How Illinois is working toward a cleaner, more equitable energy future

By EDF Blogs

By Tyler Fitch, 2017 EDF Climate Corps Fellow

EDF Climate Corps fellows are designing clean energy solutions that reduce pollution and save money across the country. And at my summer fellowship with Environmental Defense Fund’s (EDF) Midwest clean energy team as a part of the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition, I pursued ways to make clean energy benefit more than just one bottom line.

My work resulted from the Future Energy Jobs Act, a monumental piece of bipartisan legislation that aims to transform Illinois’ clean energy economy and “benefit all citizens of the State, including low-income [communities].” Those lofty goals were enshrined in law in December 2016, the result of hard work and negotiation from the Clean Jobs Coalition, a group of more than 200 environmental, business, and faith organizations dedicated to promoting clean energy in the state.

The energy landscape is changing in Illinois, and – if the Future Energy Jobs Act achieves what it set out to do – the future will be brighter for everyone. Here’s how.

From policy to action

The Future Energy Jobs Act went into effect on June 1, 2017 – my first day on the job. I’m at my most comfortable knee-deep in a financial spreadsheet, so this was my first foray into crafting clean energy policy. At EDF, it isn’t just about ensuring a project has a good return on investment; it’s about making sure those returns benefit everyone. That means moving from financial problems to human problems, and translating the goals of the legislation into effective real-world programs.

It’s about making sure those returns benefit everyone.

Turning the policy into reality lies with just two public entities. The Illinois Power Agency is tasked with designing and administering the programs, but only once it has approval from the 5 governor-appointed members of the Illinois Commerce Commission.

Throughout the design and approval process, both organizations solicit public comments, information, and proposals – and that’s where EDF and the Clean Jobs Coalition come in. We work on behalf of the environmental, business, faith, and environmental justice communities by submitting comments and making proposals that advocate for cleaner, smarter, and more equitable energy decisions.

New developments

Here are just a few of the ways the Future Energy Jobs Act will help Illinoisans and how we’re bringing them to life:

  • Community solar: Community solar allows people who can’t or don’t want to install solar panels on their roofs – like tenants – to “subscribe” to a solar project at a local church, school, or business. Illinois will have incentives to drive new community solar projects, unlocking the benefits of solar energy to the 49 percent of households who aren’t able to install systems onto their own rooftops. EDF is proposing an innovative and flexible approach that supports solar projects of all sizes and locations, and ensures all households and small businesses have access to them.
  • Job training: Renewable energy is a major engine for U.S. job creation and economic growth that continues to provide local, well-paying jobs across the country. A new utility jobs program will “establish a pool of trained [solar] installers across the state,” providing training and employment opportunities across Illinois, including to foster care alumni and citizens returning from incarceration. As a Clean Jobs Coalition member, EDF is at the table, connecting the dots between community groups and renewable energy industry leaders to train people for 21st century energy jobs.
  • Curbing local air pollution: The Illinois Power Agency is directed to “maximize the health and welfare of its residents” by reducing local air pollutants that come from burning coal, like sulfur dioxide and particulate matter. In a state where 38 percent of electricity comes from coal, increasing renewable energy will likely reduce reliance on coal-fired plants, bringing cleaner air and healthier lives to Illinoisans. EDF recommends compensating renewable energy projects for their environmental health benefits and prioritizing projects in the communities hit hardest by pollutants.

Illinois is already starting to see the Future Energy Jobs Act come to life. After a U.S. district court decision upheld the policy’s authority earlier this summer, August saw the Illinois Power Agency release their new electricity procurement plan and local utility Commonwealth Edison unveil their job training implementation plan. And there’s a lot more work ahead.

As my EDF Climate Corps fellowship and time with inspiring colleagues ends, I’m confident that the movement toward inclusive, clean energy embraces some of the best and brightest in the Midwest. I look forward to seeing how diverse stakeholders and innovative policy help Illinois justly transition toward the clean energy economy.

Photo source: Margo Kuchuris Wiseman

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Western Climate Initiative expands: Ontario to join California-Québec carbon market

By Erica Morehouse

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard, second from left, pictured in 2015 joining the Under2 Coalition, a first-of-its-kind agreement among states and provinces around the world to limit the increase in global average temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius – the warming threshold at which scientists say there will likely be catastrophic climate disruptions. Photo: Jenna Muirhead via Office of Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.

