Ohio Lawmakers Vote to Restrict Freedom of Local Governments to Shape Energy Future
COLUMBUS – The Ohio Senate passed HB201 today, a gas industry backed bill focused on keeping Ohio communities reliant on methane gas hookups which have negative impacts on health and climate, by limiting local governments’ freedom to make energy infrastructure decisions in their communities.
An NPR exposé found that the American Gas Association, funded by consumer dollars, has been working to push for preemption legislation like HB201 across the country.
The following is a statement from Dan Sawmiller, Ohio Energy Policy Director at NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council):
"The gas industry has a simple goal: stop people across Ohio from getting clean and healthy energy in their homes. This underhanded bill takes away the longstanding authority of local governments to meet the energy needs of their residents in the safest, most common sense and cost-effective way. In particular, it would block local governments from shaping their permitting rules to encourage healthier, low emissions, all-electric buildings. Instead, Ohio communities would stay hooked on gas and be forced to pay for unwanted, costly and unnecessary fossil fuel infrastructure, for decades to come. That's wrong and Governor DeWine should veto this unfair legislation, if it ever reaches his desk."
Buildings are fossil fuel guzzlers that are responsible for about one-third of the gas consumed in the United States each year. This methane gas is used mostly for space and water heating. To address the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from burning fossil gas in buildings, municipalities across the country have been using their authorities over building energy codes and other means to incentivize buildings that use more efficient, cleaner, and healthier electric technologies. For more on gas preemption bills, see this NRDC blog.
More and more studies indicate that burning gas in buildings is dangerous for human health, expensive for consumers, and a major contributor to the climate crisis. Communities are exploring ways to move away from polluting power sources for home heating and cooking and toward electricity - which is less expensive, less polluting, and healthier, especially as we move increasingly toward renewable sources of power in Ohio.
NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.