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FBI Source In Corruption Investigation Talks Opposition To HB6

Tyler Fehrman, policy director for Clean Fuels Ohio
Tyler Fehrman, policy director for Clean Fuels Ohio

Opponents of HB6, Ohio's sweeping energy law, gathered for an official virtual hearing to make their voice heard. That includes one of the whistleblowers who went to the FBI to report potential corruption which played a role a federal racketeering case.

Tyler Fehrman, policy director for Clean Fuels Ohio, was working to overturn the nuclear plant bailout law last year when he says a lobbyist for FirstEnergy asked him for inside information on that referendum campaign. 

Fehrman, who reported that lobbyist to the FBI, spoke during a virtual rally to repeal HB6, calling the legislation "horribly written policy." 

He added, "It is also a disgusting attempt by lobbyists, political operatives, and elected officials to set themselves above the law and get away with crimes that have detrimental effects on the trust of the people of our state." 

A U.S. district attorney says former House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) and others are accused of running a bribery scheme to help get HB6 passed. 

Fehrman says he is the source listed as CHS 1 in the FBI affidavit which details him helping investigators gather recordings of Matt Borges, a former lobbyist for FirstEnergy and defendant in the racketeering case.

"If I had the opportunity I would do it again 1,000 times over. Even the parts that put my life and career at great risk," says Fehrman.

A potential repeal effort in the Ohio House and Ohio Senate has been put on hold until after the election. 

The bill creates $1.3 billion in nuclear power plant subsidies over the course of nine years. HB6 also allows for coal plant subsidies and $20 million a year in subsidies for solar farms. The legislation also rolls back renewable energy standards and eliminates energy efficiency standards.

Opponents say the bill takes Ohio backwards in fighting climate change and free market conservatives dispute the effort to bailout a struggling company. Those who support HB6 say it saves thousands of jobs in the nuclear industry and gets rid of clean energy mandates.

Both opponents and supporters have debated the actual cost of HB6 on electric bills. The legislation allows for up to $2.35 a month in additional charges, but cuts the standards which have come in at a higher cost. However, proponents of the clean energy standards they the efficiency mandates end up saving ratepayers money with a cost benefit.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

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.