nuclear bailout

Perry Nuclear Plant
Dan Konik

The Ohio Supreme Court has dismissed a case arguing that voters can’t vote on the state's nuclear power plant bailout law. The nuclear power company argued that the rate increases were really a tax increase.

FirstEnergy Solutions, which recently changed its name to Energy Harbor, is set to get about $150 million a year in subsidies through increased rates on electric bills. That bailout was created through House Bill 6.

Republican Jamie Callender acceptins signatures for a petition.
ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

The controversial campaign to put the state’s nuclear bailout law before voters next year is over for now. But Republican lawmakers are bringing back an element of that battle by proposing a plan to ban foreign companies from investing in certain areas of Ohio's infrastructure. 

The House resolution would call for a constitutional amendment that prohibits foreign businesses from having a majority ownership in things like power plants, pipelines, and water.

Perry Nuclear Power Generation Station
TIM RUDELL / WKSU

This week brought a close to one chapter for Ohio's nuclear power plant bailout law, House Bill 6. But another could be starting. The group fighting against the bailout mounted a last minute push for signatures and their campaign could be heading to a new arena.

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.

photo of House Bill 6 petitioners
ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Petitioners are giving one last push into the drive that would put Ohio's nuclear bailout law before voters. The referendum effort must file enough valid signatures by Monday afternoon in order to qualify for next year's ballot.

Opponents of the law said it's a corporate bailout for FirstEnergy Solutions. They're also against the coal subsidies and the cuts to green energy policies. That's why they want to put the law on the ballot for a potential repeal.

a photo of the petition
ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

The group that wants voters to overturn Ohio’s nuclear power plant bailout has filed a federal lawsuit, claiming the rules are unfairly stacked against them and that their opponents are using that to their advantage.

Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts has less than two weeks to collect the signatures they need to put a referendum before voters next year.

a photo of people signing petition
ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

There is yet another group jumping into the fray over Ohio's nuclear bailout law. Protect Ohio Clean Energy Jobs is fighting to save the $1 billion in subsidies meant for FirstEnergy Solutions. The group is taking an uncommon approach.

Protect Ohio Clean Energy Jobs said voters are being deceived by anti-nuclear bailout petitioners, so they're using targeted ads on social media urging people who have already signed the HB6 referendum to take their names off the petition. The group's treasurer lobbies for FirstEnergy Solutions, which runs the nuclear plants.

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.

A photo of a worker gathering signatures on a petition
ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

The intense fight over a petition drive seeking to overturn Ohio's nuclear bailout law is escalating with a counter petition now circulating around the state. The pro-nuclear bailout group is calling it a grassroots effort which doubles down on their anti-foreign investors’ message.

a photo of Frank LaRose
JO INGLES / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

An effort to circulate petitions to repeal the nuclear bailout law known as House Bill 6 has brought out a high-profile opposition campaign with ads and mailers. And despite repeated calls to reveal their donors, neither the bailout's supporters nor the group that wants to overturn the law has said where they're getting their money.  One top state official said he thinks something needs to be done to change that.

Ballot efforts typically ramp up in the weeks before an election. The fight over Ohio’s new nuclear bailout law, though, is in full swing more than a year before a possible vote.

So why the early start? One side says it’s to keep two nuclear power plants from closing, while experts say spending now may be the best investment.

Common Cause Ohio and the League of Women Voters Ohio raising awareness about the importance of campaign finance transparency.
ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

A lot of money is pouring into the fight to put the nuclear power plant bailout before voters. The scathing campaign against the referendum attempt has a collection of good government groups calling for campaign finance transparency. 

Pro-nuclear bailout groups have flooded the airwaves and mailboxes with ads that try to scare people into not signing the petition, claiming the effort is connected to Chinese government interests.

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

The well-funded group fighting to keep the nuclear power plant bailout in place is paying people to follow the opposition. One of these "monitors" has even been accused of assaulting a petitioner. The group says their goal is to--politely--educate the voters.

Generation Now has been playing pro-nuclear bailout ads for most of this year, pushing for an agenda that closely aligns with FirstEnergy Solutions, which owns the two nuclear power plants.

While critics of Ohio’s recent nuclear bailout are moving toward a referendum to repeal the law, the new policy has won some support from an unusual source.

Photo of lethal injection table
KEN PIORKOWSKI / FLICKR

Here are your morning headlines for Thursday, Sept. 12:

a photo of the flier
ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

A group fighting to protect the state law bailing out nuclear power plants is plastering the state with fliers. The mailings urge people not to sign a petition that would put a rejection of the bailout before voters, connecting the referendum effort to Chinese government interests.

These fliers are popping up in mailboxes everywhere. A bold Chinese flag draped over a fading American flag, with the message "Don't Give The Chinese Government Your Information."

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.  

photo of Perry nuclear power plant
JERRY SHARP / SHUTTERSTOCK

A group is gathering signatures to put a rejection of Ohio's nuclear bailout law on next year's ballot. National environmental groups are weighing in on the debate, saying the energy policy overhaul takes Ohio in the opposite direction of most other states. 

A photo of hands on jail bars.
SPAXIAX/SHUTTERSTOCK

Here are your morning headlines for Thursday, September 5:

Perry Nuclear Power Generation Station
TIM RUDELL / WKSU

Opponents of Ohio’s nuclear power plant bailout law are one step closer to begin collecting the signatures they need to put a referendum on next year's ballot.   

The group Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts cleared their latest hurdle towards the ballot with the attorney general approving their summary language.

photo of someone signing a petition
STEVE ESTVANIK / SHUTTERSTOCK

The battle lines have been drawn for the fight over Ohio's new energy law.

A ballot group is looking to collect signatures statewide to ask voters to overturn the law that bails out nuclear power plants. But a new group has formed to argue in favor of the ratepayer subsidies.

An Ohio electricity company says it is canceling plans to build a gas-fired power plant because of the state's recent nuclear bailout.

photo of high school hallway
DOM ERNEST L. GOMEZ / SHUTTERSTOCK

Here are your morning headlines for Thursday, August 22:

Photo of people voting
DAN KONIK / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

A national group that advocates for citizens' access to the ballot is urging Ohio officials to not stand in the way of a potential referendum issue. The referendum would ask voters to reject the new energy law that bails out nuclear power and subsidizes coal and solar.

Opponents of the bailout want voters to reject it but are facing roadblocks on it’s path to the ballot. And the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center says that’s part of a larger trend.

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