Governor Kasich Thwarts Legislature's Commonsense Reform to Energy MandatesDec 27, 2016
COLUMBUS, OHIO--On Tuesday, Governor Kasich vetoed a bill that would have implemented extremely modest and positive reforms to state energy mandates for renewable energy and energy efficiency. As The Buckeye Institute's research and reports have shown time and again, these mandates that specify how much of our energy must come from renewable or green sources are costly, harm job creation, and make it difficult on families that are already struggling to pay the bills.
Robert Murray of Murray Energy cited Buckeye's "excellent" testimony to the Energy Mandates Study Committee from July 2015 in his own statement to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on December 8 in making the case against the energy mandates.
In his remarks, Murray included a compelling story from earlier this year, when he was forced to close his oldest mine and lay off hundreds of employees:
"One of these thirty (30) year employees, age 52, that I was forced to lay off, came into my office bawling. I could not get this big, burly, red-faced man out of my office. The renewable energy industries and our Federal leaders have no idea regarding the destruction that they have caused to the families of Ohioans who have only wanted to work in honor and dignity."
Buckeye's latest white paper, which uses a dynamic economic model to analyze precisely how the energy mandates affect the labor market, shows that these mandates Kasich supports actually reduce job growth. You can read more about the results in our lighter, more condensed Policy Brief.
And it is not just coal miner jobs that Ohio loses as a result of these mandates, although those are especially important--particularly for the struggling region of Appalachian Ohio that is desperate for jobs. Buckeye's "Power to the People" report analyzes why it is likely that large manufacturers, which make up almost one-fifth of Ohio's economy and use lots of electricity, are adversely impacted by the mandates and are also likely to reduce hiring.
Finally, Ohio's low-income families are hurt the most by rising utility bills because it leaves them with less disposable income to spend on things like groceries or books for their kids.
Given all of this evidence of the economic harm from energy mandates, it is unfortunate that politics got in the way of the right policy for Ohio.
The story is not over yet, however. The General Assembly could try to override Governor Kasich's veto with a supermajority of votes in both houses in order to make a positive difference for Ohio. While we at Buckeye ultimately want an outright elimination of these burdensome energy mandates that are of dubious environmental value at best, the legislature's modest reform is better than nothing. Perhaps the best Christmas gift of all would be to trade in the lump of coal Kasich's veto of this legislation offered Ohioans and instead have jobs for coal miners as well as cheaper (and locally-produced) energy for Ohio families and businesses.
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Founded in 1989, The Buckeye Institute is an independent research and educational institution—a think tank—whose mission is to advance free-market public policy in the states.