Note: We are passing along this action alert from our partners at Green Energy Ohio.
SB 52 and HB 118 have gone from bad to worse
Earlier this year, we alerted you to General Assembly consideration of Senate Bill 52 and House Bill 118. Despite significant opposition from citizens, the business community, labor unions, school districts, faith groups, and environmental organizations, legislators continue to pursue passage. Substitute versions of both bills have been introduced that could effectively halt renewable energy development in Ohio by imposing costly new regulation and adding significant political uncertainty to clean energy projects.
Sub SB 52 appears on track for a vote in the Senate Energy & Public Utilities Committee as soon as today.
- The bill prohibits development of utility scale solar and wind projects unless township trustees adopt a resolution designating all or part of the township as an “energy development district.” A small minority of only 8 percent of township voters can file a petition triggering a referendum to overturn the designation.
- Township trustees appear to have separate authority to veto individual projects through passage of a resolution binding upon the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) within 90 days after the adjudicatory hearing or before the certificate is issued, whichever comes first. This provision would effectively allow townships to kill projects on the eve of certification, after the rigorous OPSB review process in which all interested parties have had an opportunity to present their arguments.
- Solar and wind projects have been singled out for onerous local scrutiny. No other energy projects — including fossil fuel facilities or pipelines — are subject to this kind of process.
- The communities that could benefit the most from these projects will be hurt the most, losing the potential for a significant source of revenue.
- The process essentially nullifies individual property owners’ rights to allow their land to be used for renewable energy facilities.
Make your voice heard! Contact your state legislators today. Tell them that you oppose Sub SB 52 and Sub HB 118.
Here are additional talking points from Sierra Club.
You can also contact your lawmakers through this action alert from Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund.