Business vs. clean energy: Ohioans pulled 2 ways

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Business vs. clean energy: Ohioans pulled 2 ways

Columbus Dispatch – WASHINGTON – The letter last week to Sen. Sherrod Brown was signed by executives from some of the largest companies and business organizations in Ohio – including FirstEnergy of Akron, the Timken Company of Canton, the Ohio Manufacturers' Association and the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.

In pointed language, the authors urged Brown to back a bill that would prevent the U.S. Environmental Agency from regulating the greenhouse gasses thought to cause climate change, warning in near-apocalyptic terms that "the future of Ohio may depend on this vote."

The letter was signed by 25 executives, right down to the head of J's Pizza Market in Mentor. And it vividly illustrates the pressure that Ohio lawmakers, whose state gets about 86 percent of its electricity from coal-fired power plants, face from industries to oppose new restrictions on emissions of carbon dioxide – either from Congress approving new laws or the EPA issuing regulations.

Although environmentalists are wary of Brown's support of technology designed to allow utility companies to burn Ohio coal without emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, they largely back the senator, who likes to boast that "Ohio really is on the road to being the Silicon Valley of alternative energy."

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