Prove your humanity

Pennsylvania Rep. Thomas Mehaffie (R-Dauphin) on Monday introduced a bill aimed at keeping two of the state’s five nuclear plants from retiring early.

The bill recognizes the plants as “zero emission” sources and creates new requirements about how electric companies are to purchase power. The measure faces strong opposition from the natural gas industry, as well as industrial and consumer groups, including the AARP.

The bill comes amid more than two years of intense lobbying on the issue in Harrisburg. Exelon is planning to shutter its Three Mile Island plant near Harrisburg this fall. FirstEnergy intends to retire its Beaver Valley plant ahead of schedule in 2021. The early closures are part of a broader trend across the U.S. as the industry has struggled amid slowing demand for electricity and competition from cheaper natural gas and renewables.

Mehaffie had said he and Sen. Ryan Aument (R-Lancaster) would introduce companion bills at the same time, but only the House bill was put forward Monday morning.

Check StateImpact Pennsylvania for more reporting on the bill later today.

Here is the bill language:

Pa. House version of nuclear bailout bill (Text)

Lawmakers seek support for nuclear bailout bill

As Nuclear Power Loses Ground, Environmentalists are Torn: Save Nuclear for Climate’s Sake?

This story is produced in partnership with StateImpact Pennsylvania, a collaboration among The Allegheny Front, WPSU, WITF and WHYY to cover the commonwealth's energy economy.