Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Nuclear corruption, the latest example is in Ohio

Ohio corruption case throws focus on US nuclear plant troubles Ft.com,  Gregory Meyer in New York, 23 July 20
Top lawmaker charged over payments relating to bailouts in case that points up economic woes, 
  Gregory Meyer in New York 3 HOURS AGO 5 Print this page The troubled economics of nuclear energy in the US have come into glaring focus after a top Ohio lawmaker was charged in connection with $60m in alleged payments to orchestrate a $1bn bailout of two struggling power plants on the Lake Erie shore.
Ohio last year became the fifth US state — following Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey, and New York — to approve aid to nuclear power plants facing low-cost competition from natural gas, solar and wind energy. Its governor, Mike DeWine, signed a bill providing up to $150m a year, funded by a surcharge on electricity customers.
 Intense lobbying preceded the bill’s passage. A campaign to overturn it through a referendum failed last autumn. Yet the machinations that led to the bailout ran far deeper than the public knew, federal prosecutors said on Tuesday.
According to the US justice department, for three years ending in March, $60m was poured into an advocacy organisation called Generation Now, controlled by the Republican state house speaker, Larry Householder. Prosecutors said the funds financed a “racketeering conspiracy” led by Mr Householder, who was charged along with his campaign strategist, three lobbyists and Generation Now.
  The companies that supplied the money were not named in the indictment, but the details matched Ohio utility FirstEnergy and one of its subsidiaries. The alleged co-conspirators called the company “the bank”, given its seemingly unlimited war chest, according to an affidavit filed with the criminal complaint.
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The alleged conspiracy used the money to help more than 20 state candidates who supported the bailout propping up the two power plants, including Mr Householder, in the 2018 election. More than $1m was spent on advertisements attacking opponents of the measure, according to the US attorney for the southern district of Ohio.

 Some funds were used to improperly pay for Mr Householder’s campaign staff, while he used more than $400,000 on personal expenses — including a home in Florida — prosecutors alleged. Mr Householder could not be reached for comment.
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After legislators passed the bailout last July, the funds were used to derail a public ballot initiative meant to repeal the law by bribing people who were collecting signatures endorsing the effort, the complaint said. Besides the nuclear subsidies, the law also eliminated energy efficiency requirements, pared back mandates for wind and solar power and authorised a fee on customers to support ailing coal-fired power plants.

 “When the corruption is alleged to reach some of the highest levels of our state government, the citizens of Ohio should be shocked and appalled,” said Chris Hoffman, special agent in charge at the FBI’s Cincinnati office.   ………….
the Electric Power Supply Association, which represents independent power producers, urged its repeal, calling it the outcome of a “corrupt legislative process”.
“Rather than let the market provide the best outcomes for energy customers — and against the warnings and complaints from almost all corners — money and political influence won the day,” said Todd Snitchler, EPSA chief executive and former chairman of the Ohio Public Utilities Commission.
With the referendum having failed, the Ohio law is likely to stand, according to ClearView Energy Partners, a research group: “Only the state legislature can terminate the programme at this point, and we do not think the arrests could be enough to galvanise lawmakers to reverse course .  https://www.ft.com/content/451324c6-9f9d-48a1-b2d9-76d731e99db6

July 23, 2020 - Posted by | General News

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