Not long after Ohio Senate lawmakers advanced a compromise measure on the state’s harsh wind setback rule, the Ohio House of Representatives has insisted upon removing it from the state’s proposed biennial budget, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) has revealed.
Adopted in 2014 with no public debate, Ohio’s current wind turbine setbacks are among the country’s most restrictive and have essentially functioned as a ban on wind development and the economic benefits that come along with it, AWEA explains.
“It’s hard to understand why the Ohio House, under the leadership of Speaker Rosenberger, would stand in the way of $4.2 billion of economic development,” states Andrew Gohn, eastern region policy director for AWEA. “House lawmakers turned their backs on Ohio’s businesses and rural communities with this decision. They turned away economic growth by ignoring the business community’s plea to make Ohio attractive for companies wishing to power their facilities with renewable energy. And they ignored the needs of the state’s rural communities, who would have seen enormous investment if setbacks had been fixed.”
According to AWEA, besides bringing new resources into rural communities that could improve schools and fix roads, new wind development would have also attracted new business into Ohio. The business community rallied behind the setback fix, which also received vocal support from the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, Columbus Partnership, the Columbus and Toledo Chambers of Commerce, Amazon, and several other Fortune 500 companies, AWEA points out.
By including a fix in its proposed budget last week, the Ohio Senate prioritized attracting billions of dollars in investment and recognized that the onerous setbacks have pushed wind development into neighboring states, the group says.
“We appreciate the strong leadership shown by Senator Cliff Hite, Senate President Larry Obhof and the Senate leadership team who championed this vital regulatory reform,” adds Gohn. “With their support in continuing the fight, as well as support from Governor Kasich, we’re confident that common sense will soon prevail and that Ohio will grow more prosperous by unlocking the vast potential of wind power.”