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Nuclear power companies have spent millions lobbying for subsidies. Should Ohio, other states bail them out?

COLUMBUS—”Nuclear power companies and their supporters have spent millions of dollars contributing to state candidate campaigns and lobbying state officials.

In New Jersey, FirstEnergy’s New Jersey subsidiary and Exelon spent $5.2 million in 2017 and 2018 on lobbying efforts for the subsidy package there, according to reports filed with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission. FirstEnergy’s share: $831,600 during that time.

Complete lobbying expenses aren’t reported in Ohio.

Before the bankruptcy filing, FirstEnergy Corp. was pressing for similar legislation last year. The company has had more than a dozen registered lobbyists since 2017. FirstEnergy Solutions currently has four registered lobbyists and FirstEnergy Bondholder Group has two.

FirstEnergy’s political action committee has given more than $1.74 million to Ohio political candidates and parties since January 2015, according to an Enquirer analysis of campaign finance data. Company executives and employees gave another $130,000 to statewide and Statehouse candidates during that time. Republican Gov. Mike DeWine and his running mate Jon Husted received $62,221 from FirstEnergy’s PAC and executives during the 2018 campaign and another $20,000 for the transition.”

— Jackie Borchardt, Cincinnati Enquirer

link to full article


Ohio Democrats call for ‘honest conversation’ on nuclear bill

Ohio House minority leader Emilia Sykes.

COLUMBUS —“’It’s our job as lawmakers to cut through the politics and ugly, false narratives that seem to be surrounding this legislation,’ said Emilia Sykes, D-Akron, leader of the House Democratic caucus, in a statement issued late Monday through the Ohio House Minority Caucus Blog.

‘Our priority with statewide energy policy remains focused on protecting consumers, protecting public health and creating an environment where good jobs grow.

‘Supporting nuclear energy is part of an all-of the-above strategy that keeps energy reliable and secure for Ohioans,’ added Sykes. ‘But taxpayers deserve an honest conversation about how this legislation will impact them directly, and we hope to add to that.’”

— John Funk, Energy News Network 

link to full article


Ohio Citizen Action calls for the removal of Rep Nino Vitale as Chairman of the Ohio House Energy and Natural Resources Committee

COLUMBUS — “On behalf of Ohio Citizen Action, I write to ask you to remove Representative Nino Vitale (R-Champaign, Logan and part of Shelby) as Chairman of the Ohio House Energy and Natural Resources Committee. You’ll recall that we recently sent a letter asking for Rep. Dick Stein’s resignation after he shared his biased anti-wind generation technology stance while representing himself as an all-the-above leader in making decisions related to Ohio’s energy future. Already, here we are again now that Vitale has made his bias against low-income Ohioans and the energy programs that benefit them known. Stein, co-chairman of the Ohio House Subcommittee on Energy Generation expressed his anti-renewable view and now Vitale is sharing his anti-energy efficiency opinion. It’s interesting that leadership among the House’s energy committees are against two fundamental aspects of our energy future – energy efficiency and renewable energy. Ironically, these are the areas excluded under House Bill 6.

As an organization with a strong commitment to helping all consumers see the benefits of clean, renewable and energy efficiency efforts and affordable utility bills, we find Vitale’s comments are imprudent, inappropriate, narrow-minded and discriminatory.


Lawmaker argues low-income Ohioans should pay their own energy-efficiency costs

COLUMBUS — “The chair of the Ohio House committee that may soon be considering legislation to offer hundreds of millions in subsidies to “clean-energy” nuclear power plant owners is arguing in favor of the bill because it would remove subsidies that help poorer Ohioans become more energy-efficient.

Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chair Nino Vitale, in a Wednesday email to fellow Republican state Rep. John Becker, wrote that low-income Ohioans should have to cover their own costs of insulating their homes and using LED light bulbs, rather than accept money from ratepayer-funded energy-efficiency programs.

‘I ask, how many subsidy programs do we need to give away? We are already paying for food, heating assistance, cell phones, child support, and the list goes on and on,’ Vitale wrote.

‘While this may sound mean to some, a little hunger in the belly or being a little cold on some really cold days is a good incentive for me to get up, go to work and provide for my 5 boys and wife,’ the Urbana lawmaker continued. ‘If everything is provided for me through government programs that I will never have to reimburse, what incentive is there for me to ever change and cover my own expenses?'”

— Jeremy Pelzer, Cleveland.com

link to full article



Another one bites the (coal) dust

MEIGS COUNTY — “A proposed 960-megawatt coal-fired power plant for southeast Ohio won’t be built, thanks to both cost increases and opposition from the public. American Municipal Power (AMP) announced the decision to scrap plans for the $3.9 billion plant at the end of November. The facility would have joined four other coal-fired power plants currently located in Meigs County, Ohio, where residents have the some of the highest cancer rates in the nation, according to Ohio Citizen Action, a grassroots organization that fought plans for the plant.”

—Stephanie Rogers, Mother Nature Network

link to article


Cincinnati becomes first major city to offer 100% green electricity to residents

CINCINNATI — “Cincinnati will be the first major city in America to choose a 100% ‘green’ electricity supply for its eligible residents and small businesses while saving as many as 53,000 households money through the City’s Government Aggregation Program.

The City has selected First Energy Solutions (FES) as the City’s new electricity provider through an aggregation process in which the City represents all eligible individual customers as one larger buying unit to negotiate a lower price on electricity.  Specifically, Cincinnati is collectively becoming a giant consumer to whom the green energy market can sell.

FES’s selection will save the average eligible household approximately $133 per year on their electricity bills. Energy aggregation was proposed by City Council and approved by voters in November 2011.”

 Meg Olberding, Communications Director, City of Cincinnati

Read the whole press release here.