Recent news

The nuclear bailout nobody's talking about

Oct 19, 2020 1:41 PM

COLUMBUS -- "In February, seven months after Gov. Mike Dewine signed the $1.3 billion ratepayer bailout that mostly would subsidize two Northern Ohio nuclear plants, FirstEnergy might have gotten an even bigger break in U.S. bankruptcy court. That’s when Judge Alan M. Koschik signed off on a settlement that largely excused FirstEnergy from footing part of the bill to clean up the aging nuclear plants in Ohio and another in Pennsylvania that it had bequeathed to to its successor, now known as Energy Harbor, in the event that company goes belly up.

If the new company can’t make a go of it with the nuclear and coal plants that had been owned by FirstEnergy, taxpayers could well be on the hook for whatever part of the estimated $10 billion nuclear cleanup that Energy Harbor and a trust fund it’s required to maintain can’t.

Those are cleanups that, for financial reasons, will take 60 years — decades during which the crumbling cooling tower of the company’s Davis-Besse plant, for example, will loom over the Lake Erie shoreline in view of South Bass Island, one of Ohio’s premier tourist attractions."

-- Marty Schladen, Ohio Capital Journal

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Please urge your legislators to repeal HB6! Already contacted them? Email again -- and encourage others to do the same -- at repealhb6.com!


Ohio GOP lawmakers' big stall in response to alleged HB 6 corruption cannot stand

Oct 16, 2020 4:38 PM

"HB 6′s nuclear, coal and solar subsidies are due to kick in on Jan. 1, pulling in up to $170 million annually from Ohio ratepayers. Yet in the 12 weeks since the charges were unveiled, what has happened to repeal a bill that even a prime co-sponsor, state Rep. Jamie Callender, a Lake County Republican, acknowledges is tainted and in need of replacement?

In terms of an outcome, not one thing.

A new study committee was set up and has held hearings on HB 6 repeal bills but adjourned until after the election. And it’s unclear whether new House Speaker Robert Cupp, a Lima Republican, has the appetite to move on HB 6-related legislation in the lame-duck session. Democrats are collecting signatures on a discharge petition seeking to force a repeal vote on the floor, but do not yet appear to be close to the 50 signatures needed -- with Cupp still controlling when the House is in session.

And where is the drive to do what the legislature should have done last year -- force Energy Harbor, the firm that owns the two Ohio nuclear plants, and its corporate predecessors, FirstEnergy Solutions and Solutions' former corporate parent, FirstEnergy Corp., to provide proof that a bailout is even needed?

This big stall is not what Ohio ratepayers and voters are entitled to expect from the lawmakers they elect and pay. Ohioans want action. Cupp et. al. need to deliver it."

-- Editorial Board, Cleveland.com & The Plain Dealer 

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Please urge your legislators to repeal HB6! Already contacted them? Email again -- and encourage others to do the same -- at repealhb6.com!


Columbus Clean Energy aggregation

Oct 15, 2020 2:48 PM

The City of Columbus is pursuing a community choice aggregation program to meet its goal of providing 100% clean, renewable energy to power residents and small businesses by 2022. Ohio Citizen Action has endorsed this initiative and are urging Columbus voters to vote YES on Issue 1 in the 2020 election!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ST8NVpgNWSE&feature=youtu.be

Learn more about community-choice aggregation - Issue 1 on the November 3 ballot


Please print, sign and share

Oct 13, 2020 10:44 AM

Tell our state's leaders that you want a clean repeal NOW. Just cosponsoring a bill is not enough, we need action.

Help us spread the word. Print this flyer to make your own sign about why you want HB6 repealed. Then take a pic with you holding the sign, and share on your social media channels with the hashtag #RepealHB6. Urge others to do the same, and speak their minds using the downloadable sign at this link:

https://www.ohiocitizen.org/iwant2reapealhb6

Please tag your representative in the post on social media. You can check who your legislators are here.

 

 


Latest challenge raises question of reopening FirstEnergy Solutions’ bankruptcy ruling

Oct 09, 2020 9:52 PM

Photo by Warren LeMay / Creative Commons

The Potter Stewart U.S. Courthouse, home to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, in Cincinnati, Ohio.

"The Environmental Law & Policy Center, Environmental Defense Fund, Ohio Citizen Action, and the Ohio Environmental Council want the judge to consider suspending execution of the reorganization plan that was confirmed earlier this year. The groups also hope the bankruptcy court will consider if it should revise that confirmation order and conduct additional hearings. The groups filed the motion on Oct. 5.

