Anti-Nuclear Bailout Group Making Final Push For Signatures

Oct 18, 2019

Petitioners are giving one last push into the drive that would put Ohio's nuclear bailout law before voters. The referendum effort must file enough valid signatures, 265,774, by Monday afternoon in order to qualify for next year's ballot. 

Opponents of the law say it's a corporate bailout for FirstEnergy Solutions. They're also against the coal subsidies and the cuts to green energy policies.

That's why they want to put the law on the ballot for a potential repeal.

Among those opponent organizers is Rachael Belz, executive director of Ohio Citizen Action, which advocates for community involvement and corporate responsibility. Belz says they're planning an all-out blitz to gather last-minute signatures around the state.

"I feel optimistic. We're gonna push as hard as we can up until the last minutes to make sure that this gets on the ballot," says Belz

Pro-nuclear bailout groups will continue to have their own canvassers out trying to get people not to sign the petition along with ads against the referendum.

There are other looming issues. The anti-bailout group leading the charge, Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts, has filed a lawsuit in federal court asking a judge to extend their time. The group argues a requirement for them to file paperwork about their petitioners made them vulnerable against their opposition. Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts also says in the lawsuit that it took too long for the Ohio Attorney General's Office to approve the petition language, so they're asking for an additional 90 days.

Pro-nuclear bailout groups have filed a case in the Ohio Supreme Court arguing that the new bailout law creates a tax, and is therefore immune to a referendum attempt.