On Tuesday, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce provided opponent testimony to the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee on House Bill 401. This legislation, sponsored by Rep. Bill Reineke, was recently introduced as stand-alone legislation after the House-added wind referendum provision in House Bill 6 was stripped by the Senate back in the spring.
HB 401 would allow residents of a township to put a referendum on the ballot to overturn a wind project after it has been approved by the Ohio Power Siting Board. This approach is concerning because not only would wind be the only generation source that is subject to this kind of referendum, but it would also create uncertainty for current and future wind energy projects.
Chairman Vitale asked if the Ohio Chamber of Commerce would support a revision of the bill to move the referendum earlier in the development process, and we acknowledged that we would be open to having this conversation.
The committee is expected to meet again in the coming weeks to continue their consideration of House Bill 401. Additionally, the Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee will be hearing sponsor testimony for HB 401’s companion bill, Senate Bill 234.
The Ohio Chamber of Commerce will continue to watch both bills as they make their way through the process. If SB 234 receives a third hearing, the Ohio Chamber will likely testify.