After House Bill 6 convictions, DeWine says lawmakers should repeal coal plant subsidies too
Gov. Mike DeWine said he respects the process and the jury that convicted fellow Republican former speaker Larry Householder and former Ohio Republican Party chair Matt Borges last week. And DeWine said he’d like to see some more of the billion-dollar nuclear power plant bailout at the center of that case repealed.
DeWine had said nuclear power was important to Ohio’s energy portfolio in his support of House Bill 6, and said he stands by the decision to support it.
"But that's not really what this trial was about. This trial was about criminal charge. This jury found the defendants guilty," DeWine said. "We need to respect that verdict."
The nuclear subsidies have been repealed. But House Bill 6 went beyond the billion-dollar bailout to the two nuclear power plants once owned by a subsidiary of FirstEnergy. The law also gutted energy efficiency programs and the state’s renewable energy requirements, and sends $150 million in subsidies annually to two coal fired power plants.
DeWine said lawmakers should pull back those other subsidies too.
“I've consistently said that we should not be subsidizing the two coal plants and we should particularly not be subsidizing one that's not in the state of Ohio," DeWine said. "That's continued to be my position and will be my position.”
DeWine changed positions on the repeal after Householder’s arrest – saying on July 22, 2020 that "because people did bad things does not mean the policy is not a good policy." The next day he reversed that, saying he’d thought about it, and the case "would forever taint those decisions that were made. So I don't know any way of backing it out other than to have the legislature repeal it at the same time. What I would ask them to do is come up with an alternative."
In the last few years, several bills to repeal all or some of House Bill 6 have been introduced but have failed. Democratic Reps. Casey Weinstein (D-Hudson) and Sean Brennan (D-Parma) have the most recent one, a proposed repeal of those coal fired power plant subsidies.