Senate Committee Hears Concerns on Senate Wind Referendum Bill

The Ohio Chamber of Commerce recently testified in front of the Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee as an opponent to Senate Bill 234. There were over 500 written opponent testimonies and 11 in-person witnesses who testified against this bill. This legislation, sponsored by Sen. Rob McColley, 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 of 2019. The Ohio Chamber was supportive of this action.

SB 234 would allow residents of townships to put referenda on their ballots to overturn wind projects after they have been approved by the Ohio Power Siting Board. At this point in a wind project, a developer has spent millions of dollars on impact studies, certifications and other pre-development requirements.

Wind generation is the only source of energy that is subjected to this type of ballot measure which could set a dangerous precedent for other forms of generation in the future. The Ohio Chamber of Commerce supports a diverse statewide energy portfolio and believes that all generation sources should be subjected to the same regulatory climate. If implemented, SB 234 could create uncertainty for existing wind projects and stifle all future wind development in the state. The Ohio Chamber of Commerce urges the Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee to vote “no” on SB 234; however, we will continue to keep an open dialogue with lawmakers on this legislation.