This morning California, Québec, and Ontario signed a linking agreement that officially welcomes Ontario into the Western Climate Initiative (WCI) cap-and-trade market.

The announcement came after an inspiring Climate Week in New York where states, businesses, and individuals showed that despite Washington D.C going backwards, the U.S. will continue to make progress on our commitment to help avert catastrophic climate change. This linkage announcement provides a concrete example of how motivated governments can work together and accomplish more through partnership than they could apart.

Why linkage matters

The agreement will allow participants from all three locations to use carbon “allowances” issued by any of the three governments interchangeably and to hold joint carbon auctions.

This full linkage can have a number of benefits.

  1. The concrete benefits that economists often point to include “liquidity” from a larger market, meaning that if participants need to purchase or want to sell an allowance, it is easier to find a trading partner.
  2. There are also significant administrative benefits to joining an existing market and to working together, including sharing the administration of auctions.
  3. A larger market can also provide access to lower cost reduction opportunities, which lower the overall cost of compliance for the whole market, allowing governments to maintain and strengthen the ambition of their commitments.
  4. The less tangible benefits of having partners that are equally committed to addressing the challenge of climate change can’t be ignored. California may not have a willing climate partner in Washington D.C. but the state is finding the partners it needs in Québec and Ontario and together they can prove that cap and trade provides an effective model for international collaboration and a cost-effective way to keep harmful climate pollution at acceptable levels.

Choosing the right partners

To ensure any carbon market linkage is strong, partners must be carefully selected by evaluating the compatibility of each program. California, Québec, and Ontario started this process early by working together (along with several other states and provinces) in 2009 to develop best practices for establishing cap-and-trade programs.

This carbon club model is one that EDF has identified as a powerful potential driver of climate action

When full linkage is being considered, one of the most important threshold questions is how ambitious each potential partner’s cap is; the cap is the key feature of each program that ensures the environmental goals of each government are met, and a weak cap would impact all participants. Ontario, California and Québec have all cemented into law ambitious and world-leading climate targets for 2020 and 2030. Beyond that, there are some design elements which should be aligned among all programs and others that can differ and outlining these parameters is a negotiation among participants.

Ontario is demonstrating that the WCI carbon market model is an accessible one for ambitious governments to consider joining. This carbon club model is one that EDF has identified as a powerful potential driver of climate action. Hopefully other states and provinces will take Ontario’s lead. Here are some locations to watch:

  • Several Canadian provinces are actively developing cap-and-trade programs that could link with WCI one day.
  • State legislators in Oregon may have a chance to vote during their short session in early 2018 on a “cap and invest” program that is being designed with WCI linkage in mind.
  • Momentum on carbon markets is also growing elsewhere in the Americas. Mexico is in the process of developing its own national emission trading system and has expressed an interest in linking such a system with the California-Québec-Ontario market.
  • And just this past June, in the Cali Declaration, the heads of state of the Pacific Alliance countries of Mexico, Colombia, Chile, and Peru embraced the vision of a voluntary regional carbon market in agreeing to strengthen monitoring, reporting, and verification frameworks for greenhouse gas emissions.

California, Québec and Ontario are creating a model for action that is ripe for others to adopt as is or adapt as needed. This type of bottom-up partnership that matures into real and ambitious collective action is the future of international climate policy.

 

Note: More details on the linkage concepts discussed in this blog can be found in chapter 9 of the EDF co-authored report Emissions Trading in Practice: A Handbook on Design and Implementation.

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New red snapper proposals need safeguards from overfishing

By Monica Goldberg

Lawmakers in the House and Senate recently introduced legislation aimed at the perpetually contentious Gulf of Mexico red snapper fishery. Thanks to stronger conservation standards and accountability, red snapper numbers in the Gulf have tripled in the last decade and catch limits have doubled, leading to increased value for commercial fishermen and access for charter and for-hire vessels. Unfortunately, private anglers are stuck under a profoundly broken management system. Congressman Garret Graves, Senator Bill Cassidy and others on Capitol Hill propose to give the Gulf states the chance to manage this specific part of the red snapper fishery.

Credit: Florida Fish and Wildlife via flickr: https://flic.kr/p/VjyKem

We share the desire to give private anglers more flexibility and certainty in their fishing opportunities, and states are already innovating under current law, such as the LA Creel program in Louisiana. The new bills (H.R. 3588 and S. 1686) have improved significantly from similar attempts last Congress. But without further safeguards, they threaten to take us back to the failures of the past, when the fishery was severely depleted and red snapper was hard to find for seafood consumers and anglers alike.

