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NIRS: bankrupt FirstEnergy should not be bailed out by ratepayers

Published by , Assistant Editor
World Coal,

The Executive Director of the Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS) has reported that America needs to make sure that taxpayers and millions of ratepayers in 12 states do no get "stuck with the cheque" in the form of a multi-billion-dollar bailout tab for the bankrupt utility's nuclear and coal plants. This comes after reports that top FirstEnergy D.C. lobbyist Jeff Miller hosted a dinner for President Donald J. Trump.

According to the NIRS, FirstEnergy is in the midst of a frantic campaign to get an emergency federal bailout for three nuclear plants and two coal plants in Ohio and Pennsylvania. 

After having been rebuffed by state lawmakers in both states, FirstEnergy then failed to persuade the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to take action. It's next step was to announce upcoming closure dates for all five power plants. This week, the parent company of FirstEnergy filed for bankruptcy, and the company turned up the heat on an appeal to US Energy Secretary Rick Perry for emergency action that would sidestep FERC.  

As part of the new lobbying push, FirstEnergy's chief D.C. lobbyist Jeff Miller hosted a dinner on the evening of Wednesday 4 April for President Donald J. Trump. Miller is tightly wired into the Trump Administration, having served previously as presidential campaign manager for Rick Perry and now as an organiser of America First Action, a pro-Trump super PAC.

NIRS Executive Director, Tim Judson commented: "We are hoping that this dinner is not going to be a situation where US taxpayers and ratepayers end up picking up the tab for a US$3 billion or more bailout of FirstEnergy. It is hard to imagine more of a 'Washington swamp' situation than this. We have a special-interest appeal by FirstEnergy. We have a top lobbyist meeting with the President at a small dinner. That same lobbyist is raising money for a pro-Trump Super PAC and asking for 'emergency action' from someone who had a Presidential campaign that he ran! It's difficult to see how taxpayers and ratepayers have a chance in this kind of a situation."

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