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Thursday
May202010

Renewables Held Hostage to Nuclear Loan Guarantee Expansion

Further twisting the meaning of “clean energy” as the Kerry-Lieberman "climate" bill undermines environmental protections and promotes dirty energy industries at taxpayer risk and expense,  the Obama administration and Democratic House leaders have reportedly agreed to attach $90 million to a pending war spending bill in order to expand the nuclear power loan guarantee fund by $9 billion. This would accelerate the construction of three new atomic power plants in Maryland (Calvert Cliffs 3), South Carolina (two reactors at Summer), and Texas (South Texas Project Units 3 and 4). The nuclear power industry has long tried to hitch a ride on renewable energy and energy efficiency's popularity, such as last year when it joined with renewables associations to urge the expansion of energy loan guarantees at taxpayer expense, or last week when it stood with the American Wind Energy Association at the National Press Club. Constellation Energy is even underwriting nuclear power, wind power, and energy efficiency in the same breath on National Public Radio ads, as if these aren't mutually exclusive; its ad campaigns blur its nuclear goals with a renewables smokescreen. But nuclear power cannot solve the climate crisis or even its own serious problems, while renewables and efficiency can. In fact, "negawatts" and "micro power" are whipping nuclear power in the free market, and have been for years and even decades, a hopeful trend that is speeding up over time. But taxpayer support for nuclear power, as proposed by Senators Kerry and Lieberman, undermines those very free market forces, squelching the competitive promise of renewables/efficiency, much to the atomic industry's delight. To paraphrase long-time congressional atomic watchdog Ed Markey, Orwell's spinning so fast in his grave he should be connected to the electric grid! As shown by this latest deal, nuclear power stands to gain $9 billion of financing at taxpayer risk, "in exchange," politically, for solar to get only $1 billion.* Such Faustian bargains will continue to garner the atomic industry the lion's share, while renewables and efficiency are left with the crumbs. This would repeat the past half-century of failed energy policy in this country. Contact the White House at (202) 456-1111, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at (202) 225-0100. Urge President Obama and Speaker Pelosi to support the real solutions to the climate crisis -- renewables and efficiency -- but not at the taxpayer expense of further subsidizing dirty, dangerous, and expensive nuclear power.

*Correction: Renewables are also getting $9 billion (Sec. 1703, not 1705 -- the article cited above was inaccurate). However, this is not as good as it looks: DOE already has more loan guarantee authority than demand from the renewables industries, which are not willing to pay the associated subsidy fees required for receiving loan guarantees in the first place.

Monday
May172010

Arjun Makhijani to keynote Chicago grassroots gathering on radioactive waste, June 4-6

Register now for the important strategy summit and educational forum on radioactive waste policy to be held at Loyola University's lakeshore campus. Saturday, June 5th's educational forum will feature plenary sessions and eight break out sessions on various aspects of the radioactive waste crisis, and what can be done about it. Dr. Arjun Makhijani of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research -- who coined the term "Hardened On-Site Storage" in 2002 -- will deliver the keynote address on Saturday evening. Help us promote this event by emailing your friends (use our promo email text), and printing and posting our flyer.

Thursday
May132010

The need to speak truth to wind power?!

