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Government & Politics

Lawmakers Propose Several Bills to Repeal, Change HB6

Perry Nuclear Power Plant
Andy Chow
Statehouse News Bureau
Perry Nuclear Power Plant is one of the state's power plants that benefits from HB6. Since the bribery scandal of which HB6 is at the center came to light last year, lawmakers have been debating how to handle the legislation, or whether to leave it alone.

Several bills have been introduced in the Ohio House and Senate to tackle the controversial nuclear power plant bailout bill, HB6. The measures range from a complete repeal of the bill at the center of a bribery investigation to repealing portions of the legislation. 

Rep. Dick Stein (R-Norwalk) is proposing HB128, which would effectively throw out the nuclear bailout portion of HB6 by eliminating the nuclear subsidies that amount to about $150 million a year from a charge attached to ratepayer bills. It would also do away with the solar subsidies and end different rate changes that benefited FirstEnergy. 

"Hopefully restoring confidence for the folks in Ohio that again there is no longer any benefit to FirstEnergy or FirstEnergy Solutions as a result of the passage of HB6," Stein said.

The additional charge on electric bills for the nuclear subsidy is already on hold by a court-ordered injunction.

Stein says the company that now owns Ohio's two nuclear plants, Energy Harbor, has asked for the elimination of the subsidies because of federal policies that could change its position in the energy market. Energy Harbor, formerly known as FirstEnergy Solutions, was a subsidiary of FirstEnergy before splitting and coming out under the new name in 2020. Investigators say FirstEnergy funneled millions of dollars to a dark money group in order to help Rep. Larry Householder (R-Glenford) become speaker and in return pass HB6. 

Other legislators say Stein's bill doesn't go far enough.

Rep. David Leland (D-Columbus) is proposing HB10, which eliminates the nuclear and solar subsidies along with a measure that guaranteed a certain amount of subsidies for two coal plants.

There are other pieces of legislation, HB18 and HB57, that would repeal all of HB6 which would mean the revival of Ohio's green energy standards.

Republican leadership in the House and Senate have signaled a willingness to move on bills that address the nuclear and solar subsidies.
Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.