The current proposals would give the five Gulf States authority to manage the private angler portion of the red snapper fishery in both state and federal waters; commercial and charter/for-hire fishermen would remain under federal management. But because the bills lack provisions to ensure that the private angler sector stays within its quota (after exceeding it nine of the last 12 years), the bills would jeopardize the sustainability of the fishery and undermine the commercial and charter sectors.

Current law requires federal fishery managers to keep every sector – commercial, charter and private angler – within an annual catch limit. If one group exceeds its quota, managers must make adjustments to make up for the overage and prevent it happening in the future to ensure long-term sustainability.

Under these bills, however, the five Gulf States would have exclusive power to set the season length for private anglers. It would be up to them to honor the science-based catch limits established for private anglers and make it optional to reduce season lengths if overages occurred.  Even under the current, tighter standards, overages are common.  In 2016, for example, the sector exceeded its catch limit by 1.14 million pounds, some 28 percent.  Without a mandatory backstop in the law affecting private anglers, federal authorities would have to sharply reduce commercial and charter/for-hire quotas to make up for any private angler overages.

The bills do give the Secretary of Commerce a so-called “nuclear option” to take over red snapper fishing in state and federal waters if a state undermines the overall rebuilding plan. But because interfering with a state’s newly legislated rights to manage red snapper – especially in its own waters — is such a drastic step, we agree with others who “doubt the aforementioned federal tool would be imposed.” That would leave the hard-won rebuilding of the Gulf red snapper population in short-term jeopardy. NMFS estimates that private anglers will land more than 11 million pounds of red snapper — triple their quota — under this year’s extended season that was granted by the Commerce Secretary.

The bills’ supporters have asserted that they want any new legislation to keep private angler fishing within the established quotas, and it is undoubtedly possible to amend these bills to make that intention clear in the text. This relatively simple fix would prevent the hard-won gains in this fishery from being quickly erased and ensure that red snapper can be enjoyed by all Americans.

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ROE (Return on Environment) is the new ROI: how sustainability drives business success

By Tom Murray

Comparing the themes of Climate Week 2016 versus 2017 provides a telling picture of the state of climate affairs. “America Means Business: US Leadership in a post-Paris World” was last year’s focus, while this year is all about three words: “Innovation. Jobs. Prosperity.”

It has been a remarkable year for climate action – in the absence of federal oversight and leadership, we’ve seen a major shift towards city, state and business leaders becoming the standard-bearers for the environment and the economy. With the release of Fortune’s Change the World list, it is obvious that the bar for corporate leadership has been raised even further. Companies that previously stayed mute on environmental and social issues now speak out; not as an anomaly but as a defining factor of their business.

The expectations of today’s stakeholders – investors, employees, consumers, communities – demand a higher, more visionary level of sustainability leadership. Corporate leaders who put their money, and actions, where their mouth is on environmental and social issues are driving innovation, creating jobs, and gaining a new competitive edge for their businesses.

Recruiting top talent

According to a new Morgan Stanley report, millennials are three times more likely to seek out employment with a sustainably minded company.

Unilever (#21 on the Fortune list) CEO Paul Polman said that close to 1.8 million people now apply to work at the consumer giant company every year, many of whom are under 40. Why is that? “According to the data,” Polman reveals, approximately 60% “say it’s the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan and the bigger purpose that we have as a business.”

The Sustainable Living Plan is Unilever’s blueprint for growing the business while reducing waste, water, and energy use, including an ambitious goal of halving the environmental footprint of making and using Unilever products. Unilever also rises to the top in setting clear, actionable sustainability goals.

Tom Murray, VP EDF+Business, EDF

Tom Murray, VP EDF+Business

Improving the environment – and sales growth

Retail giant Walmart has been on a journey toward sustainability since partnering with Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) over 10 years ago. And its environmental efforts are paying off: ridding close to 90,000 consumer products of potentially harmful chemicals, reducing 36 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from its supply chain in just six years, and now, making a bold commitment to eliminate a gigaton of emissions by 2030 – all of this with continued U.S. sales growth.

With climate change topping the list of global concerns for millennials, these planet-friendly business moves are just what Walmart needs to attract a new, younger demographic of customers.

