Government

Chamber Board Opposes First Energy Bailout Bill

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber’s board of directors today announced its opposition to a proposal to create the Zero Emissions Nuclear Resource program, a proposal included in both Ohio House Bill 178 and Ohio Senate Bill 128 that would adversely affect the Clean Energy Future’s projects here, opponents say.

The ZEN program would require FirstEnergy Solutions’ Davis-Besse and Perry nuclear power plants to purchase zero-emissions nuclear credits and recover cost by imposing an increase on electric rates in FirstEnergy’s territory, which includes the Mahoning Valley. The legislation has been terms a bailout by First Energy’s competitors.

While the Ohio House of Representatives has suspended further proceedings on its version of the legislation, activity continues in the Ohio Senate, which will hear pro and con testimony Thursday.

The chamber is among several business and environmental groups across the state opposing the legislation. Clean Energy Future, which is building a $1 billion power plant in Lordstown and has announced its interest in building a second similar plant — voiced its opposition to the bills in testimoney.

“We are in favor of a free market, competitive system in all industries,” Tom Humphries, president and CEO of the Regional Chamber, said in the release. “Natural gas fired power plants being built across Ohio, including in Lordstown, are thriving because of a competitive marketplace.”

The rate increase, which is projected to be 5%, would increase the cost of doing business for chamber members. For many companies, such as manufacturers, one of their largest expenses is electricity, the chamber said.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.