All six commissioners from Ohio’s Lake and Ottawa counties—home to the Perry and Davis-Besse nuclear plants—joined forces last week to express their opposition to an immediate repeal of the Ohio Clean Air Program Act (H.B. 6), which was tainted by last month’s scandal involving former Ohio Speaker of the House Larry Householder and four associates.
Signed into law by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine in July last year—rescuing Perry and Davis-Besse from premature closure—H.B. 6 has become the subject of multiple calls for repeal since Householder’s July 21 arrest, including one from DeWine himself.
What they’re saying: “Calls to repeal now, with a promise to replace later, are simply not believable,” said Lake County Commissioner Jerry Cirino, who joined his five colleagues at an August 19 briefing. “It would simply kick the can down the road. It will never happen, and our plants will be shuttered, and our communities will suffer. Instead of acting prematurely, our leaders in Columbus need to take time to develop a replacement bill that will be better than House Bill 6 and that will include a mechanism to keep these vital plants operating and providing vital economic benefits and clean energy to our communities and to the state of Ohio.”
The commissioners also penned a letter on August 19 to DeWine and Ohio House and Senate leaders conveying their concerns. “We contend that no piece of federal, state, or local legislation is perfect, and most can be improved, enhanced, or adjusted to address necessary changes,” the commissioners wrote. “Simply throwing the policy out with the political bathwater would be catastrophic to Ohio’s energy portfolio and to our local economies. The fact remains, if the nuclear fleet in Ohio is closed, nearly 90 percent of Ohio’s zero-carbon electric power generation and over 25 percent of Ohio’s entire electric energy portfolio will be lost and will not come back. Ohio will be an importer of electric power, and the oil and gas producers will move quickly to gain market share that was once zero carbon generation.”
The magnificent six: In addition to Cirino, Lake County commissioners include John Hamercheck and Ron Young; the Ottawa County commissioners are Mark Stahl, Mark Coppeler, and Donald Douglas.