The latest politician to leap toward the GOP nomination is widely known as America’s most anti-green governor. But he has a critical decision coming up that could help change that.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich has established a national reputation as a leading enemy of renewable energy and enhanced energy efficiency.
Kasich scrapped energy program that created jobs and saved consumers $230 million http://t.co/Ev5Ys1sLjg
— Daily Kos (@dailykos) July 21, 2015
When he took office in 2011, he opened fire by killing a $400 million federal grant to restore passenger rail service between Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati.
Columbus is the largest capital city in the western world that people cannot get to by train. It also has no internal commuter rail, making it what some have called “the mid-sized town technology forgot.”
The rail grant had been painstakingly crafted over the better part of a decade by a broad bi-partisan coalition. It was poised to create hundreds of jobs and provide new opportunity for a number of small towns languishing along the restoration route.
The son of a postal worker, Kasich has long touted “jobs, jobs, jobs” as his trademark commitment. The polls were very tight just prior to Ohio’s 2010 election when a check for $1 million came into his campaign chest from Rupert Murdoch, owner of Fox TV, where Kasich had anchored a commentary show. Between his time as a U.S. Congressman and the governor’s race, Kasich amassed a personal fortune by selling junk bonds to government pension funds.
Upon entering the statehouse in 2011 he sent the $400 million rail grant back to the feds with stunning contempt. There were no public hearings, no legislative debates, no discussion with Ohioans who had labored for years to bring the money into the state.
Kasich then attacked renewable energy. Under previous Gov. Ted Strickland, a bi-partisan coalition had constructed one of America’s most successful green power packages. Major wind farms involving some $2 billion in invested capital were poised to pour into northern Ohio.
Wind turbines can be especially profitable in the corridor just south of Lake Erie. The fertile farmland is flat, the breezes are steady, there are plenty of transmission lines and the power can be generated relatively close to urban areas like Toledo, Canton, Cleveland and Akron. Thousands of jobs and radically reduced electric rates were set to revive Ohio’s gutted industrial economy.