Heather Taylor-Miesle, Executive Director, November 4, 2016
No matter what happens, most of us are going to get up the next day and go to work. I don’t know about you, but I’ve got a lot to do!
One of the biggest things on the horizon is making sure Ohio’s long-frozen clean energy standards are thawed on December 31.
There is some reason to hope we can be successful regardless of the election outcome.
Governor Kasich is saying the right things to short-sighted leaders pushing an extension or rewriting the standards in a way that would make them voluntary (a.k.a., a “cute” way to essentially make the freeze permanent). He isn’t in the mood for extremist policies and is smart enough to notice Ohio is being left behind as other states are making money and jobs by leading the clean energy market.
But there is also cause for concern. Today we read out of Midwest Energy News that big fossil fuels have been giving big in Ohio this election cycle. Are they about to get the dirtiest energy policy money can buy because of their grimey big dollars pouring into our leaders’ pockets?
FirstEnergy is one of the top givers in Ohio. It’s also the utility that just got a $600 million bailout from the Public Utilities Commission after they made bad bets on dying coal and failed to follow the energy market as it moved to natural gas and renewables. This bailout will be paid by CUSTOMERS – not rich shareholders who committed this corporate failure. You would think a company so strapped for cash wouldn’t have a lot left over for political donations, and yet we hear today that FirstEnergy ranks fourth for top contributors in Ohio. Seems pretty sketchy to me.
Other dirty energy interests are also giving big. The Ohio Oil & Gas Association, Boich Companies, AEP are all lining up to purchase the dirtiest energy bill money can buy.
Let’s hope Governor Kasich holds firm and our leaders – the ones who represent constituents and not utilities – start drafting policies to spur growth and a smart, forward-looking energy policy in Ohio that is good for our people, the environment, and creates jobs. It’s the right thing to do.