House Bill 554 was introduced into the Ohio House of Representatives by Rep. Ron Amstutz, a Wooster Republican, and is a companion to Senate Bill 320, which was introduced by Cincinnati Republican Sen. Bill Seitz.
One of the goals of House Bill 554 was to end state mandates and let markets determine whether energy efficiency technologies are adopted and whether more wind, solar and hydro projects would be built.
House Bill 554 would have required renewable energy to account for a straight 2.5 percent of the total kilowatt-hours of power annually sold through 2027. The bill also would have broadened the definition of what is technically considered “renewable”.
For example, if it had not been vetoed, it could have been considered “renewable” energy to allow a large industrial company to use waste heat to create electricity and then that company could sell that electricity as a “renewable” energy.
• Al Rosenfield, energy lobbyist for the League of Women Voters of Ohio: “While states such as Michigan and Illinois go forward with renewable energy, the Ohio Legislature seems determined to anchor us in the last century. We are pleased that HB 554 has been vetoed by Gov. Kasich.”
• Ohio Consumers’ Counsel Bruce Weston: “The governor’s veto will help protect Ohioans’ electric bills. I look forward to working with legislators in the future toward maximizing consumer benefits from energy efficiency, while limiting the costs and profits that utilities’ charge consumers for energy efficiency programs. Our goal is to reduce what Ohioans pay for electricity.”
• Christian Coalition of Ohio State Director Tyler Duvelius: “We are grateful for Gov. Kasich’s leadership on the issue of energy reform. The Christian Coalition of Ohio/CCA looks forward to working with Gov. Kasich, the Ohio General Assembly, and our network of conservative grassroots activists and pastors in 2017 to enact conservative clean energy reform. We want Ohio to lead the nation in energy production to provide jobs for our families, savings for our churches, and safety for our children through American energy independence.”
• Audubon President and CEO David Yarnold: “Conservative politics and profitable clean energy go hand-in-hand. Gov. Kasich gets it and Ohioans owe him a big thanks.”
And Marnie Urso, Audubon’s senior program manager in Ohio: “Energy efficiency and renewable energy are vital components to protecting Ohio’s birds, wildlife and people from the threats of pollution and climate change. Ohio has been a leader on renewable energy and Gov. Kasich has ensured that Ohio will keep moving forward.”
• Collin O’Mara, President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Wildlife Federation: “By vetoing House Bill 554, the governor shows his commitment to creating jobs, growing the economy, and reducing harmful carbon emissions. We know that we must reduce carbon emissions or prepare Ohio for the worst impacts of climate change which include more harmful algal blooms, more invasive species and damage to tourism, agriculture and public health. The Ohio General Assembly should follow the governor’s lead and ignore calls for further uncertainty which will only hurt Ohio’s competitive advantage in attracting billions of dollars in clean energy investment into our communities, businesses and workforce.”
• Samantha Williams, staff attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council: “Gov. Kasich’s veto sends the signal that Ohio is back in the clean energy game, and ready to deliver good jobs and a healthy environment to businesses and families. While the lawmakers who fast-tracked this legislation seem determined to freeze Ohio in the past, the administration wisely sees that embracing the clean energy shift that is already underway can only help the state move forward. Jobs and investment are coming to the region — the governor is right to steer them to Ohio.”
• Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund Executive Director Heather Taylor-Miesle: “I applaud Gov. Kasich for showing true leadership and vetoing this bill. HB 554 is a sloppy piece of legislation that could increase electric bills and clog our air with pollution while hampering innovation and job growth. We urge legislators to follow Gov. Kasich’s lead and allow Ohio’s clean energy potential to be unleashed.”