Less than a month after Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed House Bill 6 into law, opponents of the job-saving legislation are working to repeal it through a ballot referendum.
On Aug. 29, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost’s office approved resubmitted summary petition language by the group Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts. The group is attempting to repeal H.B. 6, legislation to subsidize Ohio’s two nuclear power plants in order to save more than 4,000 jobs, including union construction work.
A few weeks later, Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts was successful with their second petition request.
Now, the group must collect about 266,000 valid signatures from registered voters (about 6 percent of the total votes cast during the last gubernatorial election). Valid signatures must come from at least half of Ohio’s 88 counties, and within those 44 counties, the number of signatures must equal at least 3 percent of the total vote cast in each county for the office of governor at the last gubernatorial election.
When a bipartisan group of legislators passed the bill on July 23, DeWine quickly signed the law, which created the Ohio Clean Energy Program (OCEP). The OCEP will charge Ohio electrical customers a monthly surcharge ranging from $0.85 cents for residential customers to $2,400 for large manufacturing and industrial customers between 2021 and 2027.
House Bill 6 will create $170 million per year in revenue and of that amount, $150 million will be used to subsidize the state’s two nuclear power plants – Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station and Perry Nuclear Power Plant – and the other $20 million per year will be used to support six solar power projects being built in rural areas throughout Ohio.
Construction unions affiliated with the Cleveland Building and Construction Trades Council strongly supported H.B. 6.
Nearly a month after H.B. 6 was signed into law, Clean Energy Future LLC stopped plans to build a third natural gas-fired power plant in Lordstown. According to WFMJ-TV, William Siderewicz, President of Clean Energy Future LLC, scrubbed the new $1.1 billion Lordstown project because of H.B. 6, which he called a “fraudulent clean air bill.”
The loss of a third Lordstown power plant reportedly will result in the loss of 1,100 construction jobs, which were expected to total 2.6 million manhours. Critics of H.B. 6 fail to point out the loss of more than 4,000 jobs, including the building trades who work at the existing nuclear power plants, mainly during shutdowns.
On Sept. 4, The Plain Dealer reported FirstEnergy Solutions filed a lawsuit against Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts and LaRose.
The lawsuit asks the Ohio Supreme Court to rule the proposed statewide referendum to overturn H.B. 6 is illegal because the legislation is a tax. The Ohio Constitution prohibits any tax levy from being overturned via referendum.