The owner of Ohio’s two nuclear power plants requested Wednesday that Ohio’s highest court prevent a referendum that could possibly overturn a nuclear plant bailout passed by the Ohio Legislature in July.
FirstEnergy Solutions’ Wednesday motion argues that since House Bill 6 (HB 6) is an approved tax, the Ohio state Constitution prevents it from being reversed by a public referendum. Also, the motion asks the Ohio Supreme Court to act swiftly to avoid Ohioans being misled.
“The sooner the Court invalidates the Referendum Petition, the fewer the number of Ohio electors who will be misled by the Committee’s illegal referendum effort and the less public resources that will be wasted in determining the sufficiency of signatures and other legal requirements relating to the futile Referendum Petition.”
HB 6 increases monthly electrical payments for people in Ohio by 85 cents. This bill gives the Buckeye state’s two nuclear power plants $150 million annually in government assistance for 7 years. Furthermore, HB 6 will subsidize the coal industry and solar farms.
In the past, the solutions company had threatened to close the Davis-Besse plant and Perry Nuclear Plant if it did not receive a bailout.
Gene Pierce, a spokesman for the Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts (COCB), told The Columbus Dispatch that his group anticipated a fight from FirstEnergy Solutions.
“They got money and they’re gonna spend it,” Pierce said. “We’re not surprised given their level of desperation and their desire to keep a $1.5 billion bailout. This is just the latest in a string of misleading, totally frivolous tactics … It’s really an insult to Ohio voters who have a constitutional right to (have a referendum on) bad legislation.”
Last week, the group who is backing the initiative received permission to try to gather signatures for its referendum. For the referendum to appear on next year’s ballot, COCB must gather 266,000 signatures.
Opponents of the referendum, Ohioans for Energy Security, launched a $1 million ad campaign urging people not to sign this petition at the end of August.
“Companies with strong financial ties to the Chinese government are leading the charge to repeal a law that saves thousands of Ohio energy jobs, and protects the stability and security of the state’s energy grid. Don’t let them do it,” the group’s YouTube video description said.
– – –