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Ohio House Leaders Push One-Year Delay For Nuclear Bailout Charges

The Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station on Lake Erie.
Ron Schwane
Associated Press

House Republicans are moving a bill that delays nuclear power plant bailout, just months after leadership said they wanted a full repeal of the controversial law. The latest measure delays the $1 billion in subsidies for one year.

The bill passed the House Select Committee on Energy Policy and Oversight on Wednesday, and could be up for a vote on the House floor as early as Thursday.

HB6 bailed out nuclear power plants, created subsidies for coal and solar plants, and cut green energy mandates, but has been linked it to a $60 million racketeering scheme that federal investigators allege involved a quid-pro-quo between the former Ohio House Speaker and FirstEnergy.

Opponents of the bill say the energy law, which benefits two nuclear plants owned by former FirstEnergy subsidiary Energy Harbor, is tainted by the bribery allegations and should be tossed out.

Republicans say the policy is still sound, and argue the delay with additional auditing provisions is what's best for the state.

The bill, introduced by Republican state Rep. Jim Hoops, would halt the collection of $170 million in subsidies for one year. However, without an emergency clause, the delay won't go into effect until March, which means ratepayers could still see new charges on electric bills for those subsidies in January.

The Ohio Attorney General and several cities have filed lawsuits to stop those charges from being collected.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.