Those of you following the news or even just reading your mail have likely heard of the nuclear bailout petitions that are going around. If you haven’t, read this editorial by the Columbus Dispatch: Campaign built on deceit undermines democracy in Ohio. Then, read AHEAD leadership team member and petition gatherer Kerry Bush’s account of the issue, as posted to the AHEAD Facebook group:
“The petitions that I and others, funded by the Environmental Defense Fund and the Sierra Club, are distributing are merely to get this nuclear bailout (which DeWine shoved through quietly) on the ballot so the voters can decide whether or not we want to pay $1.5 billion over the course of 7 years to bail out nuclear power plants (one of which is in Indiana, not Ohio) who essentially fumbled their money and want the taxpayers to cover for them. This would appear as a surcharge on your electricity bill, adding up to possibly $1.50 a month (or more, depending on your electrical usage).
There is a LOT of misinformation out there, because of course, these power plants really want that bailout. We’ve run into fake petitioners from out of state who are being paid $10 a signature (we get $1-$2/signature + $10/hour) and deliberately petitioning in places where we already are to deter people from signing the real documents. I heard from my supervisor that they’re being offered between $1k and $10k for our petitions if they steal them (a 5th-degree felony). These nuclear power plants are spending $25 million JUST to keep this off the ballot. The EDF and the Sierra Club don’t have that kind of money, so we’re fighting an uphill battle, but I’m confident we can win.
I’m gathering signatures in Dayton primarily, but my supervisors have told me that if I can get 20 or more signatures in an event elsewhere, they’ll allow me to come up there. (At this time, only paid petitioners are allowed to gather signatures.) So if anyone has any ideas for an event that I could come to before the deadline on October 20, by all means let me know by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
If you’re interested in reading more about this contentious issue, here are some additional articles that may be of interest:
Nuclear Bailout Group Urging People To Remove Signature From Referendum
Analysis: Ohio’s Great Chinese Power Conspiracy Theory
Pro-nuclear bailout group is now circulating its own, unofficial petitions
Supporters of FirstEnergy Solutions launch a racist, anti-democracy “yellow peril” campaign