| WASHINGTON, June 13
WASHINGTON, June 13 Ohio Governor John Kasich on
Friday signed legislation to freeze a six-year old law that
required utilities to sell increasing amounts of green energy,
making the state the first in the country to roll back a clean
Kasich, a Republican mentioned as a possible contender for
the 2016 presidential race, signed Senate Bill 310, which passed
in the state's legislature with strong support from some of
Ohio's biggest industrial power users, such as Alcoa, and
the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.
A number of other companies with operations in the state,
including Honda Motor, Honeywell and Whirlpool
, opposed the freeze, and have said it will risk new jobs
in the state.
The original 2008 Ohio law called on utilities to sell more
green power each year. The Senate bill freezes the mandate at
current levels until 2017.
The move comes after the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency released a proposal on June 2 to put the U.S. power
sector on track to cut carbon dioxide emissions from existing
power plants by 30 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels.
Each state has been given an individual target. Ohio needs
to cut the amount of carbon it emits per megawatt hour of
electricity produced by 28 percent.
Environmental groups have said that suspending the clean
energy plan means Ohio will not be able to meet the recently
introduced EPA carbon emission limits.
The original law passed easily under Kasich's predecessor,
Democrat Ted Strickland. It required Ohio utilities to sell at
least 25 percent of electricity from renewable sources like wind
or solar by 2025.
The law also required utilities to boost energy efficiency,
reducing customers' power usage by 22 percent.
In announcing on Friday afternoon that Kasich signed the
bill, his office did not offer a comment.
(Reporting by Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Ros Krasny and Dan