Legislation on Additional Infrastructure to Address ’Energy Deserts’
COLUMBUS, Ohio – State Representatives Jon Cross (R-Kenton) and Jay Edwards (R-Nelsonville) have introduced House Bill 685, the ENERGIZEOhio bill, to promote the use of Ohio’s abundant natural gas energy resource.
Ohio is a leader in the production of natural gas. Unfortunately, too many communities across the state have been locked out of future job growth and economic development opportunities due to limited energy infrastructure to deliver Ohio’s natural gas to them.
Modeled after successful economic development programs already used in Ohio, ENERGIZEOhio will create a series of programs and incentives geared toward lowering energy costs and growing energy infrastructure in the state.
“We’ve been hearing from communities that are locked out of future job growth because of the high cost of energy infrastructure in the state,” Cross said. “These ‘energy deserts’ see limited job growth because there just isn’t the infrastructure in place to deliver energy at a reasonable price. House Bill 685 is a step in the right direction to address the problem and bring jobs and affordable energy to every corner of the state.”
“I’ve heard from communities that are really suffering because they don’t have the energy they need, even though there is robust supply in the state and strong local demand,” Edwards said. “Energy infrastructure construction costs have just gone through the roof due to inflation. We can’t wait for Washington to solve our problems. The General Assembly needs to pass this legislation to help deal with these increases in costs.”
House Bill 685 would permit the creation of locally led “ENERGIZEOhio Zones,” which will serve as designated areas in need of investment. Within the ENERGIZEOhio Zone, natural gas infrastructure projects would receive tax abatements and accelerated depreciation to lower the overall cost of the development. In addition, House Bill 685 would permit the State of Ohio to offer low-cost financing to support projects and provide a revolving loan fund to allow local officials to facilitate pipeline easements. Finally, the bill provides financial incentives to gas companies to encourage the development of natural gas pipelines in ENERGIZEOhio zones.
“Too much of Ohio’s energy is being shipped out of state,” Cross said. “We need to keep it here in Ohio to ensure our businesses and citizens have access to affordable, abundant local energy.”