The Akron Beacon Journal

FirstEnergy Solutions took a big step toward emerging from bankruptcy last week. The Akron-based power generating company announced the completion of a "restructuring support agreement" with creditors. Gain approval from the federal bankruptcy court, and the company likely will be in position to exit the protection in the fall. To do what, exactly? FES won’t be operating its two nuclear power plants in Ohio without help from the Statehouse.

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By now, the story is familiar. Nuclear power faces a competitive disadvantage with cheap and abundant natural gas. As a result, FES wants lawmakers to approve a program of zero emission credits, a revenue stream drawn from customers that would put the company in a stronger financial position. Illinois, New Jersey and New York already have set up similar arrangements. The concept isn’t so much a bailout as it is a policy decision reflecting the value of a steady source of clean energy.

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Whatever the flaws in nuclear power, and they are real, though often exaggerated, it has a crucial role to play in combating accelerating climate change. There is something far more threatening. Which is why Gov. Mike DeWine and state lawmakers have good reason to see that FirstEnergy Solutions emerges from bankruptcy with its nuclear power plants in position keep providing electricity to homes and businesses.

Online: https://bit.ly/2RmPFwW

The Columbus Dispatch

If a recent Dispatch article about glitches in the state’s new system for distributing food stamps seemed depressingly familiar, it’s because it is one more in a long, long line of massive government computer systems that don’t work smoothly.

That’s not to say Ohio Benefits, the system that has been handling Medicaid cases for several years, won’t eventually achieve its goal of incorporating Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (food stamp) benefits as well, allowing for a streamlined, modernized way for Ohioans to apply for and receive aid.

We hope it will. But the all-too-familiar problems and the frustration and waste they cause prompt us to wonder why so many ambitious and expensive government systems fail so often, sometimes spectacularly.

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Enterprises as large as the state and federal governments have little choice but to invest in ever-larger computer systems to manage vast volumes of data and transactions. We just wish they could do it more competently and less wastefully. And, especially when serving poor and vulnerable people, systems should be as simple as possible and still provide humans to help.

Online: https://bit.ly/2TiEVkN

 

The Plain Dealer

The good news is that a broad public-private coalition that includes foundations, nonprofits and health care providers is now on board with City Hall in pledging an all-out push to end the poisoning of Cleveland children who live in lead-paint-laden homes.

The Plain Dealer, in its 2015 Toxic Neglect series and in subsequent reporting, has found that about 97 percent of Cleveland homes were built before lead paint was banned in 1978. And many of those homes are deteriorating in a city where high poverty gives families seeking affordable housing few options.

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The bad news is that the new coalition hasn’t yet finalized what those measures will be.

Despite their laudably strong statements of an intention to act with urgency, the 19-member coalition and its community partners still lack a timeline, overall plan of action with clear metrics and cost estimates, and identified sources of funding.

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The lack of specifics on how the lead-safe promises will be achieved in Cleveland — and when — needs to be addressed and fixed quickly.

Online: https://bit.ly/2DF2LC6