Gov. Mike DeWine expressed support for saving Ohio’s two nuclear power plants that are expected to close if they don’t receive legislative relief.
As The Ohio Star previously reported, lawmakers introduced a bill in early April that would effectively save Ohio’s only two nuclear plants. FirstEnergy Solutions, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy, announced in February that it would be closing its two Ohio-based plants, as well as a third in Shippingport, Pennsylvania, which employs a substantial number of Ohioans.
A bankruptcy judge, however, rejected the company’s plan to shut down its plants, and so lawmakers are stepping in. Under House Bill 6, the state would subsidize the plant with taxpayer dollars through a new “Ohio Clean Air Program.”
These funds would be passed to the energy company under the newly created ‘Ohio Clean Air Program.’ Funding would come from a $2.50 surcharge for every residential electric consumer in the state, and an additional $20 for all commercial customers, and a further $250 from industrial customers. In total, $300 million would be raised with $180 million going directly to FirstEnergy Solutions.
According to The Columbus Dispatch, DeWine supports the plan, though he didn’t directly comment on House Bill 6.
“You want reliable energy that’s there … you want it at a reasonable cost. I also think you have an obligation to our environment to keep the carbon emissions down,” he said. “At least in the immediate future, you cannot dramatically reduce carbon or keep those numbers down without using nuclear.”
He went on to say that he’s “all for wind” and solar, but that “you can’t hit the numbers without using nuclear.”
“Nuclear has to be a component part of this,” he added.
The Ohio House Energy and Natural Resources Committee held its third hearing Wednesday for House Bill 6, and more than 80 percent of those who testified were listed as opponents of the bill.
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Gavin Power Plant” by Analgoue Kid. CC BY 2.0.