'We’re asking the 6th Circuit to deal with these truly extraordinary circumstances,' in which federal and state corruption charges relate directly to assets involved in the bankruptcy case, said Howard Learner, executive director at the Environmental Law & Policy Center. Among other things, Ohio House Bill 6 authorizes roughly $1 billion in subsidies over the next six years for two nuclear plants owned by Energy Harbor, formerly known as FirstEnergy Solutions.

The federal and state cases allege that an unlawful conspiracy used dark money organizations to hide the source of spending from FirstEnergy (known as “Company A” in some documents), its current and former affiliates, and others in order to secure passage of HB 6 and to prevent a referendum on the law.

'The remedy that we’re asking in the 6th Circuit complements what the Ohio attorney general has already asked for it its lawsuit,' Learner said. As he sees it, that case effectively asks the state court to 'rescramble the eggs' and undo the reorganization."

-- Kathiann M. Kowalski, Energy News Network

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Please urge your legislators to repeal HB6! Already contacted them? Email again -- and encourage others to do the same -- at repealhb6.com!


Here’s why Ohio lawmakers haven’t done anything about scandal-tainted House Bill 6 so far

Oct 09, 2020 6:28 PM

"The main reason, lawmakers and observers say, is because – much like congressional Republicans' unsuccessful attempts to repeal Obamacare in 2017 – there’s no consensus among GOP lawmakers on what, if anything, to replace HB6 with.

Some favor a straight repeal of HB6. Others think it should be replaced, and at least a few believe nothing at all should be done to alter it.

'They are all over the place,' said state Rep. Mark Romanchuk of Richland County about his fellow Republicans.

There are other reasons as well. Even Republicans who favor repealing and replacing House Bill 6 say they need time to study HB6, an enormously complex law that goes far beyond the nuclear bailout, and make sure that any changes they make to it won’t have unintended consequences for Ohioans."

-- Jeremy Pelzer, cleveland.com 

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Please urge your legislators to repeal HB6! Already contacted them? Email again -- and encourage others to do the same -- at repealhb6.com!


Editorial: Vote for police review, clean power, ADAMH levy

Oct 08, 2020 5:05 PM

Editorial: Rising COVID deaths add to Ohio public health ills

"The other citywide question before Columbus voters, Issue 1, seeks approval of a charter amendment to pool the purchase of electric power through AEP Energy for 15 years with the understanding that it would secure 100% clean energy from local wind and solar projects by 2022. Even if the issue is approved, individual consumers could opt out of the aggregation and choose their own power supplier.

Electric power aggregation is a growing strategy for municipalities to offer their residents lower rates through economies of scale. A similar issue is on the ballot for Grove City residents, and Worthington already has electric power aggregation. 

Even better is the goal set in the aggregation proposal for AEP Energy to provide power from clean energy sources in the future. With the state and federal governments pulling back from environmentally friendly energy policies, municipalities are right to adopt green energy programs of their own.

There is no cost to taxpayers for aggregating electric power in one provider."

The Columbus Dispatch Editorial Board 

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My Generation is the Future

Oct 08, 2020 12:27 PM

My first time voting was in the 2016 presidential election and I was 18 years old. I remember my mom taking me to the polls and voting alongside me. I also remember questioning why I was the youngest person in the building, maybe it was just a coincidence. However, after seeing the turn-out for 18-25 year olds, I questioned why more young people did not vote. My generation is the future of our country and taking politics seriously and educating yourself on the issue is of utmost importance. As I got older, I continually had discussions with friends and family  about politics, but when I asked them if they voted, the response was almost always no. Our government works best when all the people participate and in college, I started to join groups that encouraged young voters to register to vote and get to the polls. 
When I heard about the shortage of poll workers this year, due to the pandemic, there was no question, I had to do my civil duty and volunteer. For me, working at the polls is not only a great opportunity, but an honor. I know I will have a positive impact on having a fair election and keeping the most vulnerable people in my community safe. I hope to set an example for other 18-25 year olds by working at the polls this year by simply showing up and helping my community in this unprecedented time. I am excited to see my fellow Geauga County voters of all ages cast their vote on November 3rd! 
Sophie Kocheff 
Senior Field Organizer, Ohio Citizen Action


Repeal HB6 commentary

Oct 07, 2020 11:24 AM

Tell House special committee before Nov. 3 to repeal HB 6

"Stalling repeal of House Bill 6, assuming it ever is repealed, might be the House’s most brazen defiance of public opinion beyond House and Senate inaction on Ohio school funding (which the Ohio Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional more than 23 years ago). Yet any leverage that Ohio voters might have to get HB 6 repealed will dwindle after Election Day — 30 days from today. Only a cynic would suggest that the House committee’s talkathon aims to keep HB 6 alive past Election Day.

