Environmental Groups Oppose DeWine's Pick For PUCO Chair

Feb 4, 2019

Environmental groups say Gov. Mike DeWine’s appointment of Sam Randazzo to lead the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio is problematic because of Randazzo's past opposition to renewable energy issues.

Randazzo, who recently retired from representing Industrial Energy Users-Ohio, is one of four nominees selected by a nominating council. The environmental groups are specifically targeting Randazzo for his past opposition to renewable energy projects.

“We need someone who’s a visionary, someone who really understands not just what Ohio’s like today but what Ohio needs to be in the future to stay competitive,” says Heather Taylor-Miesle with the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund.

Industrial Energy Users-Ohio represents large energy ratepayers, with members such as Marathon Gas and McDonald’s franchises.

On behalf of the group, Randazzo consistently opposed proposals that resulted in increases on electric bills. That meant opposing renewable energy standards, but it included opposing a cost recovery plan for coal plants.

The Environmental Law and Policy Center, National Audubon Society, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Sierra Club Ohio Chapter joined the Ohio Environmental Council in its opposition to Randazzo.

The other nominees sent to DeWine for his consideration were:

  • Bryce McKenney, assistant consumers' counsel at Office of the Ohio Consumers' Counsel
  • Gene Krebs, former chair of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel Governing Board
  • Dennis Deters, outgoing judge of the 1st Ohio District Court of Appeals of Cincinnati

DeWine's appointment is subject to Ohio Senate confirmation.

Updated: Tuesday, February 5, 2019