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2020 In Ohio: Republican Leaders Keep HB6 Despite Racketeering Scandal

Dec 28, 2020 4:33 PM

 

COLUMBUS, Ohio-- "The Ohio House finished the bulk of its work this month with the Republican Speaker saying the chamber will not take any action on HB6 – the sweeping energy law that bails out nuclear power plants and was linked to the biggest alleged scandal in Ohio politics.

Over the course of seven years, HB6 will send $1 billion in subsidies to nuclear plants, $140 million to solar farms, and hundreds of millions of dollars to coal plants – paid for by new charges on every Ohio electric user’s bills – all while cutting green energy mandates."

--Andy Chow, WOSU Public Media

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Lawyer for the powerless steps it up in 2020

Dec 26, 2020 4:28 PM

Ellis Jacobs, lead attorney with Advocates for Basic Legal Equality

 

DAYTON, Ohio-- "For nearly four decades, attorney Ellis Jacobs has worked to empower low-income communities across the Miami Valley, helping them take on big corporations, push back against injustices and win consumer affairs fights.

The coronavirus pandemic just added to his workload in 2020.

Mostly without fanfare this year, Jacobs, 67, worked to protect voting rights and answer voter questions; helped persuade area judges to implement eviction moratoriums and pushed the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio to come up with plans to avoid utility shut offs during the pandemic; filed a writ of mandamus to ask courts to force public health officials to step up their response to COVID cases in the Montgomery County Jail; and advocated for low-income broadband support to be included in the federal CAREs Act."

--Laura Bischoff, Dayton Daily News

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Groups backing Gov. DeWine and his daughter received FirstEnergy cash funneled through dark money outfits

Dec 23, 2020 11:30 AM

COLUMBUS, Ohio – "Cash from FirstEnergy Corp. and related businesses reached the coffers of dark money groups supporting Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and his daughter and Greene County prosecutor candidate, Alice DeWine, newly revealed tax documents show.

The documents shed new light on a key player in a federal bribery investigation that entangled the former Republican speaker of the Ohio House and four others in July. They also show for the first time where a dark money group supporting Alice DeWine's bid for county prosecutor got some of its funding."

–Jackie Borchardt, The Cincinnati Enquirer

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Ohio lawmakers do nothing on scandal-tainted House Bill 6

Dec 23, 2020 7:30 AM

File:Perry Nuclear Plant (2), July 2020.jpg

Cooling towers at the Perry nuclear plant.

Photo credit: Cards84664, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

 

COLUMBUS, Ohio – "After a federal bribery investigation ousted a former House leader, Ohio lawmakers did nothing to repeal or delay the $1 billion nuclear plant bailout at the heart of the alleged pay-to-play scheme. 

Caught between lawmakers who wanted to do more to curb the nuclear subsidies and those who wanted to bail out the plants, Ohio's GOP-controlled House couldn't cobble together the votes needed for a change. 

'The substance of House Bill 6, not the criminal proceedings, are complex issues on which there’s a wide range of opinion in the legislature,' said House Speaker Bob Cupp, R-Lima. 'The diversity of views on what is good and appropriate public policy I think has forestalled a consensus on what should be done.'"

–Jessie Balmert, The Cincinnati Enquirer

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HB6 Is a Terrible Deal for Ohio

Dec 22, 2020 7:08 PM

Anti-Competitive, Expensive, Job-Eroding, and Environmentally Irresponsible

eFile:Davis Bessie from Gas Station.jpg

Cooling tower at the Davis-Besse nuclear plant.

Photo credit: Mbrickn, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

 

"Since its initial passage, HB6 has also been tainted by a $61 million bribery scandal which has engulfed former House Speaker Larry Householder, along with four of his political associates, and potentially the former head of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.

Faced with this toxic mix of corruption piled on top of ineptitude, the cities of Cincinnati and Columbus, along with the State Attorney General, have filed lawsuits to strike down key elements of the bill. While scrapping HB6 in its entirety would be the best thing to do, eliminating any single element of it would also be in the state’s interest.

It is clearly a step backwards for the state in terms of free market principles, energy affordability, jobs, economic development, and climate."

