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Broad support among Ohio lawmakers for the repeal of nuclear bailout law

Lawmakers debate repeal of nuclear plant bailout law  https://www.mahoningmatters.com/regional-news/lawmakers-debate-repeal-of-nuclear-plant-bailout-law-2703211 – By: Farnoush Amiri , 11 Sept 20, State Rep. Michael O’Brien of Warren testified in favor of a full repeal of House Bill 6 Thursday.

COLUMBUS (AP) — The alleged corruption that led to passage of a nuclear plant bailout law and questions about whether the bailout was necessary require the law’s immediate repeal and replacement, Democratic and Republican lawmakers testified Thursday.

Supporters of the energy policy contained within the law who worry a repeal of House Bill 6  throws the baby “out with the bathwater” overlook the enormous problems with the law, said state Rep. Laura Lanese.

“I would counter that what we have now isn’t bathwater, but mud,” Lanese told the House Select Committee on Energy Policy and Oversight, created to hear the repeal. “And once you have mud, you can’t cleanly separate the dirt from the water and still have confidence you got rid of all the dirt.”

 “…….. At issue is HB 6, which would add a fee to every electricity bill in the state and direct more than $150 million a year, through 2026, to the nuclear plants near Cleveland and Toledo.

The law is now at the center of a $60 million federal bribery probe that led to the ouster of former GOP House Speaker Larry Householder. Federal prosecutors in July accused Householder and four others of shepherding energy company money for personal and political use as part of an effort to pass the legislation, then kill any attempt to repeal it at the ballot.

Federal documents make clear the company was Akron-based FirstEnergy.

While FirstEnergy and its executives have denied wrongdoing and have not been criminally charged, federal investigators say the company secretly funneled millions to secure a $1 billion legislative bailout for two unprofitable Ohio nuclear plants then operated by an independently controlled subsidiary called FirstEnergy Solutions.

In addition to the corruption charges, there’s evidence that the plants didn’t need the bailout, said Lanese and fellow Republican Rep. Dave Greenspan. They noted that a FirstEnergy spinoff company announced an $800 million stock buyback in May, after the law was passed.ly funneled millions to secure a $1 billion legislative bailout for two unprofitable Ohio nuclear plants then operated by an independently controlled subsidiary called FirstEnergy Solutions.

In addition to the corruption charges, there’s evidence that the plants didn’t need the bailout, said Lanese and fellow Republican Rep. Dave Greenspan. They noted that a FirstEnergy spinoff company announced an $800 million stock buyback in May, after the law was passed.

In addition, a portion of the bill also provided guaranteed profits for the company even if revenue dips.

“The owner and operator of the nuclear plants has cash flow and is profitable today, months before the first cent from House Bill 6 is set to reach them,” Greenspan said.

In addition, by favoring nuclear energy over other clean energy options, the bill created winners and losers, Greenspan said.

Democratic state Reps. Michael O’Brien of Warren and Michael Skindell of suburban Cleveland also testified in favor of a repeal. The effort has broad bipartisan support, including backing from Republican Gov. Mike DeWine.

September 12, 2020 - Posted by | politics, USA

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