Referendum to defeat House Bill 6 begins to gather energy in state

Ohio's Perry Nuclear Plant Credit: Neal Wellons (Creative Commons)

COLUMBUS -- "FirstEnergy Solutions might not want to spend its bailout money just yet. There's reason to doubt Ohioans will follow through in subsidizing the Akron company's nuclear plants in Lake and Ottawa counties.

While state legislators may have decided to subsidize the Perry and Davis-Besse plants with about $150 million a year from ratepayers via House Bill 6, voters have not. A referendum to overturn HB 6 is gaining support and could land on the ballot in a perfect, high-turnout election year for its success.

'I think it could easily win. … HB 6 is very unpopular,' said Paul Beck, a professor emeritus and former chair of the political science department at Ohio State University.

Beck and other observers say HB 6 has it all, in terms of angering voters. Liberals and even some conservatives hate that it guts support for renewable energy after the state used subsidies to lure those industries to Ohio. Liberals hate that it subsidizes dirty coal plants. Many conservatives hate that it picks winners and losers by subsidizing one industry over another."

-- Dan Shingler, Crain's Cleveland Business

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