Gov. John Kasich Vetoes Attack on Ohio Clean Energy Law

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Gov. John Kasich does not have a great track record when it comes to women’s reproductive rights. For that matter, he is not the moderate many claim him to be. However, he did stand up for Ohio’s clean energy law and his own party by carrying out his earlier threat to veto a bill that would have freed power companies from what Republicans like to call “burdensome” regulations.

In his veto message, Kasich explained that House Bill 554 “amounts to self-inflicted damage to both our state’s near- and long-term economic competitiveness,” Kasich defied both House and State Senate, which lack the votes to override his veto.

“Ohio workers cannot afford to take a step backward from the economic gains that we have made in recent years, however, and arbitrarily limiting Ohio’s energy generation options amounts to self-inflicted damage to both our state’s near- and long-term economic competitiveness.”

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The Columbus Dispatch explains,

The energy bill deals with Ohio rules that say electricity utilities must meet annual standards for investing in renewable energy and for helping customers reduce energy use. The standards have been in place since 2008, interrupted by a soon-to-expire two-year freeze.
 
Under the just-vetoed bill, the energy standards would have been optional for the next two years, after which the mandates would have resumed.

The bill’s supporters claim the energy standards are, to use another Republican myth, “job-killing” while Kasich pointed out that they make the state attractive to “high-technology firms.”

The law was supported not only by his own party but by business groups and the Ohio Chamber of Commerce. For his troubles, Kasich was treated like a Democrat by the bill’s supporters, with Sen. Bill Seitz, R-Cincinnati claiming,

“It is apparent that Gov. Kasich cares more about appeasing his coastal elite friends in the renewable-energy business than he does about the millions of Ohioans who decisively rejected this ideology when they voted for President-elect Trump.”

Yes, remarkably the man who sh*ts in a golden toilet while millions starve or lack drinking water or even a roof over their heads, is not among the “elite.”

Kasich also vetoed a $264 million tax break for the fossil fuel industry in Ohio hidden away in Senate Bill 235, and, reports the Columbus Dispatch, Senate Bill 329, “a measure that would have created a new mechanism to eliminate state agencies.” State agencies do so get in the way of corporate government.

Kasich, in vetoing the measure, helpfully explained to his fellow Republicans that,

“It is unlikely that the General Assembly intended for this item to yield such a significant loss of tax revenue … to provide even more favorable tax treatment to an industry that is already comparatively lightly taxed.”

Of course, Republicans hope to press their environmental attacks in 2017 and to muster enough votes to override a veto. Gov. Kasich, while he failed women miserably, saved his party from its own worst impulses in this case.

It isn’t that Kasich is a big defender of climate change science. His veto message mentioned “improved business climate” and “jobs-friendly tax climate” but it did not mention the actual climate.

While Kasich isn’t exactly turning Ohio into California, he did enthusiastically accept endorsements from environmental groups for his deed.

EcoWatch points out that “According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, in 2017 alone, the standards could prevent 140 premature deaths, 230 heart attacks, 2,230 asthma attacks and 16,900 lost days of work and school,” so he did the right thing, even if it was not for all the right reasons.

However, with Donald Trump entering the White House and enthusiastically feeding the GOP’s nihilistic stupid-frenzy, his task, and that of environmental defenders everywhere, will not be getting any easier.