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Nuclear Bailout Opponents End Their Referendum Attempt

Petitioner gathering signatures for HB6 referendum
Petitioner gathering signatures for HB6 referendum

The group that was fighting to overturn Ohio's nuclear power plant bailout has dropped its case in court which means the plan for additional fees on electric bills to subsidize nuclear and coal will carry forward.

Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts wanted voters this fall to overturn the law, through HB6, that bails out nuclear plants, subsidizes coal plants, rolls back renewable energy standards, and eliminates energy efficiency programs.

Opponents of the referendum spent millions of dollars trying to connect connect Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts to Chinese government interests. Generation Now, a group that opposed the referendum, hired people to track petition circulators, which the referendum group characterized as harassment.

Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts also spent millions, but in the end they say the other side’s tactics proved to be too much of a challenge.

"We always felt we had the issues with us but the high level of spending, just the outrageous level of spending on the other side, made it so we couldn't see a clear way forward," says Gene Pierce, Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts spokesperson, who adds that the aggressive tactics by opponents set a bad precedent. "It really set a low standard for factual debate and it made our margin of error zero for getting this petition drive done."

Neither Pierce’s group nor the group backing the bailout will have to disclose its donors.

Copyright 2020 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.