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Politics


FitzGerald proposes an energy plan based on alternative sources
The Democratic gubernatorial candidate's plan goes in opposite direction of Gov. Kasich's policies
by WKSU's STATEHOUSE CORRESPONDENT JO INGLES


Reporter
Jo Ingles
 
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald talks about his energy plan in Columbus.
Courtesy of Jo Ingles
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In The Region:

The Democrat who wants to unseat the Republican incumbent governor has laid out his energy plan for the Buckeye State. Ed FitzGerald’s agenda would undo some of the newly passed laws that he says weaken alternative energy standards.

LISTEN: INGLES ON ENERGY PLAN

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Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald says when Republican John Kasich took office, alternative energy companies had brought 25,000 new jobs to Ohio and were ready to develop more here until recently.

"Basically you have Gov. Kasich putting a 'You are not welcome here' sign on Ohio when it comes to the new energy economy," Fitzgerald says.

FitzGerald is critical of the law Kasich recently signed that puts a two-year freeze on Ohio’s alternative energy standards that had passed almost unanimously under former Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland.

"We were helping to lead the country, and now we are leading the country in a completely opposite direction," FitzGerald says. "S.B.310 was an enormous step backwards and ... if it’s not reversed, it is going to have dire consequences for this state." 

Bulk prices for communities
FitzGerald says those consequences include higher energy bills for consumers and businesses. He says he would do what he needs to do to undo that law and another that puts restrictions on wind farms.

FitzGerald adds that he wants to create new energy districts statewide that would allow communities to buy energy in bulk at better prices. He also says he wants to make sure any changes made in energy policy do not hurt coal-dependent areas of the state.

"If you are going to take regulatory actions that are going to have a significant economic effect, you can’t leave the populations that are economically dependent on current industry hanging," FitzGerald says.

FitzGerald says the state needs to shift any revenue from energy to those impacted areas of the state, not use that money to provide income tax cuts to Ohio’s wealthiest citizens -- as he says is now being done.

In a written statement, Chris Shrimpf, a spokesman for the Ohio Republican Party, says FitzGerald’s energy plan completely ignores Ohio’s booming natural gas industry. Ohio’s production of natural gas has doubled in the past year. And Schrimpf adds that FitzGerald’s plan is “nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to raise funds from the same people who fund the out of state environmental extremist groups who have opposed Ohio’s booming natural-gas jobs.”

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