Energy

Dennis Kucinich Calls For Regulation Overhaul Of Energy Industry

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter

Dennis Kucinich, a Democratic gubernatorial candidate, is calling for sweeping regulations of the energy sector in Ohio. His reaction comes after several nuclear plants in the state are planned to be shut down.

Kucinich, a former presidential candidate who is now running for governor, has already established himself as an ardent opponent of the fossil fuel industry. He has outlined a series of proposals for a complete ban on oil and gas drilling in Ohio.

If elected, he would block any new drilling permits and place a statewide injection-well ban, Kucinich declared during a news conference in January. The former congressman vowed to use eminent domain to acquire and shut down all existing oil and gas wells in the state. As an unabashed opponent of fracking, Kucinich said he would instruct the Ohio State Highway Patrol to inspect and turn away any vehicles harboring fracking waste.

He also wants to collect data with the goal of enacting a multi-billion dollar lawsuit against fracking companies.

Republicans currently enjoy a majority in the Ohio legislature, however, Kucinich believes he can work with conservative lawmakers to enact his sweeping proposals.

“If the governor can’t take a stand for the health and safety of this state, then why even run?” the liberal Democrat said in January.

Kucinich has seemingly upped the ante since FirstEnergy Corp., an electric utility headquartered in Ohio, has declared bankruptcy and announced it will close its Davis-Besse nuclear plant by 2020.

“Deregulation has been a failure in Ohio,” Kucinich stated. “It has exposed Ohio and its workers to the market distortions of out-of-state predators. It has not in any way, shape or form resulted in benefits for either Ohio utility ratepayers or Ohio businesses.”

Ohio deregulated its utility market in 1999 in order to give consumers more choice. If elected, Kucinich plans to reimpose regulations. He wants to extend the phase-out period for nuclear utilities to provide a “soft landing” for energy consumers and workers.

The gubernatorial candidate’s ideas are welcomed by environmentalists, yet have not received the same reception from Ohio’s traditional energy community. Mike Chadsey, a spokesman for the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, lambasted Kucinich for wanting to upend an industry that provides thousands of jobs to Ohio citizens.

“For being the person who touts himself as the candidate for the average guy, he sure is anti-worker and anti-union,” Chadsey stated in January. “These bold and unrealistic statements show how desperate his hopeless campaign is.”

Kucinich’s campaign was unavailable for a statement in time for publication of this report.

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