DeWine might use former president of dark money group to lobby for another nuclear bailout

COLUMBUS -- "Not only does he intend to keep Dan McCarthy in his administration, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine might use McCarthy to lobby the legislature for another nuclear bailout.

McCarthy, DeWine’s legislative affairs director, is a former lobbyist for FirstEnergy who set up a dark money group that funneled millions of corporate dollars into a second dark-money group that federal prosecutors say is at the heart of the biggest bribery scandal in Ohio history.

...as president of the 501(c)(4) Partners for Progress, McCarthy was a conduit for corporate cash to flow into a scheme that resulted in one of the biggest scandals ever to rock the Ohio Capitol. 

Such organizations are called “dark-money” groups because they don’t have to disclose their donors."

-- Marty Schladen, Ohio Capital Journal

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How a utility undermined climate policy — then got caught

"The climate consequences can be serious.

In Ohio, FirstEnergy Solutions made the decision to keep open W.H. Sammis, the second-largest coal plant in the state, after the bailout law passed.

Sammis emitted 12.3 million tons of CO2 in 2013, according to EPA data. But the plant has run less and less in recent years. It ran only 20% in 2019, down from 61% in 2014.

Last year, it reported CO2 emissions of 4.6 million tons, or what 900,000 cars emit annually.

The result is a one-two punch to climate and consumers, forcing them to pay for polluting plants that are no longer economic, said Leah Stokes, a professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, who has written extensively about Ohio's bailout law. She said FirstEnergy represents one of the most egregious cases of utility corruption, but is part of a larger pattern of power companies' approach to climate policy."

-- Benjamin Storrow, E&E News

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Ohio Consumers react to selection of Speaker Bob Cupp

In what they have referred to as an effort to restore trust and confidence, the members of the Ohio House of Representatives have selected Representative Bob Cupp as their new Speaker.

Rep. Cupp voted in favor of House Bill 6 on two separate occasions and received campaign money from FirstEnergy, including an ethically questionable donation from the corporation while serving as a justice on the Supreme Court of Ohio.

This decision has done nothing to instill trust with the public, and Speaker Cupp now has a lot to prove.

His first act as Speaker should be to call for an immediate and clean repeal of HB 6. He must show Ohioans that he is not simply Householder 2.0. Ohioans have lost confidence in their elected officials. It is time for legislators to listen to their constituents and not their big utility donors.

It’s time to fully repeal HB 6.

- Rachael Belz, Director, Ohio Consumers Power Alliance


Ohio lawmakers want 'puzzling' offshore wind ruling revisited

Erik Droust / Creative Commons

Environmental studies so far have found little potential impact from a proposed offshore wind farm in Lake Erie near Cleveland.

“'Ohio is sending a very clear message: ‘We do not want innovation,’' State Senator Matt Dolan (R) said. 'Ohio will not be seen as fertile ground for investment in any new invention, innovation or technology. That is my point.

'I support [the lake wind farm] but if they had not worked their way through and had failed, that is what can happen. But they did, though. And that is what is disturbing. Why would anyone spend millions of dollars for at the last minute to have a poison pill inserted? And it stands. And no one says anything.

'It will be a wet blanket on all innovation, all new technology. People just won’t feel comfortable coming to Ohio. We cannot let this stand because of the long-term implications that it will have.' 

LEEDCo has previously estimated the project’s construction would be worth $250 million to the local economy. If built, the project would be the first freshwater wind farm in North America."

-- John Funk, Energy News Network

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press release

joint letter from lawmakers


Bribery! Corruption! Renewable Energy! (Whelp, 2 Of 3 Ain’t Bad)

"According to the Nuclear Energy Institute, Ohio’s two nuclear power plants account for 87% of the state’s zero emission electricity.

That’s not exactly something to write home about. Considering that the cost of renewable energy is continuing to drop with no end in sight, this would be a bad time to double down on expensive nuclear energy.

Nevertheless, Ohio Citizen Action estimates that the HB6 nuclear bailout will sock ratepayers with $200 million in increased costs.

HB6 was signed into law last year, saddling Ohio ratepayers with two aging nuclear power plants and two old coal power plants, to boot.

'Governor Mike DeWine signed House Bill 6 (HB 6) into law on July 23, 2019, approving bailouts for the Davis-Besse and Perry nuclear plants, which are owned by FirstEnergy’s former subsidiary FirstEnergy Solutions (FES), and were previously scheduled to close in 2020 and 2021, respectively, after FES announced its bankruptcy,' explains Ohio Citizen Action. 'The final version of the bill extends the bailout to two old and dirty coal plants—Kyger Creek in southern Ohio and Clifty Creek in Indiana.'"

