Ricky Junquera, 617.599.7048, email@example.com
AKRON, OH - FirstEnergy Solutions (FES) -- together with its subsidiaries FirstEnergy Generation and FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company -- announced its bankruptcy today after years of short-sighted business decisions and executive mismanagement that resisted investing in clean, renewable energy or its workers. The company now has a serious obligation to protect its workers and their benefits from the bankruptcy process, as well as meet its environmental responsibilities -- particularly if its power plants are retired or sold.
In response, Neil Waggoner, Ohio Campaign Representative of Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, released the following statement:
“Today's announcement comes as no surprise to anyone that has been following FirstEnergy Solutions' years of bad business decisions. At a time where the market, and public opinion, consistently pointed towards investing in new clean energy alternatives, FES instead spent billions on old, dirty, antiquated plants. FES’s decision to spend on coal destroyed its business and is a cautionary tale for companies and regulators considering delaying the inevitable transition from coal.
“FirstEnergy Solutions workers and local communities are impacted the most by Saturday’s filing, being left with polluted grounds and a significant loss to tax revenue and school funding. FirstEnergy’s bad business decisions put the company into bankruptcy but the company cannot be allowed to walk away from its obligations. FirstEnergy has a responsibility to collaborate with local leaders to build a plan that supports workers and the communities where it's operated for generations.”
In 2010, FES made a long-term bet on coal by spending $2 billion to continue to operate the Sammis coal-burning plant in Jefferson County, instead of looking to diversify its portfolio. Soon after, the market for coal power collapsed in the face of competition from cheaper, cleaner alternatives.
About the Sierra Club
The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3 million members and supporters. In addition to helping people from all backgrounds explore nature and our outdoor heritage, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.