YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO — At a town hall event in Ohio’s manufacturing hub on Sunday, Republican presidential candidate John Kasich criticized Secretary of State John Kerry for traveling to Paris to fight climate change, and said clean energy was too expensive for the region.
The Ohio governor’s remarks came in response to a constituent who asked how he would “implement clean energy and green jobs” in Youngstown if elected president. The questioner noted that clean energy was important to fighting human-caused climate change, and that Kerry had recently travelled to Paris to negotiate an international deal to reduce emissions.
“I think when [Kerry] went to Paris, he should have gone there to get our allies together to fight ISIS instead,” Kasich said to applause. He added that clean energy would be too expensive to implement in the Mahoning Valley, where the manufacturing industry has suffered in recent years.
“Youngstown has a history of manufacturing, okay, you know that, right?” Kasich said. “You want to bring more jobs back to the Mahoning Valley, in things like manufacturing? You better have the cheapest energy you can have in the world. Do you know how much these alternative energies cost? A lot more than our traditional energy sources.”
Kasich went on to say that while he was concerned about climate change and the environment, and believed solar and wind were important to invest in, fossil fuels would always be a part of American society.
“We want to make sure we promote [renewable energy] and we also want to look forward to battery technologies that can change us, but we don’t want to give up on the traditional sources of energy,” he said. “We should continue to dig coal, but we have to clean it before we burn it. We’ve been doing it in our state. We want to develop natural gas, that’s very important.”
Kasich’s response was a bit different than the one he gave in renewable-friendly Vermont a few weeks ago. There, he recognized the need to develop renewable sources — but didn’t mention the cost.
“I know we need to develop all of the renewables, and we need to do it in an orderly way,” Kasich said at the time. “We need to be promoting the renewable energies, we need to have more efficiency, and we need to live respecting the resources in our environment.”