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October 21, 2020
 

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HB 6 repeal would address only part of Ohio Lawmakers' recent action to slow renewables

This story is from "Eye on Ohio," Ohio Center for Investigative Journalism

While the primary focus of the Icons is the Ada and Bluffton communities, we are a supporter of "Eye on Ohio, Ohio Center for Investigative Journalism." This article is provided by the Center and should be of interest to Icon viewers.

By Kathiann M. Kowalski
Both Republican and Democratic Ohio lawmakers are pushing to repeal the state’s nuclear bailout bill after this week’s release of a federal criminal complaint against House Speaker Larry Householder and others.

Clean energy advocates say that would be a start, but more is needed to address eight years of lawmakers’ actions to slow the growth of renewables in the state.

The complaint alleges a $60 million bribery and conspiracy scheme that led to the passage of House Bill 6 last summer, followed by the defeat of a referendum effort to give voters a say on the bill.

Amounts involved are about 20 times more than amounts that could be tracked through public documents.

HB 6 is primarily known as a “nuclear bailout” for providing six years of subsidies for the FirstEnergy Solutions/Energy Harbor nuclear power plants in Ohio totaling roughly a billion dollars, but it also gutted the state’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standards, and provided bailouts for two 1950s-era coal plants in Ohio and Indiana.

And while Gov. Mike DeWine has recently shifted his position from defending HB 6 to saying he wants to “repeal and replace” it, legislators from both parties say the whole thing should be thrown out.

DeWine has said his office had no involvement in the alleged scheme. Yet he signed the law within hours after Householder secured its passage last summer.

Whether due to actual or perceived corruption, HB 6 “is a corrupt piece of legislation. All of it — not just part of it,” said Rep. Mike Skindell, D-Lakewood. “Therefore, the entire thing needs to be repealed. … That is one step in restoring the confidence of the citizens which was broken because of this corrupt process.”

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