Thursday afternoon, House Bill 201 took its last step toward enactment when the Ohio Senate passed it by a 25-7 vote.
HB 201 creates safeguards for commercial and residential energy users’ access to natural gas by preventing local government from limiting or banning the fuel sources. More importantly, this bill protects customers’ ability to choose what mix of energy sources works best for their needs.
The effect that natural gas bans have deny businesses and homeowners the service they need, want and most commonly use to power their lives, heat their homes and run their operations. Limiting energy choice would effectively be forcing businesses and homeowners to replace the appliances they want to use — grills, hot water heaters, fireplaces, fryers and furnaces — with less efficient and more costly ones.
Energy policy is of statewide concern since all Ohioans depend on reliable, affordable energy. Local level go-it-alone policies could undermine the entire state’s competitive standing and hinder our state’s diverse portfolio of energy sources because we constantly compete against other states, many of which are in the process of passing legislation similar to HB 201. The Ohio Chamber has been a consistent proponent when it comes to advocating for energy policies that promote a diverse portfolio regulated at the state-level. HB 201 would stop the development of a cumbersome patchwork of local ordinances that would deter investment opportunities in our state by sending mixed messages to companies looking to invest in Ohio about the importance of clean, affordable and abundant natural gas.
The Ohio Chamber applauds the passage of HB 201 and looks forward to Gov. DeWine’s signature.