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Energy News Network: HB 6 Repeal Would Address Only Part of Ohio Lawmakers' Recent Actions to Slow Renewables

Posted by Kathiann M. Kowalski on Jul 23, 2020

Energy News Network covered the push to repeal Ohio's nuclear bailout bill in light of criminal complaints of bribery and conspiracy that led to passage of the bill in 2019, quoting AEE's JR Tolbert. Read excerpts below and the entire Energy News Network piece here. 

Both Republican and Democratic Ohio lawmakers are pushing to repeal the state’s nuclear bailout bill after this week’s release of a federal criminal complaint against House Speaker Larry Householder and others. Clean energy advocates say that would be a start, but more is needed to address eight years of lawmakers’ actions to slow the growth of renewables in the state. The complaint alleges a $60 million bribery and conspiracy scheme that led to the passage of House Bill 6 last summer, followed by the defeat of a referendum effort to give voters a say on the bill...

HB 6 is primarily known as a “nuclear bailout” for providing six years of subsidies for the FirstEnergy Solutions/Energy Harbor nuclear power plants in Ohio totaling roughly a billion dollars, but it also gutted the state’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standards, and provided bailouts for two 1950s-era coal plants in Ohio and Indiana. And while Gov. Mike DeWine has recently shifted his position from defending HB 6 to saying he wants to “repeal and replace” it, legislators from both parties say the whole thing should be thrown out.

DeWine has said his office had no involvement in the alleged scheme. Yet he signed the law within hours after Householder secured its passage last summer... Efforts to give preferences to FirstEnergy and utility and fossil fuel interests didn’t start with HB 6. Bailout proposals have been on the table since at least 2014.  And efforts to limit or repeal Ohio’s clean energy standards have been underway since at least 2012. A 2014 law imposed a two-year “freeze,” and then former Gov. John Kasich vetoed another bill to erode the standards.

Other bills for nuclear and fossil subsidies and for weakening the standards were proposed in 2017 and 2018. And then Householder was elected.

HB 6 “was much more than a bailout for uneconomic nuclear and coal plants. It was an attack on renewable energy and energy efficiency that First Energy, and its allies in the legislature, had been pushing for years,” said J.R. Tolbert, managing director for Advanced Energy Economy’s national business group...

“Repealing HB 6 doesn’t solve all of the challenges faced by clean energy companies or corporations trying to meet their sustainability targets in Ohio, but it’s a good start,” Tolbert said.

Read the entire Energy News Network piece here. 

Topics: AEE In The News