Kasich vetoes bill to weaken clean energy mandate

Kasich vetoes bill to weaken clean energy mandate
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Gov. John Kasich (R) bucked Ohio's GOP state legislature Tuesday by vetoing a bill that would have weakened the state’s clean energy requirements for power companies.

Kasich, who ran for the Republican presidential nomination this year, rejected the bill that sought to make clean-energy purchase mandates that have been in place since 2008 optional for two years.

The rules are nearing the end of a two-year freeze that was instituted in 2014.

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In his veto message, the governor credited Ohio’s clean energy law with increasing the public’s access to diverse sources of energy, but he offered to work with legislators to find ways to make energy more affordable.

“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,” he wrote.

Kasich had threatened to veto the bill, which is supported by many business groups, including Ohio’s Chamber of Commerce, the Columbus Dispatch reported.

Supporters argued that the bill would lead to lower energy costs and that the clean-energy requirements increase electricity rates.

Support among legislators is not high enough to override the veto, the Dispatch reported.

The decision was cheered by environmental and clean-energy advocates.

“Today Gov. Kasich put economic growth over politics, and stood up for a cleaner, healthier energy future for Ohio,” said Dick Munson, Midwest clean energy director at the Environmental Defense Fund.

“With the state’s renewable and efficiency standards back in place, Ohio can reclaim its spot as a clean energy leader, clearing the way for well-paying jobs, millions in investment, and healthier air for all,” he said.

Katich also used his line-item veto authority to block a $264 million tax break for the oil and gas industry in Ohio.