-- Stephen Abbot and Rushad Nanavatty, Rocky Mountain Institute

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Ohio judge blocks collection of House Bill 6 nuclear bailout fee

Dec 21, 2020 7:00 PM

File:Davis Besse cooling tower.jpg

Davis-Besse cooling tower. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

COLUMBUS, Ohio—"A Franklin County judge on Monday blocked the collection and distribution of the House Bill 6 nuclear bailout fee, which Ohio ratepayers were scheduled to start paying next month.

Common Pleas Judge Chris Brown’s blockbuster ruling comes as state lawmakers dither on what, if anything, to do about the $1 billion-plus nuclear bailout in HB 6, the law that ex-House Speaker Larry Householder allegedly pushed through using the largest bribery scheme in Ohio history."

—Jeremy Pelzer, cleveland.com

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Fix for troubled Ohio energy law coming down to the wire

Dec 21, 2020 6:06 PM

COLUMBUS, Ohio--"State lawmakers are split into multiple camps over how Ohio should change an energy law that is at the center of an alleged $60-million bribery scheme.

Millions of Ohio ratepayers in January are scheduled to start paying a new monthly fee that will generate $150 million a year to bailout two nuclear power plants owned by Energy Harbor.

A Franklin County Common Pleas Court judge on Monday issued a preliminary injunction to block collection of the fees. It is unclear if that order may be appealed."

--Laura Bischoff, Dayton Daily News

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Energy Harbor seeks option of turning down HB6 nuclear bailout money

Dec 21, 2020 2:40 PM

File:David Besse NPP-2.jpg

Cooling tower at the Davis-Besse nuclear plant. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

 

COLUMBUS, Ohio—"Energy Harbor is lobbying for state lawmakers to allow it to decide whether to accept more than $1 billion in House Bill 6 bailout money for its two nuclear power plants because a federal regulatory ruling might otherwise make the subsidies a liability, according to a top lawmaker.

It’s still unclear whether legislators will agree to the proposal, which is being crafted by House Majority Leader Bill Seitz, or whether they will pass any reforms to HB6 at all on Tuesday, expected to be the final day of the current legislative session."

—Jeremy Pelzer, cleveland.com

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HB 6 an example of energy policies that especially hurt Ohioans of color: Jacquie Gillon

Dec 20, 2020 2:55 PM

Jacqueline Gillon

 

"The political and ethical failings behind the process that produced Ohio House Bill 6 are well-documented. The lack of transparency, alleged backroom dealings fueled by dark money, and subsequent subversion of the ideals of democracy will serve as the sad, lasting legacy of regressive policies that exist to enrich corporations over communities while mortgaging our current progress toward clean energy and a sustainable future.

In a myriad of ways, HB 6 also serves as a regrettable microcosm of what communities of color throughout Ohio continue to endure on a regular basis."

--Jacquie Gillon, Guest Columnist for cleveland.com

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Ohio lawmakers move House Bill 6 reform bill ahead, but its future remains murky

Dec 16, 2020 7:50 PM

"The House Select Committee on Energy Policy and Oversight, set up to study what to do about HB6, waved forward House Bill 798, which would delay the bailout of two Northern Ohio nuclear plants by one year. Under HB6, from 2021 until 2027, every Ohio electricity customer will have to pay a new monthly surcharge that ranges from 85 cents for residential customers to $2,400 for large industrial plants.

HB798 would impose stricter auditing provisions on Energy Harbor, the plants’ owner, to ensure it actually needs the money. In addition, it would eliminate some other provisions that critics say are meant to benefit FirstEnergy Corp., the company alleged to have provided $60 million toward the bribery scheme.
Before moving HB798 forward, the committee removed the “emergency clause” from the bill, meaning if Gov. Mike DeWine signed it into law, it wouldn’t take effect for 90 days. As the nuclear bailout fee is set to begin Jan. 1, that means there would be a period of several weeks when the fee is collected before the bill takes effect and stops it for a year.

Recognizing that, the committee also added a provision providing for immediate refunds of whatever fees are collected before the bill took effect."

— Jeremy Pelzer, Cleveland.com

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