The State of Ohio is undergoing yet another embarrassment as Sam Randazzo has stepped down from his position as Chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO). At the time of this writing, it is not known whether or how much this may be related to the scandal where House Speaker Larry Householder and four political associates were arrested on federal racketeering charges involving $61 million in bribes tied to the nuclear subsidies for House Bill 6 (HB 6). But it sure looks that way. And it sure looks awful for the State of Ohio, the Ohio Legislature, and the Ohio Executive branch.
Mr. Randazzo was appointed by Governor DeWine and approved by the Ohio Legislature. He has a long record of supporting dirty fossil fuels and hindering all attempts to install renewable energy. As a result, Ohio’s reputation as a haven for dirty energy and pollution has continued to worsen. Now its reputation as a seat of corruption continues as well. Worst of all, HB 6 is still on the books.
HB 6 was a terrible law for the people of Ohio right from the beginning. As you know, HB 6 seeks to bail out FirstEnergy’s nuclear and coal plants by forcing virtually every Ohioan to pay a surcharge. It also removes renewable energy standards that would have helped keep Ohio cleaner and greener. The law has been called the worst energy bill of the 21st century.
This law is bad for the health (since it also removes some environmental protection) and welfare (since it requires all to pay for a bailout) of Ohioans. It needs to be repealed immediately.
The repeal needs to be complete. Previous hearings since the scandal have demonstrated spineless equivocation by the Ohio Legislature. Let us be clear: there is no justification for not repealing it in its entirety. Once that is complete, the Ohio Legislature should begin to draft legislation to help correct Ohio’s filthy, pollution-causing energy policy. Clean, renewable energy standards and policies work for other states. They will work in Ohio too. Furthermore, any corrective action should be funded solely by FirstEnergy stockholders and not everyday Ohioans as a bailout.
Of course, the Ohio Legislature will need to do most of the work to repeal and remove this bad law. But Governor DeWine needs to provide the leadership to get this done. Please do it quickly. Ohio cannot wait.