Speaker Says He's Concerned About Funding For Group Opposing Nuke Bailout

Jul 26, 2019

The Ohio House Speaker said opponents of the new law that will give $150 million a year in subsidies to Ohio’s two nuclear power plants owned by FirstEnergy Solutions will need big money to overturn it. 

Natural gas provides a third of Ohio’s electricity generation.

Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) said three of the four natural gas powered plants in Ohio are funded by Chinese interests. In an interview, he said overturning House Bill 6 by the group Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts will be “vastly expensive”.

“The only folks that have a tremendous interest in closing down our nuclear power plants, where Ohio generates its energy and where there are Ohio jobs, are people from outside the state of Ohio who want to monopolize our grid. And who are they? They’re foreign nationals from China," Householder said.

Householder said potential Chinese involvement is a security issue as well. 

A spokesman for Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts said he wouldn’t respond to Householder’s comments, but said the coalition includes energy, environmental and good government groups.

The nuclear plants are owned by FirstEnergy Solutions, the former power generation subsidiary of FirstEnergy. The companies are now separate, and FirstEnergy Solutions is working its way through bankruptcy court. It had said it would close the plants without legislative help.

The campaign for HB6, which included lots of TV ads and mailers, got funding from Generation Now, a dark money group with ties to Householder. It’s not required to disclose its donors. FirstEnergy Solutions also had allies that were supporting the measure.