Republican Governors in Ohio and Michigan this week acted to save and expand energy efficiency and renewable energy programs in their states.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich Tuesday vetoed legislation-- House Bill 554-- that would have made energy efficiency standards optional and freeze its renewable energy portfolio standard targets at current levels. His veto message reads in part--
“Over the past six years, Ohio has enjoyed the most improved business climate in the nation. Job creators have attributed their reasons for expanding, growing and creating jobs in Ohio to, among other things, our state’s stable fiscal health, jobs-friendly tax climate and sound regulatory policies-- as well as our state’s wide range of energy general options.
“House Bill 554 risks undermining this progress by taking away some of those energy generation options, particularly the very options most prized by the companies poised to create many jobs in Ohio in the coming years, such as high technology firms.
“The bill would also deal a setback to efforts that are succeeding in helping businesses and homeowners reduce their energy costs through increased efficiency.
“In fact, according to the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, an organization to which many of our electric utilities belong, energy efficiency investments made between 2009-2012 alone have yielded $1.03 billion in savings to date and will result in $4.15 billion in lifetime savings thanks to the state’s existing energy efficiency standards.
“Furthermore, House Bill 554 sidelines some energy options at a time when Ohio can already meet many renewable energy generation standards in current law.”
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation into law on December 21 increasing that state’s renewable energy portfolio standard goals by 5 percent to 15 percent by 2022.
The law also--
-- Sets of goal of meeting 35 percent of the state’s energy needs through waste reduction and renewable sources by 2025;
-- Drops a proposed charge for energy customers participating in net metering programs;
-- Lifts caps on energy efficiency incentives; and
-- Allows utilities to use on-bill financing programs to fund energy efficiency projects.
Presidents and Chancellors from more than 170 Colleges and Universities, including 12 from Pennsylvania, joined together Monday to urge president-elect Trump and the incoming congressional representatives to accelerate progress towards a clean energy future.
Through their open letter, organized by a diverse group of higher education institutions and the Boston-based nonprofit Second Nature, they call on elected officials to support participation in the Paris Agreement, climate research, and investment in the low carbon economy.
“The upcoming transition of federal leadership presents a unique opportunity to address head-on the challenges of climate change by accelerating the new energy economy and creating strong, resilient communities,” wrote the group. “We are committed to developing and deploying innovative climate solutions that provide a prosperous future for all Americans.”
“Climate change cannot be reversed by a single institution nor a single country.”– said Nancy Zimpher, Chancellor of the State University of New York system – “A collective intervention in the multitude of factors that impact climate change is necessary for success. [...] all of higher education must be a driving force in the continued examination of climate change and the development of opportunities to assure a cleaner more secure planet for future generations.”
In Pennsylvania, these presidents signed the open letter—
-- James Mullen, President, Allegheny College
-- John Bravman, President, Bucknell University
-- David Finegold, President, Chatham University
-- Neil Weissman, Acting President, Dickinson College
-- Lee Snyder, President, Eastern Mennonite University
-- Kimberly Benston, President, Haverford College
-- Alison Byerly, President, Lafayette College
-- Lewis Thayne, President, Lebanon Valley College
-- John Anderson, President, Millersville University of Pennsylvania