Ohio lags behind the states of the northeast in our commitment to clean energy. By November 15, 2004, nine Northeastern US states – Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania – committed to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) RGGI. These states established emission capping and trading programs to stabilize greenhouse gas emissions.
As governor, I will make sure that Ohio joins these states, as well as California and Oregon, in embracing the Kyoto Protocol in reducing greenhouse gases. Already, four cities in Ohio support the Kyoto Protocol: Brooklyn, Dayton, Garfield Heights, and Toledo. It’s a shame that none of Ohio’s three major cities, Columbus-Cincinnati-Cleveland, have adopted this position.
Democrat Ted Strickland has made apolitical decision to support what he calls “clean coal technologies.” This makes political sense given that he currently represents coal-mining regions of Ohio as a U.S. representative. Environmentally, his plan is unsound. First, the gasification of coal, of course, involves coal mining which is and remains an environmental nightmare – rubblizing hills, destroying forests, and polluting watersheds, rivers and streams. Also, coal gasification is a largely untested and unproven technology and the cost will be astronomical. It’s actually more expensive than dirty coal and far more expensive than wind and solar energy. Coal gasification will be a major pork-barrel project by the government. Sure, contractors and contributors to Strickland will get rich off these contracts, but it will do nothing to improve the environment of Ohio in the long run. Capturing huge amounts of CO2 gas and pumping it back into the earth on a long-term basis is what makes “clean coal” clean. The capturing of CO2 gas, which is both technically feasible and plausible, still raises the question of the viability of underground storage systems.
So, what Strickland is offering is an incredibly expensive, political solution that will cost more than solar and wind energy and one that will destroy our hills and valleys. Instead, every public building that is built in the state of Ohio should be a green building. We should be integrating green landscaping into every construction project as well as solar panels and fuel efficient power systems that can sell energy to surrounding communities. As a Green, I seek real environmental solutions, not politically expedient solutions that are designed to please special interests.