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Freezing standards damaging

Ohio Senate Republicans want to freeze — at this year’s required benchmarks — energy-efficiency and renewable-energy standards that a virtually unanimous General Assembly passed in 2008.

Senate GOP leaders also aim in the bill introduced Friday to create an Energy Mandates Study Committee to determine what Ohio should do about energy, and about energy production using advanced and alternative technology.

But Ohio doesn’t need more studies. The robust debate that preceded passage of the 2008 law, Amended Substitute Senate Bill 221, fairly determined what Ohio should do. And Ohio was doing that, until, that is, utility lobbyists and some big businesses that buy lots of electricity decided the immediate gratification of profits is preferable to giving environmental balance a chance to work in Ohio.

The proposed Senate freeze, Senate Bill 310, introduced by State Sen. Troy Balderson, a Zanesville Republican, wouldn’t just suspend the 2008 law, letting it kick in again, automatically, at some date “X.” The freeze would also mean that Ohio would have to pass an entirely new law that might, or might not, match 2008’s….

Balderson’s bill appears to be a bid by the Senate’s Republican leaders to pass a measure less extreme than now-stalled Substitute Senate Bill 58, sponsored by Sen. William J. Seitz, a suburban Cincinnati Republican.

Seitz’s bill would have gutted the 2008 law. Given Ohio’s pressing environmental needs, though, an open-ended freeze is functionally just as damaging as what Seitz aimed to do.


The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer