The Senate plans to deliver the final blow to what are currently known as Ohio’s green energy standards. These standards require utilities to get a certain amount of energy from renewable sources. A bill to toss out those requirements could move first thing next year.
Republican Senate President Larry Obhof is resolute in stating that he plans on moving a bill in January that would get rid of the green energy requirements, though he admits he’d like to see a few changes first.
“But the underlying direction that the House was headed in toward scaling back some of the mandates that were put in place about ten years ago is a direction that I think a majority of my caucus supports," said Obhof.
The legislation, HB114 which already passed the House, would turn these requirements into voluntary goals. Opponents and environmental advocates say this isn’t just scaling back the standards, it’s a repeal.
The debate over the green energy standards has been batted around for nearly ten years now. The requirements were created in 2008 with strong bipartisan support.
But over time more Republicans started to oppose the standards. In 2014, lawmakers approved a bill that froze the requirements until the end of 2016. Gov. John Kasich supported that freeze and wanted the legislature to take a look at creating new standards that still supported the renewable energy industry but didn’t hike up electric bills.
Instead, the General Assembly passed HB554 last year, which Kasich vetoed. The current legislation, which has similar language to HB554, was passed out of the House with 65 votes. That's enough to override a Kasich veto this time around.