Ohioans for Energy Security, a group promoting Ohio’s $1 billion nuclear energy bailout, has begun circulating petitions that request the General Assembly support legislation that prevents foreign entities from having too much control over the state’s electric grid.
The petition is informal and serves only to demonstrate grassroots support for the position. The launch of the petition is in response to a more formal petition from Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts, which seeks to get a referendum on the November 2020 ballot that would reverse the bailout.
Although the bailout was opposed by several groups on different sides of the political spectrum, Ohioans for Energy Security has focused their campaign on claiming that it is primarily Chinese interests that are trying to prevent the bailout so that the Chinese government can control the electric grid in Ohio, as opposed to American-owned companies. This argument is based on a Chinese-government-owned bank partially financing some of the energy companies opposed to the bailout.
Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts has described this approach as a scare tactic.
The petition from Ohioans for Energy Security specifically requests that the General Assembly endorse the following language: “No franchise, permit, license, or right to own, operate, manage, or control any electric generation, supply, or distribution company shall be granted or transferred to any entity a majority of whose ownership or control is held by any foreign national, non-United States corporation or entity, or foreign government.”
Ohioans for Energy Security has filed a lawsuit against Ohioans Against Corporate bailouts, claiming that their proposed amendment is unconstitutional. The Ohio Constitution prohibits ballot initiatives on legislation that levies a tax, and the legal debate will be over whether the additional fees used to pay for the bailout can constitute a tax.