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Rep. Robinson: Misguided bailout costly for consumers, Ohio's clean energy future

July 24, 2019
Phillip M. Robinson, Jr. News

State Rep. Phil Robinson (D-Solon) yesterday voted a second time in opposition to House Bill (HB) 6, a Republican-sponsored bill to bail out Ohio’s nuclear power plants and subsidize two additional coal-fired power plants that service the state. The bill also guts Ohio’s renewable and energy efficiency standards, which opponents say will hurt job growth in emerging clean energy industries.

“Even with these minor changes, HB 6 will still force Ohio ratepayers to pay millions to bailout an out of state, coal-burning power plant built in the 1950s,” said Rep. Robinson. “The bailout will be paid for by both Ohio ratepayers and through effectively ending our state’s renewable and energy efficiency programs, our investments in Ohio’s future to cover the cost of FirstEnergy’s bankruptcy and corporate restructuring.

“This is going to cost Ohio’s electric customers $43.2 million a year, and over $126 million a year for Ohio’s commercial and industrial business customers. The FirstEnergy bailout puts profits over people, campaign contributions over constituents, and is still an overall bad deal for Ohio’s environment and taxpayers.”

Rep. Robinson also reiterated his comments from his first no vote on HB 6:

“Ohio is ranked eighth in the country and third in the region in the clean energy sector, with over 112,000 Ohioans employed in the industry. Unfortunately, HB 6 takes us backwards and discourages investment and innovation in emerging industries and good paying jobs.

"FirstEnergy has received $10.2 billion in state-subsidies since 1999. Now, they want more tax dollars to bailout their mistakes at the cost of hindering our growing clean energy sector, with no assurances or transparency about how the money will be spent.

"Many constituents contacted my office about HB 6, and most made it very clear that this bailout is unacceptable. They asked me to vote no, and I agreed with them.

"I was hoping we could strike more of a compromise to protect existing jobs while growing new jobs, promoting clean energy and safeguarding the health of Ohio families and workers. Instead, we got a corporate bailout from Columbus insiders that does not protect Ohioans’ job security and is a bad deal for taxpayers. The Ohio promise can’t be kept if we are not leading the way for better futures for families across the state.”

After passing the House conference vote, HB 6 now heads to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.