But it’s not just Walmart that can benefit. As PBS NewsHour reported this weekend, large companies see payoffs in sustainability – including businesses like Mars Inc. and Smithfield Foods.

At the same time, new resources like the Corporate Carbon Policy Footprint hold companies accountable not just based on their own emissions, but also their public support of smart climate policy. That means consumers are better informed than ever to make purchasing decisions based on corporate climate leadership.

Investing for a healthy economy and environment

For long-term competitiveness, business investments cannot be made at the expense of the environment.  The new report from Morgan Stanley, “Sustainable Signals: New Data from the Individual Investor,” assesses the state of sustainable investing through attitudes, perceptions, and behaviors of individual investors. Their findings:

  • 71% of investors polled agreed that good social, environmental and governance practices can potentially lead to higher profitability and long-term investments
  • 75% of individual investors are interested in sustainable investing

Thriving business, thriving communities

Land O’Lakes, Inc. (a farmer-owned cooperative ranked #50 on Fortune’s list), is supporting its member-owners to grow crops more efficiently and is committed to influencing sustainability practices on 20 million acres of farmland by 2025. Its business unit, Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN™ delivers precision agriculture technologies, practices, services and conservation resources for farmers across North America – and works in collaboration with EDF.

This program focuses on educating agricultural retailers, farmers’ most trusted advisors, on practices that improve air, water and soil quality. The ag retailers then bring this knowledge to their customers, the farmer, who can benefit from improved efficiencies. Ag retailers benefit from staying competitive in a challenging market.

Embedding sustainability into business strategy

The Harvard Business Review article, Competing on Social Purpose, separates companies born with a social or environmental purpose – think Patagonia, TOMS, Seventh Generation – from those integrating purpose and strategy late in life. The majority of established brands fall into the latter category, despite consumers’ increasing expectations for companies to have a social purpose.

Fortunately, resources like EDF’s three-part framework for corporate sustainability leadership can help companies get started by:

  1. Publicly committing to aggressive, science-based sustainability goals sends a clear market signal to your customers, shareholders and suppliers that you embrace a social purpose
  2. Collaborating across departments, industries, and the entire supply chain in order to deliver impact at scale
  3. Publicly support smart climate and environmental policy that will ensure long-term competitiveness by driving innovation, creating jobs, and improving efficiencies.

Whether you’re a leading global company that’s well on its way or a smaller company just beginning to embrace sustainability, business can and must lead the way toward a future where the economy, the planet, and people can prosper.


Follow Tom on Twitter, @tpmurray


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How community air monitoring projects provide a data-driven model for the future

By Irene Burga

Nicoyia Hurt, EDF Oil and Gas Health Policy Intern, contributed to this post

Downtown Los Angeles with misty morning smog.

This month marks the one year anniversary since the residents in Imperial County California did something pretty amazing.

After experiencing some of the highest asthma hospitalization rates in the state, the community got together to launch the IVAN air monitoring project– a community website that provides real time air quality data collected from 40 different pollution monitors across the county.

Frances Nicklen said the air monitors make a huge difference to her community.

“The placement of these 40 air monitors throughout the Imperial Valley will be very beneficial so that the people can make educated decisions to protect their health and that of their families,” she told the Comite Civico Del Valle. “We only have one valley, and we have to live here, and we need to make it a better place for all of our residents.”

As a result of the IVAN project, an entire community now has access to real-time pollution data that can identify the region’s largest sources of harmful emissions.

Even local air quality regulators are using it to help inform their policy decisions, demonstrating that community-led science projects can, and do, drive real change.

What’s next?

Several companies are now developing lower-cost air pollution monitors that can collect real-time air quality data 24-hours a day with more precision, and can detect a wider array of pollutants than ever – factors which can help propel better environmental controls. These technological advancements are incredibly encouraging, and – as is clear with the IVAN project – regulators, operators and community groups alike are taking advantage of this evolution in environmental technology.

Communities with poor air quality – like those in Los Angeles – appear to be on the verge of getting a new set of tools to help aid in pollution reduction.

Why Los Angeles?

In 2015, NASA used data from satellites and 14 separate ground-based pollution monitors to confirm high levels of methane (climate pollution) in the Los Angeles region. This reiterated the findings of other studies which found that previous estimates of air pollution have been too low, and oil and gas extraction may be releasing twice as much methane and other harmful pollutants than previously thought.

