Some two weeks after its creation, the Ohio House Select Committee on Energy Policy and Oversight held its first hearing on September 10 to consider a potential repeal of the Ohio Clean Air Program Act (H.B. 6).
H.B. 6 is the sweeping energy law that includes subsidies for the state’s two nuclear power plants, Davis-Besse and Perry, and that is currently at the center of an alleged $61-million corruption scheme aimed at guaranteeing its passage.
Newly elected Ohio House Speaker Bob Cupp (R., Dist. 4)—who replaced Rep. Larry Householder (R., Dist. 72) as speaker following the latter’s July 21 arrest as the scheme’s alleged ringleader—announced the committee’s creation in late August. Cupp stated that its goal is “repealing House Bill 6 and replacing it with thoughtful legislation Ohioans can have confidence in.”
The committee’s initial hearing, however, focused only on efforts to immediately repeal the measure. Proponents of two repeal bills—one backed by Republicans (H.B. 746) and one by Democrats (H.B. 738)—argued their positions, with some displaying greater rhetorical gifts than others.
Testimony: In her remarks, Rep. Laura Lanese (R., Dist. 23), a co-sponsor of H.B. 746 with Rep. Dave Greenspan (R., Dist. 16), said, “I’ve given you three good reasons to repeal, but I’m sure some of you may be thinking, ‘Yeah, the process wasn’t great, but this was good policy, and we shouldn’t swiftly repeal until we know how we will replace the subsidies and get [FirstEnergy Solutions/Energy Harbor] the help they need.’ The first part of that statement, that it was good policy, needs more discussion because it is being used to discourage immediate and complete repeal. The suggestion is that we shouldn’t throw the baby, i.e., the good policy, out with the bath water, i.e., the corruption. I would counter that what we have now isn’t bathwater, but mud. And once you have mud, you can’t cleanly separate the dirt from the water and still have confidence you got rid of all the dirt. And I don’t think our constituents want us spending too much time mucking around in that mud.”
Lanese’s full testimony, as well as less metaphor-heavy testimony from Greenspan and Reps. Mike Skindell (D., Dist. 13) and Michael O’Brien (D., Dist. 64), can be accessed here.
What’s next: The committee’s second hearing is September 16. Representatives of both PJM Interconnection and the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio have been invited to testify.