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Crunch time soon for Ohio nuclear bailout Bill

Day of reckoning nears for Ohio nuclear bailout bill, By COLUMBUS, Ohio— Next week will be an important one in deciding the fate of Ohio’s two nuclear power plants and the state’s green-energy mandates.

House Bill 6, which would bail out FirstEnergy Solutions’ Davis-Besse and Perry nuclear plants and scrap Ohio’s energy-efficiency and renewable-energy standards for utilities, must be passed before the legislature leaves for summer break at the end of the month, proponents say. That’s because FirstEnergy Solutions asserts it must decide by June 30 whether to order $52 million worth of new nuclear fuel or move to close the two plants.

(The company, which is going through bankruptcy proceedings as part of an effort to separate from FirstEnergy Corp., says the plants are unprofitable without state subsidies).

But as that June 30 deadline approaches, state senators are still working to hammer out a compromise deal that is acceptable to both the Ohio Senate and House.

State Sen. Matt Dolan, a Chagrin Falls Republican, told The Plain Dealer/ editorial board Friday that he is working on an “alternative” to HB6 with state Sen. Steve Wilson, a Maineville Republican who chairs the Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee, which has been holding hearings on the bill.

Dolan, who also serves on the committee, said their proposed revision is “not ready to be aired yet,” but he indicated it would no longer seek to completely abolish the state’s energy-efficiency and renewable-energy standards.

That alternative, Dolan said, “won’t undermine the development of alternative energy and clean energy in Ohio.”

Wilson didn’t immediately return a phone call Friday to his office. But he said earlier this month that he personally favors spinning out the nuclear subsidies away from the other parts of the legislation that don’t need to be passed before summer break…….

Under the current version of HB6, passed by the Ohio House late last month, every residential ratepayer in Ohio would be charged up to $1 per month through 2026 to create a “clean-air” fund that would raise about $190 million per year. Most – if not all – of that money would go toward bailing out the two nuclear facilities. ………

If the nuclear subsidies do pass and are signed into law by Gov. Mike DeWine (who has indicated his support), some opponents say they’ll seek a statewide referendum on overturning it in 2020. ……..

June 24, 2019 - Posted by | politics, USA

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