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An Ohio law defining natural gas as ‘green energy’ — and backed by dark money — lays out the next battle in the climate wars

How a group with ties to the state’s biggest corruption scandal ever was behind the move.

“It’s hard to say that this is just a one-and-done sort of thing,” Waggoner said. “It’s all part of a longer pattern.”

County level and up

Defining a fossil fuel as on par with actual renewable energy might not have an enormous immediate impact, especially in a state where previous efforts have already reduced the incentives to build out solar and wind power. But it sets the stage for future shenanigans that could prop up the oil industry and tamp down on true clean energy.

“Any time that someone tries to do something positive on renewables, gas [could] get a cut of the incentives, or whatever it might be,” said Dave Anderson, policy and communications manager for the nonprofit Energy and Policy Institute, which has been tracking TEA through a number of public records requests.

In TEA’s local efforts, Anderson said that some counties entertained the group’s visits but didn’t end up passing any resolutions. But in general, TEA’s message seemed well received, and the group has tried to spread it widely.

“It’s a real chickens--- way to push this through,” Waggoner said.

Dark money tentacles

Expanding the gas wars

“It seems pretty clear that they are beta testing this for going into other states,” Waggoner said.

“I think the greater danger would be that someone would find a sneakier way to do this so that something similar was incorporated into actual renewable energy or clean energy standards in another state, in a way that would more limit the opportunities available to wind and solar power,” Anderson said.

“The gas industry is trying to get ahead of things,” Waggoner said. “I think that they know the cultural war aspect works.”

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