Ohio Gov. John Kasich vetoed a bill pushed by Republican lawmakers to extend a freeze on the state’s green energy mandate on electric utilities.
Kasich, who failed to win the GOP presidential primary in 2016, said delaying Ohio’s green energy mandate another two years would be bad for jobs and investment. Ohio law forces utilities to get 12.5 percent of their energy from green sources, like wind and solar.
“It is apparent that Governor 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,” Republican State Sen. Bill Seitz said in a statement.
Republicans have been trying for years to get rid of the state’s green energy mandate, only to be vetoed by Kasich. Republican’s latest bill would have delayed the law another two years and made complying with it voluntary.
“Ohio workers cannot afford to take a step backward from the economic gains that we have made in recent years,” Kasich said in a veto statement.
The law was passed in 2008 by a Republican-controlled state legislature, but it has been scaled back in recent years as Ohio underwent a natural gas boom due to hydraulic fracturing. Natural gas production in Ohio has increased 1,000 percent since 2006.
The mandate first required utilities to get 25 percent of their energy from green sources by 2025, but that was decreased to 12.5 percent by 2027 by lawmakers in 2013. Republicans voted to freeze the law in 2014.
The green energy freeze ends this year, and utilities will be required to meet 2017 goals. Utilities will still have to get 3.5 percent of their energy from green sources or buy green energy credits to comply with state law.
Nearly two-thirds of Ohio’s electricity comes from coal-fired power plants, while another 23 percent comes from natural gas and 14 percent comes from nuclear energy. About 1 percent of Ohio’s electricity came from green sources in September 2016, according to federal data.