They’re on every street corner, at the top of every hill. They jump out of nowhere outside of dining halls and dorms, and they’re outside the bars on the weekend — calling for signatures to help make them a buck.
They might be annoying, but those petitioners are helping get legislation on the ballot that would affect every single Ohioan. They’re petitioners who are campaigning to get the Ohio House Bill 6 referendum on the ballot.
House Bill 6 subsidizes four energy production plants — two nuclear plants and two coal plants — in and around Ohio. Without House Bill 6, which passed earlier this year, those four plants would have been closed by its bankrupt owners, Akron-based FirstEnergy Solutions.
Once those petitions have enough signatures, it will allow voters to delay the implementation of House Bill 6 and potentially strike down the legislation altogether.
Although the bill has saved jobs, it pushes Ohio deeper into the energy crisis. Ohio, and every other state, is at a breaking point where legislators need to decide whether they want to update infrastructure and invest in new forms of energy or continue using the nonrenewable resources that damage the environment.
Signing that petition will allow voters to decide for themselves whether they believe those plants should be subsidized by taxpayers. The petitions, created by Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts, can help push the discussion about divesting from nonrenewable energy.
Nuclear and coal plants closing should be seen as a societal shift. Where those plants close, new opportunities for investment should arise, which, in turn, will employ Ohio’s energy workers. Investing in future opportunities helps energy workers by employing and training them for healthier, long-term jobs.
Subsidizing those plants is keeping Ohio in the past, and voters should want to invest in new technologies.
Despite their tactics, the petitioners should be welcome. Ohioans have a right to decide whether part of their energy bills should go to a bankrupt company. Signing those petitions and voting no if it ends up on the ballot will show legislators that Ohio is done with coal and nonrenewable energy resources.
Shelby Campbell is a junior studying strategic communication at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk more about it? Let Shelby know by tweeting her @bloodbuzzohioan.