HB6

a photo of the petition
ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

The hotly-contested energy law that bails out nuclear power plants takes effect Tuesday. A group trying to pause the law and put it before voters did not turn in their signatures by the Monday deadline. But the anti-nuclear bailout group is taking a different route.

Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts says they didn't have enough signatures to qualify for a referendum by the deadline.  

The group's Gene Pierce says their referendum drive has been met with heavy opposition, including ads, mailers, and canvassers who allegedly blocked and harassed signature collectors.

a photo of the petition
ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

A group that wants Ohioans to vote on an energy law that bailed out Ohio's two nuclear power plants has one more week to get enough petition signatures. They need nearly 260,000 valid signatures to put the law before voters next year.  

But supporters of the bailout are waging an unrelenting fight to stop that. 

The pro-bailout Ohioans For Energy Security has been urging people not to sign petitions that would put the bailout on the ballot – first with ads and mailers linking the campaign to China, and now targeting the people who’ve been hired to gather signatures. 

photo of people signing House Bill 6 referendum petitions
ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

The Ohio Attorney General is looking into allegations that a nuclear bailout group is trying to pay off petitioners and to buy the signatures they've gathered.

Gene Pierce said he keeps seeing a decline in hired petition circulators. He said one day they’ll work for his anti-bailout group, gathering signatures to put the law before voters. And they'll disappear the next.

a photo of woman gathering signatures in support of referendum on energy bill
ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Attorney General Dave Yost says the campaign around the nuclear bailout referendum is getting "ugly." Petitioners say they've experienced aggression and intimidation by trackers paid to support the subsidies to Ohio’s two nuclear plants.

Yost says he wants this kind of intimidation reported to his office so they can investigate. 

Circulators gathering signatures to put the bailout on the ballot are being followed by trackers paid by the dark money group Generation Now.

Perry nuclear power plant seen from the south
TIM RUDELL / WKSU

The drive to halt the new law that bails out Ohio’s two nuclear power plants and put it before voters next year is running up against a high profile blitz to shut it down.

Each side is expected to be spending at least $3 million – to gather signatures, or on ads and fliers. Spokespeople for both sides discussed their thoughts on  the campaign.

photo of carbon emissions
JAMES KELLEY / SHUTTERSTOCK

Working to support wind and solar has become almost standard in states nationwide. Some are even phasing out coal, but not Ohio. It recently passed a law doubling down on subsidies for power plants.  

a photo of the Ohio House of Representatives
ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

The Ohio House has voted in favor of the sweeping energy bill, HB6, that bails out two nuclear power plants through $150 million in ratepayer subsidies.