With a Meeting, Trump Renewed a British Wind Farm Fight

As reported by the New York Times, President-Elect Donald J. Trump is engaging in personal business matters that violate ethical standards as incipient "Leader of the Free World," the highest office in the U.S. And Exhibit A is Trump's advocacy, during a meeting with U.K. Brexit leaders, against an off-shore wind turbine farm on the Scottish coast that Trump holds would mar the view at the golf course he owns.

But aside from the ethical violations of a president-elect leveraging his office to advance his own business interests -- at the expense of the public good -- there is that question of wind turbines marring the view. Dr. Arjun Makhijani, President of Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER), addressed this very issue during a late October 2008 (on the eve of Barack Obama's election) Carbon-Free, Nuclear-Free: A Roadmap for U.S. Energy Policy book tour in Michigan. As began a Beyond Nuclear op-ed published in the Muskegon Chronicle at the time:

One of the objections raised against wind turbines is the impact they have on the view. But Dr. Arjun Makhijani of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, who spoke last month in Kalamazoo, put it well. He said we have four choices when it comes to our energy future. We can either: do without electricity; experience catastrophic climate change, if we continue to burn fossil fuels unabated; risk radioactive disasters and nuclear weapons proliferation if we expand nuclear power; or, deal with the view.



4 Arrested Protesting AIM Pipeline in New York State

As reported by Democracy Now!:

In New York state, four people were arrested Saturday protesting the construction of Spectra Energy’s AIM pipeline. The pipeline is slated to carry fracked gas only hundreds of feet from the aging Indian Point nuclear power plant and then under the Hudson River. The arrests came as more than 100 activists rallied at a construction site in Verplanck, New York. The pipeline has faced years of resistance from residents in New York state and Rhode Island. [Also see updates and alerts re: the resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline, at Beyond Nuclear's Human Rights website section.]


A monumental day: NYS Court of Appeals decision effectively stops NRC from re-licensing Indian Point

As posted at Riverkeeper's website:

Contact: Cliff Weathers, Director of Communications, (914) 478-4501 ext. 239,

Riverkeeper President Paul Gallay issued this statement regarding today’s NYS Court of Appeals ruling on Indian Point:

“This is a monumental day. This decision effectively stops the Nuclear Regulatory Commission from re-licensing Indian Point.

“The Coastal Zone Management Act gives the New York Secretary of State the authority to refuse certification of any project that significantly impacts river resources. In late 2015, the Secretary of State ruled that Indian Point was inconsistent with over a dozen policies designed to protect the Hudson River and its surrounding communities.

“The New York State Court of Appeals ruling reinstates the decision by the Secretary of State, which refused to provide coastal zone approval. Without that coastal zone approval, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission cannot relicense Indian Point. It is a complete stopper.

“Indian Point is not needed to provide energy to the New York Metropolitan Area. It is not safe to continue operating. And this ruling effectively bars federal relicensing of Indian Point. It’s time to close Indian Point and take advantage of the safe, sustainable energy future that awaits New York.”

Background: Citing numerous environmental and public safety concerns, the NYS Department of State filed an objection to Indian Point’s application for a Coastal Consistency Certification in late 2015. Riverkeeper was granted permission to intervene as amicus curiae and filed a brief supporting the DOS.

See news coverage.


Rumors swirl re: Trump's pick for Energy Secretary

The U.S. Department of Energy oversees U.S. nuclear weapons policies (under such divisions as National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), Environmental Management (EM), etc.), as well as nuclear power promotions at its Office of Nuclear Energy (ONE). As reported by Politico, President-elect Donald J. Trump's rumored pick for Energy Secretary could include:

Continental Resources CEO Harold Hamm has long been seen as a leading candidate for Energy Secretary. Hamm, an Oklahoma billionaire who has been a friend of Trump’s for years, has been the leading influence on Trump’s energy policy during the campaign. But Hamm has said he plans to stay at Continental.

If Hamm passes, Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), a Trump energy adviser, could be offered the job though he’s begun to douse cold water on that idea recently. Other names floating near the top of the mill include venture capitalist Robert Grady, who is also thought to be in line for Interior; James Connaughton, a former utility executive who was President George W. Bush's head of White House Council on Environmental Quality; and Kristine Svinicki, the sole Republican on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, is in the running for a high-level post at the Energy Department like undersecretary — a No. 3 job — but a source close to the Trump transition said she’d be considered for secretary as well. (emphasis added)

Hamm and Cramer are leading advocates in favor of the highly controversial Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL; see Beyond Nuclear's Human Rights website section for updates and action alerts re: the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's resistance to DAPL.) Democracy Now! has reported that Trump is personally invested to the tune of $500,000 to a million dollars in DAPL.

Not only did Connaughton lead George W. Bush administration efforts to oppose the Kyoto Protocol on the climate crisis from his perch at White House CEQ, but in 2009, he joined the Constellation Energy Group, an Exelon company, to manage environmental and energy policy, and government relations (a.k.a. lobbying). He served as Executive Vice President and Senior Policy Advisor at Exelon, the largest nuclear power utility in the U.S., from March 2012 to March 2013.

Svinicki has been an NRC Commissioner since March 2008, where she has consistently voted and acted as a rubber-stamp for the nuclear industry. Before that, she worked for many years as a high level Capitol Hill staffer for such members as Larry Craig (Republican U.S. Senator from Idaho), as well as a Department of Energy official, where she performed much the same function.


Trump Picks Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions for Attorney General

As reported by Democracy Now! during its news headlines:

Donald Trump has chosen Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions to be attorney general. Sessions is a former prosecutor who was elected to the Senate in 1996. As a senator, he’s consistently supported anti-immigration legislation. In 2010, he was a leading proponent of the efforts to repeal the 14th Amendment, which grants citizenship to everyone born in the United States. Jeff Sessions has also been a vocal opponent of the Voting Rights Act. In 1986, President Ronald Reagan nominated Sessions for a federal judgeship, but he was denied confirmation because of his history of racist comments, including reportedly saying he thought the Ku Klux Klan was "OK until I found out they smoked pot." He has also called the American Civil Liberties Union and the NAACP "un-American" and "Communist-inspired."

Sessions has also long been a pro-nuclear power advocate on Capitol Hill. As but one of countless examples, Sessions keynoted a U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Regulatory Information Conference (RIC) on March 11, 2008, delivering a pro-nuclear power pep talk, no doubt quite pleasing to the many hundreds or thousands of nuclear power industry representatives present in the audience. Ironically enough, his keynote speech was three years to the day before the ongoing Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe in Japan would begin to unfold.

Among many things, the Attorney General could very well be expected to be actively involved in, or even make the ultimate decision on, Department of Justice decisions regarding such nuclear power industry matters as approval of corporate mergers; whether or not to even investigate, let alone prosecute, major wrongoing; etc.