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Statement from The Nature Conservancy on House Bill 6

Dublin, OH

The following statement can be attributed in full, or in part, to Bill Stanley, State Director for The Nature Conservancy in Ohio:

“Today the General Assembly passed legislation to provide a bailout for two nuclear powerplants in Ohio and two coal plants (one in Ohio and one in Indiana).  The passage of House Bill 6 is a missed opportunity for the legislature to develop a comprehensive energy policy for our state and puts both the environment and 112,486 clean energy jobs at risk in Ohio, according to the 2018 Clean Jobs Midwest Report.

It is disappointing that this bill includes provisions that reduce the Renewable Portfolio Standard and Energy Efficiency Resource Standard.  Additionally, this bill does not resolve the issue with Ohio’s restrictive wind setback regulation, which has made it difficult to attract new investment and site new wind farms in Ohio since 2014.  This anti-wind policy is a barrier to business that hinders billions of dollars of new wind development in Ohio and deprives farmers and other landowners of new sources of income.  The Nature Conservancy’s polling results from July 2017 show that nine out of ten Ohio voters would tell elected officials to support policies that encourage greater production of renewable energy and an increase in energy efficiency—including a renewable energy standard and revising wind setback rules to better accommodate turbine siting.

The Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee did make some improvements to the version of the bill passed by the Ohio House of Representatives.  They were right to remove the provision added by the House that would have made it even more difficult to site new wind projects in Ohio by subjecting them to a local referendum after being approved by the Ohio Power Siting Board.  They also amended the bill to keep the clean energy standards instead of repealing them, though we would prefer that the standards not be reduced.  While the Senate also added to the bill a provision to establish supplemental renewable energy credits, this would not benefit wind energy unless it is accompanied by a wind setback fix.

HB 6 is a step back from what we have currently in statute for the clean energy standards.  This is not a comprehensive energy bill.  Instead, this bill compromises successful policies that have supported renewable energy and energy efficiency to provide a legislative vehicle for a nuclear and coal bailout.  This legislation does not address the much-needed long-term comprehensive energy policy that Ohioans support to help achieve a low-carbon future.  The Nature Conservancy is prepared to help the General Assembly and the administration create an inclusive approach to Ohio’s energy policy.  Investment is more likely to happen if Ohio has a comprehensive energy policy that creates an equal playing field for all energy sources.  The market likes data-driven decisions and predictability and our current on-again/off-again energy policy does not provide either of those.”

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 72 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.