TOLEDO, Ohio — Lawmakers in the Ohio House have approved a roughly $1 billion financial rescue for the state’s two nuclear power plants.
The package that critics are calling a bailout will give $150 million a year to the plants near Cleveland and Toledo.
The legislation approved Tuesday will tack a new fee onto every electricity bill in Ohio. It also scales back requirements that utilities generate more power from wind and solar.
"This has been a multi-year battle for those of us who understand just how important these plants are to Northeast and Northwest Ohio," said Lake County Commissioner Jerry Cirino. "Without House Bill 6, our communities would have been devasted. I thank the Ohio General Assembly, my fellow Alliance members and FirstEnergy Solutions for working hard to save Perry and Davis-Besse."
Gov. Mike DeWine said last week he intends to sign it into law.
FirstEnergy Solutions has told lawmakers the plants are too costly to operate and will close within two years unless the government steps in and helps.
Opponents led by the natural gas industry have vowed to ask voters to overturn the legislation in a statewide referendum next year.
The Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund remains opposed to the bill.
“Since 2009, Ohio’s energy efficiency and renewable energy standards moved Ohio forward in terms of creating new clean energy jobs, attracting new investment and revenue coming into Ohio, and steadily reducing annual carbon pollution equivalent to about a million homes’ worth of electricity consumption. HB 6 will set Ohio backwards as it cuts funding for these critical renewable energy sources and bails out antiquated nuclear and coal facilities, all while sticking Ohioans with dirtier air and higher utility bills," said Trish Demeter, of the OECAF.