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Rep. Robinson responds to passage of misguided energy bill

Says bailout puts profits over people, threatening Ohio jobs
May 29, 2019
Phillip M. Robinson, Jr. News

State Rep. Phil Robinson (D-Solon) today voted against House Bill (HB) 6, legislation to bail out several energy corporations and all but eliminate energy efficiency and renewable energy standards in Ohio.

“Ohio is ranked 8th in the country and 3rd 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," said Rep. Robinson.

"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.”

HB 6 would force Ohio ratepayers to pay millions of dollars to bail out a failing coal-burning power plant in Indiana over the next decade.

Democrats offered a number of amendments including provisions that would keep clean air program funding within the state, increase transparency and ensure protections for workers, strengthen the state’s Renewable Energy Portfolio and maintain energy efficiency standards. All were rejected.

Rep. Robinson is a co-sponsor of HB 260, which establishes accountability and transparency measures for the Clean Energy Program to ensure ratepayers’ investment is returned if facilities close or are sold, retains and expands Ohio’s Energy Efficiency Resource Standards to ensured continued reduced costs to consumers, and restores and expands Ohio’s Renewable Portfolio Standards to attain 50% renewable generation by 2050. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Sedrick Denson (D-Bond Hill) and Rep. Casey Weinstein (D-Hudson).

After passing the House, HB 6 moves to the Senate for consideration.