In a betrayal of green energy advocates across the U.S., the American Wind Energy Association joined with the Nuclear Energy Institute for a joint press conference at the National Press Club on May 12th. AWEA CEO Denise Bode joined with the NEI front group CASEnergy’s co-leaders Patrick Moore and Christie Todd-Whitman (the subjects of excellent exposes by Source Watch). The press conference, ironically, was held at the very same time that the Kerry-Lieberman “American Power Act” was unveiled on Capitol Hill, prioritizing nuclear power -- while giving wind power short shrift -- as a "climate solution." To most people, wind and nuclear would seem quite the odd partnership. In fact, a reporter asked Bode: aren't the wind and nuclear power industries competitors? Bode's response evaded the merit of the question, refusing to acknowledge that if atomic energy expands, wind power will be crowded out. Incredibly, Bode -- the main spokesperson for the wind industry in the U.S. -- referred to wind power as "intermittent," despite the clearly proven capability of such storage mechanisms as compressed air to solve the intermittency challenge. She even joked about how little market penetration wind has in the U.S. electricity sector, while refusing to acknowledge that the nuclear power industry's lobbying prowess helps keep that so.  But a quick scan of the AWEA corporate membership list -- as well as some of the leadership on its board of directors, including its President-Elect from atomic reactor vendor General Electric -- begins to explain why and how the nuclear power industry wields such undue influence on AWEA. To paraphrase Congressman Markey, Orwell is turning so fast in his grave, he should be hooked up as a turbo-generator to the electric grid! What can be done? How about contacting AWEA to inform its CEO that nuclear power is not  clean and safe, nor is it secure, affordable, reliable, independent from foreign suppliers, or deployable in time to make any difference toward the climate crisis. Phone AWEA at (202) 383-2500, email AWEA's Executive Assistant to the CEO, Ellen Carey, at ecarey@awea.org, and email AWEA's Chief Operating Officer, Britt Theismann, at btheismann@awea.org.

Wednesday
May122010

Kerry-Lieberman "climate" bill represents massive taxpayer giveaway to dirty, dangerous and expensive energy industries

Used with artist's permission. See http://davies.lohudblogs.com/The Kerry-Lieberman "American Power Act" released today would massively subsidize the expansion of the atomic energy industry, at taxpayer financial risk and direct expense. It would similarly benefit the offshore oil drilling industry, despite the catastrophe unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as the coal industry, despite the recent deadly mine explosion in West Virginia. As pointed out by the Energy Collective, the bill clearly prioritizes nuclear energy's expansion, while renewables and efficiency seem to be a mere afterthought. As reported by Democracy Now!, numerous environmental groups expressed immediate opposition. Beyond Nuclear objected, as did other groups such as NIRS (on behalf of a coalition of 200 organizations), Friends of the Earth, Taxpayers for Common Sense, and Greenpeace. Public Citizen spoke out against the bill, providing a section by section analysis. The Center for Biological Diversity called the bill "a disaster for our climate and planet," decrying the subsidies for "dangerous and costly nuclear energy." You know something is seriously wrong when the Nuclear Energy Institute "applauds" the Kerry-Lieberman bill, while licking its chops in hopes of gobbling up a large part of the $1.5 trillion investment NEI says is needed "over the next 20 years to meet rising electricity demand and upgrade our electric grid," much of which could well come in the form of fedearl subsidies, risky loan guarantees, tax incentives, short cuts on safety, and other taxpayer giveaways. Call your U.S. Senators right away via the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and urge them to oppose this dirty, dangerous and expensive energy industry subsidy bill, and to support real climate protection legislation in its place.

Tuesday
May112010

Kerry-Lieberman "climate bill" still supports offshore oil drilling and atomic energy

Used with permission of politicalcartoons.comThe Kerry-Lieberman Senate "climate" bill (Graham has sort of-kind of withdrawn his support for now), to be unveiled on May 12th, incredibly still supports an expansion of offshore oil drilling, despite the still-unfolding BP oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. It also supports unlimited  loan guarantees for the buildling of new atomic reactors and uranium enrichment facilities, as well as additional givewaways to the nuclear power industry. One thing the bill does not do, despite its name and supposed intent, is adequately protect the climate. Phone your Senators via the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and urge them to oppose taxpayer-backed subsidies, tax incentives, financial risks, and other giveaways to the already filthy rich dirty energy industries under the guise of a "climate" bill. Then, phone the White House comment line at (202) 456-1111: urge that President Obama support truly clean, safe, and affordable energy efficiency and renewable sources like wind and solar, rather than dirty, dangerous and expensive fossil fuels and nuclear power.