Update: Gov. DeWine signed the bill on July 23
The Ohio Senate and House concurred on HB 6, a bill that claims to “create an Ohio Clean Air Program” in a 51 to 38 vote. The bill that’s expected to be signed by Governor Mike DeWine would bail out two of bankrupt FirstEnergy Solutions’ nuclear power plants as well as weaken existing renewable requirements to keep consumer power rates low, according to Reuters.
“HB6 is bad government and politics in its most pure form,” said Neil Waggoner, campaign representative for Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign in Ohio in a statement. “When the process starts with legislators demeaning low-income Ohioans and apologizing to utility lobbyists it’s no surprise the final legislative product increases customer bills every month for years to come. With HB 6, Ohioans get dirtier air, higher electric bills, and the understanding that the majority of their elected officials at the Statehouse are more concerned with making a bankrupt company happy, and helping out other utility companies for their foolish investments in failing coal plants, than taking care of their own constituents. FirstEnergy and Ohio’s other electric utilities must be very satisfied with the legislators they financed today. Can those legislators’ constituents say the same?”
“At a time when the nation is accelerating its transition to affordable, pollution-free renewable power, this legislation goes in precisely the wrong direction with a bailout of aging and uneconomic coal and nuclear plants, and a weakening of the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard,” said Gregory Wetstone, president and CEO of the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) in a statement. “On behalf of our hundreds of member companies, we urge Governor DeWine to veto this bill and support the $11 billion in economic opportunity that renewable power presents for the state of Ohio.”
“The Ohio Conservative Energy Forum (OHCEF) remains opposed to the passage of House Bill 6. The bill takes our state backward and threatens tens of thousands of jobs throughout Ohio in the growing clean energy industry,” said the Ohio Conservative Energy Forum in a statement. “As supporters of an all-of-the-above energy policy, the Ohio Conservative Energy Forum has never been averse to nuclear energy, but we remain profoundly disappointed that the General Assembly did not use the opportunity presented in House Bill 6 to further grow Ohio’s emerging clean energy economy. As OHCEF has maintained throughout the legislative process, the State of Ohio cannot afford to be left behind as a growing number of conservative states embrace renewable energy.”