Big jobs news this week for southwest Ohio. General Electric says it will build its US global operations center in the Cincinnati area. What used to be known as the budget correction bill - and what's now called the mid biennium review or MBR - is working its way through the legislature. The main appropriations bill was on the House floor this week, after the House Finance Committee approved it with several pages of additions and changes dropped in by GOP lawmakers. And a northeast Ohio Republican state lawmaker missed the action at the Statehouse this week - Rep. Ron Young (R-Leroy Township) is home recovering after donating a kidney to his wife.
Ohio's alternative energy standards have been law for six years - the law mandates that 25 percent of the electricity sold in Ohio come from alternative energy sources. And at least half of that must be generated by renewable sources such as wind, solar, geothermal, hydropower or biomass, and half of that must be generated within Ohio. As the standards were being phased in, FirstEnergy expressed serious concerns about them, saying things have changed in Ohio since the law was passed. FirstEnergy helped Sen. Bill Seitz of Cincinnati develop a bill that would overhaul those standards, but that controversial bill stalled in committee. But there's a new bill that would freeze those standards at the end of this year, while a task force looks into the costs of the standards and the benefits of them. Two leaders of groups that would be affected by the standards - whether they continue on schedule or are frozen at this year's levels - debate the new bill. Ted Ford is the president of Ohio Advanced Energy Economy, which represents more than 400 renewable and energy efficiency companies. Sam Randazzo is with Industrial Energy Users Ohio, which represents big and small companies such as McDonald's and Marathon Refinery.
April 11, 2014