Radical groups have been attacking natural gas in Ohio. In particular, they have been trying to pass local measures that block new natural gas hook ups, putting Ohioans are at risk of losing access to reliable, affordable energy.

Fortunately, legislators have responded to this threat, passing House Bill 201 to prevent municipalities throughout the state from passing legislation that restricts natural gas. Governor Mike DeWine quickly signed HB 201.  

Sponsors of the bill argued that it was important to keep natural gas prices from rising from unneeded restrictions. Natural gas has reliably kept Ohio warm for years, but that has been jeopardized by predatory local regulations designed solely to achieve radical left-wing goals.

Natural gas supports 375,000 total jobs in Ohio, contributing $59 billion to the state’s GDP, according to a new study

“This would be an incredible problem for people across the Buckeye State if we don’t get out in front of this,” Senator Rob McColley said during floor debate on the bill. A small but troubling number of cities on the east and west coast have passed fuel price increasing restrictions, now Ohio residents can feel more secure about their future energy bills.

According to census data Compiled by the legislative service commission, over two-thirds of Ohio residents use natural gas for heat, 25% for electricity. The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Jason Stephens stated that this legislation will safe guard the Ohio economy and benefit all citizens, “Here in Ohio, we want to promote a fair market for all Ohioans, consumers, to have energy options that work best for them — this legislation helps make that a reality… With this bill, I’m ensuring my constituents; all Ohioans and businesses have accessibility within their communities to the abundance of natural gas that our great state has preserved.”

The bill also ensures that customers who want natural gas have a right to purchase the product “the right to obtain any available distribution service or retail natural gas service from a natural gas company with capacity to provide”. This is a win for consumers both in their liberty to patronize what energy service they prefer, and ensuring low prices and competition. This bill continues Ohio’s track record of being one of the least expensive energy states in the country.

Republicans have scored a major win by passing this latest piece of energy legislation. In order to protect consumers, advocates of limited government are having to use state preemption as a tool to stop cities from hampering or banning all sorts of products.