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Environmental Groups Oppose DeWine's Pick To Lead PUCO

Wind turbines in Blue Creek Township in Paulding County, Ohio.
Wikimedia Commons

Environmental groups are opposing Gov. Mike DeWine’s appointment to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. DeWine picked Sam Randazzo to serve on, and eventually chair, the state regulation panel.

Randazzo, who recently retired from representing Industrial Energy Users-Ohio, was one of four nominees selected by a nominating council. The environmental groups are specifically targeting Randazzo for his past opposition to renewable energy projects.

“We need someone who’s a visionary, someone who really understands not just what Ohio’s like today but what Ohio needs to be in the future to stay competitive,” says Heather Taylor-Miesle with the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund.

Industrial Energy Users-Ohio represents large energy ratepayers, with members such as Marathon Gas and McDonald’s franchises.

On behalf of the group, Randazzo consistently opposed proposals that resulted in increases on electric bills. That meant opposing renewable energy standards, but it included opposing a cost recovery plan for coal plants.

The Environmental Law and Policy Center, National Audubon Society, Natural Resources Defense Council and Sierra Club Ohio Chapter joined the Ohio Environmental Council in its opposition to Randazzo.

The other nominees sent to DeWine for his consideration were:

  • Bryce McKenney, assistant consumers' counsel at Office of the Ohio Consumers' Counsel
  • Gene Krebs, former chair of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel Governing Board
  • Dennis Deters, outgoing judge of the 1st Ohio District Court of Appeals of Cincinnati
Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.