DeWine running out of time on emission bill


(The Center Square) – Gov. Mike DeWine has a day left to decide on a bill to stop California emission standards from coming to Ohio.

The same bill, though, also allows natural gas companies to pass on more costs to consumers through a last-minute amendment.

DeWine’s 10-day window to either sign or veto House Bill 201, originally introduced in June and passed by the General Assembly earlier this month, runs out Friday.

“Considering Ohio’s history of corrupt energy policy, this brazen attempt to slip a pro-utility amendment in at the expense of everyday Ohioans is an affront to the democratic process – and a commonly used strategy for Ohio’s utilities,” Policy Matters Ohio said in a statement.

If DeWine signs it, the bill would stop the state from signing on to or taking steps to mandate emissions standards through emergency protocols established in the Clean Air Act of 1970.

It would also stop cities and towns from restricting the use or sale of a vehicle based on its fuel source, and it gives consumers a choice in the type of automobile, lawn equipment or other motorized equipment they want.

“This legislation will prevent undue burdens on our residents, particularly those in low-income communities who may struggle with the higher costs of transitioning to electric vehicles,” said Rep. Brett Hillyer, R-Uhrichsville. “Ohio is not California and, therefore, should not be treated as such.”

Groups like Policy Matters Ohio and the Ohio Manufacturers Association are against the late amendment, saying it is another pro-utility company bill that will be costly to consumers and businesses.

“The proposed infrastructure development and economic development provisions expand current law to include more costs that can be collected from customers for infrastructure upgrades and expansion,” testified Kim Bojko of the Ohio Manufacturers Association. “The language is overly broad and would allow the gas utilities to upgrade almost anything (distribution and transmission faculties) in the name of economic development without proper justification.”

Bojko also said similar language was included in the state budget passed in June but was vetoed by DeWine.

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