Regional chamber voices opposition to nuclear emissions program


YOUNGSTOWN

Bill Siderewicz, the man behind the two billion-dollar Lordstown natural gas power plants, was happy to hear the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber spoke its mind about the Zero Emissions Nuclear Resource program.

The chamber’s board of directors said Wednesday they oppose the program, which would increase electricity rates to subsidize two FirstEnergy nuclear power plants in the state.

“We are in favor of a free market, competitive system in all industries,” said Tom Humphries, chamber president. “Natural-gas fired power plants being built across Ohio, including in Lordstown, are thriving because of a competitive marketplace.”

The ZEN program is proposed in Ohio House Bill 178 and Ohio Senate Bill 128.

The House has suspended further proceedings on the bill, and the Senate’s Public Utilities Committee is currently listening to program proponents and opponents.

“If this legislation passes, you send a loud siren into the financial world that says: Ohio is moving away from free-market system, don’t invest here,” Siderewicz said.

Siderewicz, president of Clean Energy Future LLC, has been in Columbus for weeks to contest the program. He has a power plant under construction in Lordstown and another one planned in the village and Oregon, Ohio.

“If they changed the laws, that would basically undermine the free-market system and we will pull the plug [on the projects],” Siderewicz said.

In response to the chamber’s opposition, FirstEnergy Spokeswoman Jennifer Young said the company has seen a “broad base” of support for the ZEN program from local and state officials, organizations and businesses.

Read more about the matter in Thursday's Vindicator or on Vindy.com.

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