Jane Harf, former American Electric Power executive, and head of the Ohio EPA, is a longtime friend of ELPC. She recently had this op-ed published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
GRANVILLE, Ohio — In Ohio, the clean energy economy isn’t merely the future – it’s the present. We already see clean energy providing jobs, saving money, and making our nation more secure. And we know we’ve only begun to scratch the surface.
So it was very troubling when President Donald Trump named Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as his nominee to run the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Pruitt has repeatedly sued to block standards that would reduce harmful pollution and boost clean energy. His nomination suggests what many of us have feared about the Trump administration – that it will not understand either the future potential of the clean energy economy, or its current growing role in Ohio and across the nation.
The clean energy economy is taking off around the country. Millions of Americans now work in the industry. Indeed, more Americans work in wind and solar power today than in coal mining and oil and gas extraction. In 2016, more than half of electricity generation capacity added to the U.S. grid came from renewable resources, reports Daniel Cusick of E&E News.
More and more Republicans are starting to recognize clean energy’s economic opportunity.
In Ohio, Gov. John Kasich has repeatedly shown support for a healthier, more diverse energy mix. He remained committed to this vision last month when he vetoed Substitute House Bill 554, a bill passed in the Ohio legislature that would have extended the “freeze” on clean energy development.
In vetoing the bill, Kasich explained that, “Ohio workers cannot afford to take a step backward from the economic gains that we have made in recent years … and arbitrarily limiting Ohio’s energy generation options amounts to self-inflicted damage.”
A recent report from the Environmental Defense Fund and The Nature Conservancy, titled “Grounds for Optimism: Options for Empowering Ohio’s Energy Market,” found that Ohio could grow the economy by billions of dollars, help residents save money on their electric bills and health care costs, and create tens of thousands of jobs by embracing renewable energy and efficiency standards.