What these studies didn’t tell us however, is exactly which facilities the pollution is coming from, and how harmful these emissions are to communities living in this region.

That’s the gap new monitoring technology can help close.

Continuous air pollution monitors can provide real-time data about a vast array of pollutants at a much lower price than the traditional technologies. In turn, these monitors can alert local residents, governmental agencies and facility operators to problems about sites that may be emitting toxic gases.

Similarly, mobile technology (devices mounted to cars and airplanes) can collect regional information from a wide variety of sources, helping to pinpoint and aggregate information about problematic pollution. Together these technologies can locate problems at individual oil and gas sites, or uncover pollution patterns at the neighborhood level and identify hyper-localized hot spots.

New legislation demonstrates this information can and should be used to develop local air quality improvement plans. In short, better data can set the stage for new levels of engagement and influence change in a positive direction, and efforts are under way to make that happen.

There’s no denying that the oil and gas industry in California has supplied a huge amount of goods, services and money into the state’s economy. At the same time, it’s clear that leaks and poor environmental performance at oil and gas sites, especially where sites are located within a few feet of people’s homes and businesses, can drastically impact quality of life.

Fortunately, California’s technology boom has revolutionized the way we hail a ride or rent a home. If used appropriately, it can also help create a safer, cleaner environment.

 

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Modus operandi: How EPA toxics nominee Dourson carries out his work for the chemical industry

By Richard Denison

Richard Denison, Ph.D.is a Lead Senior Scientist.

[Use this link to see all of our posts on Dourson.]

I’ve now examined dozens of papers and reports that EPA toxics nominee Michael Dourson and his firm, Toxicology Excellence for Risk Assessment (TERA), have published on chemicals over the past 15-20 years.  A remarkably consistent pattern of how Dourson conducts his paid work for the chemical and pesticide industries emerges from this examination.  I’ll use one example below to illustrate, but most or all of the steps I’ll describe have been followed over and over again.  

The example I’ll use relates to two herbicides, alachlor and acetochlor (collectively known as acetanilides), widely used in huge volumes especially in the Midwest.  The US Geological Survey reported that in 2015 about 2 million pounds of alachlor and more than 40 million pounds of acetochlor were used in agriculture annually. The USGS map images included here (click to enlarge) show where these substances are used, based on 2012 data.

Dourson’s work specifically addressed the degradation products of alachlor and acetochlor, which are frequently detected in ground and surface waters.  Except as otherwise noted below, the specifics I describe are recorded in documents posted on TERA’s webpage for this activity.

STEP 1:  The process typically starts with a company or industry that has a problem or a decision it wants to influence, e.g.:  a chemical has been spilled or is showing up in air or water monitoring; a facility permit is being reviewed; a government agency is doing a risk review of a chemical or updating a standard.  In this case, Dow AgroSciences and Monsanto, makers of the acetanilides, were facing growing scrutiny as the herbicides’ degradation products were being routinely detected in ground and surface water samples and regulators in states like Minnesota were reviewing applicable water standards.

STEP 2:  The affected company or industry group contracts with TERA to convene an “expert” panel or workshop or conduct a peer review of a government or industry assessment, research plan or other document.  TERA is hired to convene and manage the panel or peer review.  In this case, Dow AgroSciences and Monsanto hired TERA to run a workshop involving an “expert” panel that TERA was also to select.

STEP 3:  TERA appoints its own founder and President, Michael Dourson, to the panel, almost always as Chair of the panel.  This is a highly questionable practice:  While the selection of panels and peer reviewers is sometimes contracted out to “third parties,” the procedures used are designed to keep the entity identifying experts and managing panels and associated meetings at arm’s length from the experts themselves.  TERA makes no such effort:  In the acetanilides case, as in the great majority of other TERA cases, employees of Dourson’s own company appointed him (their boss) to chair the “expert” panel.

STEP 4:  TERA clears Dourson of any conflict of interest in his participation on the panel.  That is, employees of Dourson’s own company are the sole determiners as to whether or not their boss has a conflict of interest in the matter at hand.  Highly irregular, to say the least, an approach that presents its own conflicts of interest.  In the acetanilides case, TERA cleared Dourson to serve on the panel even though TERA had recently contracted with both Dow AgroSciences and Monsanto to “provide technical review on projects.”  This is not an isolated incident:  In numerous other cases, TERA or Dourson himself had recently worked for the very same company or industry group paying TERA to convene a panel or conduct a review in which Dourson participated, typically as Chair.

