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Mixed reaction for Kasich backing of energy freeze

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 14, 2014 at 10:51 am •  Published: June 14, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Republican Gov. John Kasich's signature on a bill delaying the phase-in of Ohio's renewable energy and efficiency targets and repealing advanced energy mandates is drawing a mixed reaction.

Kasich signed the bill without comment Friday. Advanced-energy businesses, environmentalists, civil rights advocates and faith leaders had opposed the bill, with many calling for a veto.

Steve Frenkel, the Union of Concerned Scientists' director in the Midwest, said it was fitting the signing came on Friday the 13th. He called the bill frighteningly risky.

He predicted it would "increase costs for consumers, increase air pollution from the state's power sector and hurt Ohio's ability to meet new EPA carbon pollution standards."

The Ohio Chamber of Commerce and other influential business groups, utilities and industrial electricity users favored the signing.

Doug Colafella, a spokesman for Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp., told The Blade newspaper of Toledo that the predicted price increases from the freeze are hypothetical. He said the utility had calculated that energy efficiency mandates, if left unchecked, would gradually push up average electric bills from $54 to $241.

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