HB 6 vote pushed back to Aug. 1

Proponents of a bill to save the jobs of more than 4,000 Ohioans will have to wait until August for members of the Ohio House to vote on this legislation.

Speaker of the Ohio House, Larry Householder, pushed back a vote on House Bill 6, which will create the Ohio Clean Air Program, save the state’s two nuclear power plants and the jobs those plants provide, while reducing Ohioans energy bills starting in 2021.

FirstEnergy Solutions (FES), a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp., claimed it would shut down the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station and Perry Nuclear Power Plant reactors in 2020 and 2021 if lawmakers did not subsidize operation of the facilities.

Combined, both plants are responsible for an estimated 4,400 jobs. Additionally, many other jobs within the community rely on these plants including vendors, restaurants and businesses.

FES had given Ohio lawmakers a deadline of June 30 to pass H.B. 6 and when the deadline passed, they did not purchase the fuel needed to keep Davis-Besse operational. Now, the future of Davis-Besse may be in jeopardy.

According to The Plain Dealer, the House was one vote shy of the 50 votes needed to pass the bill on July 17. Earlier that day, the Ohio Senate passed their version of H.B. 6 by a 19-12 tally.

In late May, H.B. 6 passed their version of the legislation by a 53-43 vote. However, roughly six weeks later, the votes were simply not there as Steve Arndt (R-Port Clinton) retired and three other House members – Joe Miller (D-Amherst), John Patterson (D-Jefferson) and Sara Carruthers (R-Hamilton) were absent.

Now, the legislation will likely have to wait until the House reconvenes in August.

According to The Toledo Blade, the Senate’s version of H.B. 6 delays the start of the surcharges by one year from 2020 to 2021. It allows for surcharges to continue on customers’ bills to support two coal-fired power plants in southern Ohio and southeast Indiana, which are operated by the multi-utility Ohio Valley Energy Corporation. It also phases out and ultimately eliminates current mandates that utilities purchase more of their power from wind, solar, and other renewable sources and reduce energy consumption overall.

“The renewable mandate would end in 2026, and charges associated with it would drop off customers’ bills at that time. Utilities would no longer have to meet increased energy efficiency requirements once they reach 17.5 percent, a threshold most are already nearing,” The Blade reported.

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