How bad nuclear plant bailout legislation got passed

Jigar Shah is president of Generate Capital, a San Francisco-based finance company that builds, owns and operates renewable energy infrastructure.

CINCINNATI -- "Householder and four others stand to trade their Brooks Brothers and Rolexes for jumpsuits and bracelets. Gov. Mike DeWine, a fellow Republican, called on the speaker to resign. But plenty of others were also complicit in passing a law that, even without charges of federal corruption, stank to high heaven. And it’s a law that’s still on the books.

Just how bad is it? What was then called House Bill 6 is so toxic that it united the American Petroleum Institute and environmentalists last year to oppose it. The law is designed to prop up ailing nuclear plants, but it’s so radioactive even the nuclear industry’s main trade group declined to support it. And even as ad campaigns swamped Ohio airwaves like the height of election season, it ultimately took President Trump swooping in from Washington to convince state lawmakers, who even then knew better, to close their eyes, hold their noses and vote for it.

...But let’s not lose sight of FirstEnergy. The opaque electric utility had already long shirked accountability for its actions, cloaking itself in expendable subsidiaries and opposing virtually any measure to improve Ohio’s air and water, which the utility has long been responsible for befouling. This time, to protect its toxic nuclear and coal assets, the company apparently happily engaged in what even the scheme’s conspirators allegedly openly referred to as "pay to play," buying Ohio lawmakers for a song compared to the $1.3 billion the utility now stands to skim from Ohioans’ pockets."

-- Jigar Shah, opinion contributor, Cincinnati Enquirer

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