Nuclear Bailout Debate Heats Up in Senate

State senators this week heard testimony from the sponsors of House Bill 6, the nuclear power plant bailout legislation. Reps. Jamie Callender (R-Concord) and Shane Wilkin (R-Hillsboro) told members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee that HB 6 would result in cleaner air and reduced power costs. Both senators were peppered with questions from concerned lawmakers who correctly exposed that the bill would do nothing to address air pollutants and would actually increase customer costs.

Senators on the panel were equally skeptical of proponent witnesses who came forward in support of handouts for nuclear power and certain coal-fired plants. An OMA analysis shows that the owners (hedge funds) of the nuclear power plants stand to earn a minimum profit of $176 million per year as a result of the subsidy. Interestingly, the beneficiaries did not come forward to offer testimony, instead relying on allies and suppliers to make their plea.

Also this week, Generation Now — a dark money group — has continued its advertising blitz in support of the bailout bill in hopes of swaying senators. It is expected that the Senate could vote on HB 6 in the coming days. The OMA remains a strong opponent of the bill, but senators need to hear directly from manufacturers who will be exposed to new costs. Call your state senator and tell him/her that your business and household cannot afford HB 6. (Here is more information on the bill.) 6/13/2019