A proposed state constitutional amendment that would pump $13 billion a year into green energy projects over 10 years has come under fire from environmental groups and renewable energy supporters that are critical of the plan’s lack of transparency.
The ballot proposal is being championed by a group called Yes for Ohio’s Energy Future and would require the state to issue $1.3 billion in bonds per year from 2013 through 2023 to fund green energy projects. Earlier this month, the Ohio Ballot Board voted unanimously to allow the proposal’s backers to begin collecting the 385,245 valid signatures from Ohio registered voters needed to put the amendment on the ballot this fall.
But a strongly worded letter from environmental advocates—including Ohio Environmental Council, Environment Ohio, Environmental Law & Policy Center, Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Ohio Chapter of the Sierra Club—urged the proposal’s supporters to abandon their efforts.
The groups criticize the plan’s “overly broad” and “vague” language, and its establishment of a Delaware-based limited liability company—Ohio Energy Initiative Commission—that would oversee the funds and collect $65 million in annual management fees. The letter concludes that the proposal “does not follow established good-government practices, has an unacceptable lack of transparency and accountability, and will not be effective.”
Renewable energy groups Ohio Business Council for a Clean Economy and the American Wind Energy Association, as well as Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted—one of the key architects of Ohio Senate Bill 221, which created Ohio’s renewable portfolio standard in 2008—have also come out against the proposal, according to media reports. Bricker & Eckler LLP will continue to monitor the proposal as it moves closer to the Nov. 6 ballot.