Utility and fossil fuel influence in Ohio goes beyond passage of bailout

Dark money loopholes remain, while people linked to utilities and fossil fuels hold public office or enjoy ongoing access to government officials. This article provided by Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism in partnership with the nonprofit Energy News Network. Please join our free mailing list or the mailing list for the Energy New Network as this helps us provide more public service reporting. Dark money loopholes remain in Ohio law, despite last month’s surgical repeal of part of the law at the heart of a $60 million corruption scandal. Meanwhile, more evidence has emerged in recent months, detailing the flow of money by groups engaged in the House Bill 6 scandal and showing close ties between current and former utility lobbyists and Gov. Mike DeWine, as well as various lawmakers.

Utility and fossil fuel interests still ahead in Ohio under House Bill 6

A surgical repeal of parts of the 2019 bailout law means utilities, fossil fuel interests and nuclear plants still benefit. This article provided by Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism in partnership with the nonprofit Energy News Network. Please join our free mailing list or the mailing list for the Energy New Network as this helps us provide more public service reporting. Utilities, fossil fuel interests and nuclear plants are still reaping advantages over clean energy in Ohio, despite last month’s repeal of part of the law at the heart of an alleged $60 million corruption scandal. A federal complaint released last July alleged an unlawful conspiracy to elect lawmakers who would favor Rep. Larry Householder as House speaker, secure passage of House Bill 6 and defend it against a referendum.

Critics fear investors’ push for profits could thwart other FirstEnergy priorities

FirstEnergy news raises questions about grid resiliency and clean energy approaches to cope with climate change. A notorious investor’s plan to acquire a significant stake in FirstEnergy voting shares has critics worried that pressure to turn quick profits could undercut the company’s duties to ratepayers and need to invest in a cleaner and more resilient grid. In its Feb. 18 earnings call, FirstEnergy revealed it had received notice of Icahn Capital’s intent to acquire between $184 million and $920 million in voting securities. The fund would have a minority voting interest, but it might be enough to sway changes in its board of directors, company management and more.

Top regulator’s exit raises questions about utility and fossil fuel influence

Critics question whether the former Ohio utility commission chair should have recused himself more often to avoid any appearance of bias. This article provided by Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism in partnership with the nonprofit Energy News Network. Please join our free mailing list or the mailing list for the Energy New Network as this helps us provide more public service reporting. Concerns about the outsized influence of utility and fossil fuel interests have resurfaced as the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio begins steps to name a new commissioner after the sudden exit of Chair Sam Randazzo.  

Randazzo resigned on Nov. 20 after an FBI team had searched his home and FirstEnergy released a mandatory quarterly report to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

FirstEnergy’s evasive legal responses don’t say what happened after funds from ratepayers went into a shared pool

Statements could support broad scope for PUCO-ordered audit

This article provided by Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism in partnership with the nonprofit Energy News Network. Please join our free mailing list or the mailing list for the Energy New Network as this helps us provide more public service reporting. FirstEnergy’s legal papers in a regulatory case state it can’t categorically deny that money from Ohio ratepayers was spent for activities related to the state’s nuclear and coal bailout law. The limited comments could support a broad scope for an independent audit ordered by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio earlier this month. The PUCO may come under increased scrutiny in the wake of FBI agents’ Nov.

FirstEnergy fights against disclosing more details about alleged HB 6 bribery cases

Case filings and delay of possible nuclear bailout combine to block Ohioans from learning more before voting. This article provided by Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism in partnership with the nonprofit Energy News Network. Please join our free mailing list or the mailing list for the Energy New Network as this helps us provide more public service reporting. var divElement = document.getElementById('viz1604006918434'); var vizElement = divElement.getElementsByTagName('object')[0]; if ( divElement.offsetWidth > 800 ) { vizElement.style.width='100%';vizElement.style.height='1007px';} else if ( divElement.offsetWidth > 500 ) { vizElement.style.width='100%';vizElement.style.height='971px';} else { vizElement.style.width='100%';vizElement.style.height='427px';} var scriptElement = document.createElement('script'); scriptElement.src = 'https://public.tableau.com/javascripts/api/viz_v1.js'; vizElement.parentNode.insertBefore(scriptElement, vizElement);

Consumer advocates, industry organizations and environmental groups continue efforts to learn more about claims that FirstEnergy and current or former subsidiaries may have financed an alleged $60-million conspiracy to make sure Ohio’s nuclear bailout bill became law and withstood a referendum attempt. Yet opposition by FirstEnergy in two regulatory cases and in state court has combined with the legislative recess to prevent those groups and voters from learning more before Election Day.