In fairness, some members of the special House committee voted against HB 6 in 2019. And those committee members appear to oppose  HB 6 now.

But committee action requires a committee vote. Permitting votes is up to the committee’s chair. In turn, the chair and the committee’s other Republicans answer to House Speaker Robert Cupp, a Lima Republican whom fellow House Republicans chose to replace Householder after they’d removed Householder from the speakership."

-- editorial, Columbus Dispatch

Ohio ratepayers deserve a break, not an increase

"What any Capitol insider can see clearly is that Republicans are actually just hoping to run out the clock. They want to make the public think they’re moving the repeal process along, when really they’re doing everything in their power to prevent a HB 6 repeal from coming to a vote.

...As a member of the unnecessary Select Committee on Energy Policy and Oversight, created solely to stall the process of repeal, I have done what I can as a member of the Minority Caucus to repeal this problematic bill. Each time this group meets (for invitation-only meetings where the public is not invited to testify), a member of our caucus has made a motion to discharge the bill from committee. Each time, the Republicans rule our motion to be out of order. (Spoiler: it is not)

Enough is enough. Repeal HB 6. Ratepayers have enough to worry about right now; increasing utility bills on top of everything else is unfair."

-- Rep. Sedrick Denson, Opinion contributor, cincinnati.com

If GOP lawmakers can’t find the moxie to repeal HB 6, it could cost Ohioans plenty

"... HB 6 is still Ohio law, thanks to inaction by the Republican-run Ohio House of Representatives. That’s the House once led by Republican Larry Householder, a Republican from Perry County’s Glenford. In July, a federal grand jury indicted Householder and four others on federal racketeering charges, alleging that a $60 million “money laundering scheme” helped pass HB 6. (Householder and the others are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.)

The Ohio House’s Select Committee on Energy Policy and Oversight has been talking about repealing HB 6. And talking. And talking more. Now, though, the panel’s gone home, probably till after Nov. 3′s general election....

If Ohio consumers want HB 6 repealed, they should, before Election Day, tell members of the select House committee. Reason for the timing: If HB 6 survives beyond Election Day, there’s a very good chance it’ll never be repealed.

And if the bailout isn’t repealed, you’ll need to keep your checkbook handy: Somebody or something allegedly spent $60 million to get Ohio’s General Assembly to pass HB 6. And he, she or it expects a return on that investment."

-- Thomas Suddes, opinion, cleveland.com

Renew the renewables

"Lawmakers in the state House and state Senate now must wrangle with the problem of what to do about HB6. A handful of bills to repeal it outright have been introduced, but lawmakers have not demonstrated any urgency to pass them. Leaders of both houses should get serious about replacing HB6, not only to remove the dark cloud of its role in Ohio’s biggest corruption scandal but also because the General Assembly must revisit HB6’s woeful renewable energy element.

Ohio’s energy policy should encourage more use of renewable energy for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is to improve the state’s environment. But green energy also means jobs in Ohio, particularly for the Toledo region where the solar industry has been growing for years.

There are plenty of reasons to wipe away HB6 and replace it with something better. A smart and reasonable renewable energy plan is at the top of the list."

-- editorial, Toledo Blade

 


Judge won't block donations from FirstEnergy to Ohio politicians, fees to nuclear plants

Oct 02, 2020 10:41 AM

COLUMBUS – Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost can’t block FirstEnergy and affiliated companies from donating money to lawmakers as they consider repeal of a $1.3 billion bailout of two nuclear plants, a Franklin County judge ruled Friday morning.

The decision means that fees on Ohioans' electric bills starting in January could still be sent to Energy Harbor, which owns two nuclear plants in northern Ohio. State lawmakers are still weighing whether to repeal the subsidies and whether the nuclear company needs the money.

Yost had asked Franklin County Common Pleas Court Judge Chris Brown to prohibit FirstEnergy Corp., Energy Harbor and several others from donating to politicians or lobbying them as they consider repealing House Bill 6.

Yost also wanted to limit the campaign spending of former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder, who is accused of orchestrating a scheme to pass the bailout. He has pleaded not guilty in federal court and no one from FirstEnergy has been charged with a crime."

-- Jessie Balmert, Cincinnati Enquirer

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