“On Tuesday, the news broke that the FBI had arrested Ohio Speaker of the House of Representatives Larry Householder, the architect of HB 6, a law that passed in July 2019. That bill, widely recognized as the worst energy policy in the country, gutted Ohio’s renewables and energy efficiency laws while bailing out several coal and nuclear plants.
As I wrote in my book, Short Circuiting Policy, the law was a multibillion-dollar gift to FirstEnergy, a private electric utility that has resisted climate policy for decades. It turns out it was a gift paid for with $61 million in bribes.
Spending a few million to get more than a billion dollars? Not a bad return on investment.
Unfortunately, this kind of corruption is not an aberration for the electric utility industry. Across the country, most private utilities are resisting the clean energy transition, and many are buying off politicians with campaign contributions to do it. What’s more, the industry celebrates it — the Edison Electric Institute, the national private utility association, gave FirstEnergy an award for its work to pass HB 6.
Corruption like this within the electric utility industry is a barrier to solving the climate crisis. But the way forward is clear: Citizens must demand that politicians stop taking money from these fossil fuel companies and start holding them accountable.”
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Stokes, Leah. Vox 23 July 2020.