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Legislation approved to eliminate nuclear plants bailout

March 26, 2021 GMT

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The $1 billion bailout for two Ohio nuclear plants that’s now tied to a bribery investigation at the Ohio Statehouse is one step closer to being eliminated.

Lawmakers in both the Ohio House and Senate approved legislation this week that would repeal the bailout, sending it to Republican Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, who is expected to sign it.

The legislation would get rid of electricity bill surcharges that were created in 2019 to pay for the bailout for the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant near Oak Harbor and the Perry plant east of Cleveland.

The plants were operated by a subsidiary of Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp. when the energy bill was approved in July 2019. A new company called Energy Harbor took ownership of the two plants along the Lake Erie shoreline in February 2020 in a U.S. Bankruptcy Court deal with the subsidiary, FirstEnergy Solutions.

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Energy Harbor has indicated to lawmakers it no longer wants the subsidy.

Federal investigators last summer charged Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder and four associates of orchestrating a scheme in which energy company money was funneled toward the legislative effort to secure the bailout.

Householder, who was stripped of his leadership post but remains in the legislature, has pleaded not guilty while two of his associates have pleaded guilty.