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Government/Politics

Lawmaker Offers New HB6 Option In Last Days Of Lame Duck

Rep. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) speaks on the Ohio House floor in March 2018.
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Rep. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) speaks on the Ohio House floor, March 2018.

With time running out to make a decision, lawmakers are considering yet another proposal to address the nuclear power plant bailout which is connected to a $61 million bribery scheme. The latest measure would give the plant owners the ability to take the subsidies or not.

Rep. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) is working on legislation that would audit Energy Harbor to determine how much the plants would need to stay afloat, then the nuclear power company would have the choice to take the subsidies or not. 

"They would make that call if we were to simply repeal the nuclear subsidy and those plants were to close down the line three or four years, then we would be blamed for having caused their demise," says Seitz. 

The new proposal addresses a change in rules meant to level the playing field in the energy market. The "minimum offer price rule" from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission adjusts the price of generation in the energy market for companies receiving government assistance in an effort to level the playing field among generators.  

The proposal from Seitz would give Energy Harbor to determine if taking the subsidies would be worth the market offset.

Opponents say the change falls short of addressing public trust, as federal investigators alleged the bailout was a quid pro quo between a utility company and Republican former House Speaker Larry Householder.  

Micah Derry, state director for Americans for Prosperity Ohio, is an opponent of HB6 who says the change proposed by Seitz is "tone deaf." 

"Giving a company that Ohioans view as being shady at best, corrupt at worst, continuing to put them in the driver seat to make decisions. It's a bad move for the state and it's a bad move to public trust," says Derry.

Other legislative options on the table in the Ohio House and Senate include a full repeal of HB6, a partial repeal, and a delay.

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