STEP 5:  Based on the workshop or review, Dourson and his colleagues write a paper for publication, sometimes involving other workshop or panel participants.  In the acetanilides case, the first 5 of the 9 authors on the paper (including Dourson) were TERA employees.

STEP 6:  The paper is typically published in the industry’s go-to journal, Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology.  I have blogged earlier about the large fraction of Dourson’s papers – well over half – published in this one journal, which has a longstanding reputation of being the go-to journal for both tobacco and chemical industry-friendly paper publishing.  The journal has been the subject of numerous exposés over the past 15 years regarding its close ties to the chemical and tobacco industries.  True to form, in this case, Dourson’s paper was published in Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology.  It recommended water quality standards for acetanilide degradation products many times less protective than those in place in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Not all of these steps have occurred with every chemical.  Dourson’s work on the likely carcinogen 1,4,-dioxane, for example, paid for by PPG Industries, doesn’t appear to have relied on an intervening workshop or “expert” panel for cover, and instead went straight to publication of a paper, once again in Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology.  Not surprisingly, here too he argued for a far less health-protective standard, in this case about 1000-fold weaker than EPA’s level indicating an increased cancer risk.  It’s worth noting that state agencies in Michigan and New Jersey reviewed Dourson’s work on this chemical and found it sorely lacking on scientific grounds.

It is not only Dourson’s deep conflicts of interest that lead us to oppose his nomination, but also his questionable science and incessant claims of independence, when in fact his whole step-by-step enterprise has been set up to bend the science in support of the interests of his corporate clients.

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Facebook and voters see the benefit of clean energy in Ohio

By Dick Munson

Last month, Facebook announced its new $750 million data center will be located in New Albany, Ohio, just north of Columbus.

Why did the social media giant choose this particular spot? Apparently, Facebook likes clean energy, stating, “The availability of renewable energy sources, including wind, solar and hydro, was critical to the decision.”

And Facebook isn’t clean energy’s only fan in Ohio. A new poll from The Nature Conservancy (TNC) shows that voters in the Buckeye State overwhelmingly support developing more clean energy – like efficiency, solar, and wind – over more traditional resources, like coal and natural gas. And perhaps surprisingly, even voters in coal country are on board, saying policies that promote renewable energy will benefit the state’s economy.

Encouraging results

Conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, the nation’s largest Republican polling firm, the TNC poll reveals strong statewide support for increasing the use of efficiency and renewable energy. When asked whether “as a state, Ohio should put more emphasis, less, emphasis, or about the same emphasis as it does now on producing domestic energy from each of the following sources,” voters vastly preferred the clean electricity options. The chart below displays the responses.

 

In Southeast Ohio, where coal customarily played a role in local economies, three-quarters of voters would like to see more efficiency and over half would like more of the state’s electricity to come from wind and solar. Moreover, over a quarter of Southeast Ohio voters prefer less emphasis placed on coal. And four-in-five voters in this region would like their elected officials to support policies that promote renewable energy.

Where policy differs

Clearly, Ohio voters recognize the economic benefits – like jobs and investment – that clean energy brings. According to TNC, “Poll respondents agree that state policies promoting renewable energy development in Ohio sends a clear message to investors that we are open for business.”

Voters across Ohio want their lives to run on more clean energy and less coal.

Yet, some state leaders want to halt the growth of renewables and energy efficiency. Last year, Ohio’s legislature tried to pass a bill that would have weakened the state’s clean energy standards and blocked investment. Fortunately, Governor John Kasich stepped in and vetoed the bill, vowing to protect jobs and the economy. Specifically, he was thinking of large tech firms – like Amazon and Google – who value operating on clean electricity. Facebook’s decision to locate its new renewable-powered data center in Ohio shows that Kasich was spot on.

Despite last year’s defeat, state lawmakers introduced legislation in early 2017 to weaken the clean energy standards – again. The bill passed the House and may be taken up in the Senate in the fall.

Voters across Ohio want their lives to run on more clean energy and less coal, and recognize this move will enhance the state’s economy. And by transitioning to low-carbon efficiency, wind, and solar, Ohioans will breathe cleaner air and live longer, healthier lives. We hope state legislators will follow Gov. Kasich’s lead and reject efforts to block clean energy growth. Why not give Ohioans what they want?

Photo credit: Karsten Wurth

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