Columbus, Ohio–Today, 20 veterans from across Ohio met with state lawmakers to educate them about the economic and energy security benefits of Ohio’s renewable energy standards. During the advocacy event, organized by the clean energy campaign Operation Free, the veterans – many of whom are employed in the clean energy industry – met with Ohio state legislators to talk about the importance of supporting Ohio’s clean energy policies.
Air Force veteran and Operation Free’s Ohio Director Zach Roberts organized the event, aiming to call attention to the importance of Ohio’s current Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard (AEPS) and Energy Efficient Renewable Standard (EERS), which have already created thousands of jobs – many of them held by veterans – and helped stabilize energy markets for a more security energy future.
“I joined Operation Free because, as a veteran, I have seen firsthand how access to diverse, reliable sources of energy is critical to our national security,” said Roberts. “I’m proud that Ohio has shown leadership in this area through our renewable energy standards, which create clean, homegrown energy options – like wind and solar – that save Ohioans and our military on their utility bills, create thousands of jobs, and stabilize energy markets while ensuring reliable access for a more secure energy future.”
The majority of the 20 veterans participating in the day-long event chose to pursue careers in the clean energy sector after returning home from tours of duty. Marine Corps veteran Samantha Allen, who deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, said it is crucial for Ohio to continue to develop and diversify its energy portfolio with cleaner sources of energy to strengthen our national and economic security.
At a press conference at the Ladies Gallery of the Statehouse, Allen said, “I saw first-hand the dangers of our dependence on fuel and the resources lost because of inefficient technologies. I’ve had to bury friends who were killed in action trying to protect the same resource that continue to fund our enemies: oil. Our elected officials should listen to our military leaders and continue to support clean energy policies that will keep Ohio and America safe and strong.”
Military leaders are investing heavily in renewable energy because they know it’s the best way to ensure secure access to energy, especially in conflict zones where it is dangerous to transport fuel that powers operations at Forward Operating Bases.
Through its existing clean energy standards, which passed with bipartisan support in 2008, Ohio is following the military’s lead and providing consumers with more secure energy options and saving millions through energy efficiency.
Recent legislation proposed by State Sen. Bill Seitz, Substitute Senate Bill 58 (SB58), would reduce Ohio’s renewable energy standards if passed. During their meetings with legislators today, the veterans educated their representatives about the importance of supporting the state’s clean energy investments so that Ohio can continue to be a model of success for other states across the country.
Operation Free is a nationwide coalition of veterans and national security experts working to secure America with clean energy. Its members in Ohio are working to support the growth of renewables and energy efficiency standards in the state.