-- Tina Casey, CleanTechnica 

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Gov. Mike DeWine calls for repeal of House Bill 6, reversing his position from the day before

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has given daily briefings, updating the public on the state's response to COVID-19. (Ohio Governor's Office)

COLUMBUS — "Gov. Mike DeWine reversed himself and called for the repeal of the House Bill 6 on Thursday, saying Speaker Larry Householder’s alleged bribery scheme “forever tainted” the $1.3 billion nuclear bailout law.

DeWine, who signed HB6 a year ago Thursday, reiterated that he supports the policy laid out in the bailout, saying it’s needed to preserve jobs at the Davis-Besse and Perry nuclear plants and keep carbon-free sources of energy.

'While the policy in my opinion is good, the process by which it was created stinks. It’s terrible, it’s not acceptable,' DeWine said during his televised coronavirus briefing.

The governor’s announcement marks a reversal from just the day before, when he stood by HB6 despite the federal charges against Householder and four allies regarding their acceptance of more than $60 million from FirstEnergy Corp. to get HB6 passed and thwart an anti-HB6 referendum effort."

— Jeremy Pelzer, Cleveland.com

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Gov. Mike DeWine stands by billion-dollar nuclear bailout authorities say was forged in corruption

COLUMBUS — "Gov. Mike DeWine on Wednesday stood by his support for House Bill 6, the billion-dollar nuclear bailout bill he signed into law last year, even though House Speaker Larry Householder and four allies were charged with running the largest bribery scheme in state history to get the measure passed.

Speaking at a televised news conference, DeWine on one hand said he is worried that the corruption charges will erode the public’s trust in government. But he said he is standing by the law because he believes it saved jobs and preserved non-carbon-emitting sources of power in the state.

'The policy is good policy,' the governor said, asserting that without HB6 the Davis-Besse and Perry nuclear plants would have closed. 'Because people did bad things does not mean that the policy is not a good policy.'"

— Jeremy Pelzer, Cleveland.com

link to full article


An FBI investigation shows Ohio's abysmal energy law was fueled by corruption

Republican Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio gives his victory speech on November 6, 2018, in Columbus, Ohio. While DeWine has called for Larry Householder’s resignation, he has not called for the repeal of the coal bailout. 

Justin Merriman/Getty Images

"Now that it’s clear that Ohio’s draconian energy policy was passed based on bribery and corruption, legislators should act immediately to repeal the law.

While Gov. Mike DeWine has called for Householder’s resignation, he has not called for the repeal of the corrupt coal bailout. That’s perhaps not surprising, since DeWine has himself taken money from FirstEnergy. DeWine’s staff even made plans to fly legislators on a taxpayer-funded plane to make Householder’s last-minute vote for the bailout. The day after DeWine signed the law, he attended a Trump fundraiser hosted by coal baron Bob Murray. He seems quite cozy with the fossil fuel industry.

If DeWine is not in bed with FirstEnergy, then he should be calling for HB 6 to be reversed immediately. This law was passed by corrupt politicians. The effort to overturn it by popular will was thwarted by a corrupt utility. If DeWine can’t see this invalidates Ohio’s energy law, then perhaps he has a bigger problem.

We cannot allow utility corruption to continue to stall clean energy progress. This FBI affidavit is a wake-up call to all politicians: Stop taking electric utilities’ money."

-- Leah Stokes, Vox

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Ohio Consumers Power Alliance endorses the National Economic Transition Platform

Local leaders in coal communities are developing solutions that tackle the climate crisis and create equitable and sustainable economic growth from the ground up

Ohio Consumers Power Alliance is pleased to announce that we have endorsed the National Economic Transition Platform. Launched June 30, 2020, this platform provides national leaders a path forward to developing the community-powered, national economic transition program that American coal communities need and deserve.

From Appalachia to the Navajo Nation, the people hit hardest by the changing coal economy are facing a profound crisis. As these challenges continue to mount, local leaders in coal communities are working to tackle the climate crisis and create equitable and sustainable economic growth. The National Economic Transition Platform is crafted by these leaders, to give national policymakers a framework for a comprehensive national economic transition program that will create and support vibrant, inclusive communities.

This platform empowers workers and communities—in rural, urban, and tribal settings— as the nation adapts to the realities of climate change while confronting economic and public health crises. These solutions are built by and for communities to create resilient economies that can withstand shocks like economic recessions and worldwide pandemics. Together with more than 80 other organizations, Ohio Consumers Power Alliance has endorsed this platform as a way to work toward a future where the communities hit hardest by the decline of the coal industry have equitable economies, thriving local businesses, and family-sustaining jobs.

The framework for this platform is built on seven pillars of integrated federal policy solutions. Fully addressing the challenges of the energy transition requires a substantial local, state, and federal-level investment, as well as investment from the private sector and philanthropy. Together, Ohio Consumers Power Alliance and our co-signatories call upon national policymakers to advance the platform’s framework; it is the best way to serve and assist the people and places most affected by past and future coal transitions. The time for equitable and lasting change is now.


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