News and Analysis
Following the March 9 conviction of former Speaker Larry Householder, a Franklin County judge has lifted the stay of the state’s civil lawsuit against FirstEnergy and a number of other parties tied to House Bill 6 activity.
Late last week, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost called for the stay to be lifted. In his press release, Yost expressed confidence the state could claw back the “ill-gotten gains” of former PUCO Chair Sam Randazzo.
There are other ongoing investigations tied to HB 6, including four PUCO investigations, as reported by The Plain Dealer. The Ohio Press Network has also published this story on what’s next in HB 6-related developments. 3/13/2023
On Capitol Hill, U.S. House Republicans have introduced their top-priority legislation: a major energy package to boost U.S. energy security and reform the permitting process, according to reports. The National Association of Manufacturers says its time to modernize “burdensome permitting processes.” 3/15/2023
The trial of former Speaker Larry Householder not only spotlighted the scheme used to pass House Bill 6, it also highlighted the costs that HB 6 aimed to impose on consumers, including a “decoupling” charge to protect FirstEnergy. The Ohio Capital Journal reports the details.
Immediately following HB 6’s introduction in 2019, the OMA announced its opposition to the bill and frequently highlighted the reasons why HB 6 would be detrimental to manufacturers and the state’s competitiveness. 3/6/2023
Providing more evidence that free markets work, OMA Connections Partner Vistra has announced it will acquire Akron-based Energy Harbor — the former FirstEnergy subsidiary and owner of Ohio’s two nuclear power plants. Vistra also announced it will add about 4,000 megawatts of zero-carbon capacity through the deal.
This development comes two years after the repeal of House Bill 6’s ratepayer-funded subsidy scheme for the nuclear plants — supporting the arguments of HB 6 critics who said the subsidies were unnecessary. 3/6/2023
U.S. power consumption is predicted to decline this year from its record-high in 2022 amid slower economic growth and milder weather, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s . U.S. dependence on natural gas for power reliance is expected to remain unchanged, with the supply still making up 39% of the total energy mix in 2023. 3/9/2023
An unsettling report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows that in 2022, the least interstate natural gas pipeline capacity was added since data collection started in 1995. According to the EIA, interstate capacity additions were low in 2022 for two primary reasons: more growth in intrastate capacity, and less overall capital expenditures by oil and natural gas companies. 3/6/2023
OMA staff attended this week’s groundbreaking in Fayette County, the location of OMA member Honda Motor Co. and LG Energy Solution’s electric vehicle battery manufacturing facility. The site is roughly the size of 80 football fields.
This week, the federal government rested its case at the trial of former Speaker Larry Householder, after presenting jurors with documents, emails, texts, wire-tap audio, and witness accounts of what prosecutors allege was a $60 million bribery scheme to pass the scandal-ridden House Bill 6. Householder himself took the stand March 1. A decision from the jury is expected soon.
Meanwhile, the Ohio Capital Journal has published this analysis of the possible role played by some PUCO staff members in the crafting of HB 6.
The OMA Government Affairs Committee meeting, set for Wednesday, March 8, will feature expert analysis of the trial and its potential impact on Ohio policymaking. Register here. 3/2/2023
As Michigan officials continue efforts to shut down the oil and natural gas pipeline known as Line 5, economists say its closure would mean moving more petroleum products by tanker truck and rail, which would negatively affect prices, emissions, and safety.
On Feb. 22, the OMA Energy Committee held its Q1 meeting, sponsored by OMA Connections Partners Carpenter Lipps LLP, Columbia Gas of Ohio, and DT Midstream. More than 90 members attended either in person or online. Highlights included:
- A visit with Rep. Dick Stein (R-Norwalk), chair of the House Public Utilities Committee;
- The energy engineer report by RunnerStone LLC, which examined federal incentives to boost energy efficiency and use of renewable energy by manufacturers; and
- Presentations by Matt Cybulski of JobsOhio and Jeff Reed of American Honda Motor Co. on the potential to expand the use of hydrogen in manufacturing.
The Energy Committee is slated to meet again May 18. The OMA will hold its Ohio Manufacturers’ Energy Conference on Sept. 13 at the Quest Conference Center in Westerville. Registration details will be forthcoming. 2/22/2023