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GOP Lawmakers And Kasich Disagree On Whether FirstEnergy Should Get Bailout

Davis Besse nuclear power plant
Tim Rudell
The Davis Besse nuclear power plant is one of two FirstEnergy has on the Lake Erie shoreline that the utility says can't compete on the open market. The other is Perry.

Another clash may be coming between Republican state lawmakers and Gov. John Kasich. It’s over a bill on nuclear power plants, but the issue may be more about money.

At the opening of a new natural gas plant this week in Toledo, Kasich said he can’t support a bill that would allow FirstEnergy to charge its customers more to subsidize its two aging nuclear plants.

“Economic decisions have to be made, and I just think they’re going to have to work their way through this themselves,” he said.

The bill’s sponsor, Republican Sen. John Eklund of the Chardon area, says nuclear is needed in a diverse energy portfolio, which he says Kasich has supported. And he says lawmakers make many decisions to preserve important things, and they’re not called bailouts.

“This just happens to be another one," Eklund says. "It’s no more of a bailout than so many of the other things that we do.”

Eklund says he hasn’t spoken to Kasich about the bill but wants to move it forward, though the bill stalled before summer recess.