farms in Ohio, enabling community solar, and making permanent the local tax mechanism that ensures new renewable project revenue flows to school districts and county governments.
Identify all opportunities to eliminate energy wasted in an electric system that serves old outdated equipment and buildings, and save consumers money in the process
Transparency and Accountability
Create the Office of Energy Justice to ensure PUCO decisions are guided by and benefit from the principles of energy justice
Strengthen the ability for state regulators to audit and investigate any utility engaging in possible malfeasance
Remove undue utility influence over the Ohio Public Utilities Commission
SeMia Bray (Black Environmental Leaders), Kwame Botchway (Global Shapers), Crystal M.C. Davis (Alliance of the Great Lakes), the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund, and youth advocates from House District 37 all spoke in support of the Energy Jobs and Justice Act at the press conference.