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Opponents Of Renewable Energy Referendum Bill Say It Would Create Too Much Uncertainty

solar panels

The Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee plans to hold a hearing on SB52 Wednesday that would allow local voters the ability to deny a renewable energy project through a referendum. Opponents said it creates unfair regulation on the clean energy industry.

A pair of Republican Senators are sponsoring the bill said they want to allow communities to hold a referendum on wind or solar energy projects, giving voters more of a voice in the process.

However, Dan Sawmiller, Ohio energy policy director for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said there's already a rigorous process in place through the Ohio Power Siting Board that includes ample time for public input.

"If there is a sort of double regulatory scheme that's designed in a way that makes it easy to kill these projects, all the way up to the eleventh hour, it just makes Ohio a state that's not friendly to that kind of investment," Sawmiller said.

Along with environmental advocates, business groups and energy companies have also opposed the bill said it creates more barriers to entry for development.

The bill is scheduled for a hearing on Wednesday when lawmakers could introduced changes to the legislation and possibly hold a vote.

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.