Radioactive Waste is Good for You, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Rick Perry as Energy Secretary
As Food & Water Watch wrote in an action alert (Worst. Cabinet. Ever. Trump Is Building a Cabinet Full of Corporate Control. Tell Your Senators: Block These Appointments!)
Rick Perry, former governor of Texas for Energy Secretary — until just days ago, sat on the board of Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). [See Beyond Nuclear website posts on the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's and the water protectors' resistance to DAPL.]
But Perry also has a blatant conflict of interest involving the Waste Control Specialists, LLC (WCS) radioactive waste dump in Andrews County, Texas.* WCS's owner, Dallas billionaire Harold Simmons, was a top campaign contributor to Rick Perry -- and numerous other Republican candidates and causes -- over the course of many years, even decades. In return, the administration of Texas Governor Rick Perry approved every permit, expansion, and license WCS applied for, despite the risks to people and environment. Now WCS has applied to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to construct and operate a de facto permanent parking lot dump for more than half of the commercial irradiated nuclear fuel (high-level radioactive waste) that currently exists from all across the country. Its sole customer would be the U.S. Department of Energy, which Trump has tapped Perry to lead. Taxpayers would pay all the costs, and be burdened with all the liabilities, while WCS -- reported 11 months ago to still be owned and controlled by Harold Simmons' family (he died in late 2013) -- would make billions of dollars.
Beyond Nuclear has prepared a backgrounder about Perry's blatant conflict of interest with Waste Control Specialists, entitled Radioactive Waste is Good for You, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Rick Perry as Energy Secretary.
In addition to the Food & Water Watch webform email to your U.S. Senators linked above, you can also phone your U.S. Senators via the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Urge them to block former Texas governor Rick Perry's nomination as Energy Secretary. (You can also look up your U.S. Senators' direct phone numbers, fax numbers, webforms to send emails, etc. at this website.)
If you U.S. Senator happens to serve as a member of the Energy and Natural Resources (ENR) Committee, your contacting them is especially critical right now. Rick Perry's nomination could be blocked in the ENR committee, before it ever reaches the full Senate floor. Please take action ASAP!
The schedule for the ENR Committee confirmation hearing for Rick Perry has just been announced: the hearing will take place at 10am Eastern on Thursday, Jan. 19th.
[See also: U.S. Sen. Ed Markey's (D-MA) statement re: President-elect Trump's nomination of former Texas governor Rick Perry as Energy Secretary; Rick Perry, as Energy Secretary, May Be Press to Resume Nuclear Tests; and an article by Jeffrey Lewis, founding publisher of ArmsControlWonk.com, in Foreign Policy entitled "Not Even Rick Perry Is Stupid Enough to Resume Testing Nuclear Weapons."]
*WCS is the lead "private initiative" for so-called centralized interim storage (de facto permanent parking lot dump) for commercial irradiated nuclear fuel in the U.S., followed by the Eddy-Lea [Counties] Energy Alliance in Hobbs, New Mexico (less than 50 miles from WCS). However, AFCI in Loving County, TX, and Culberson County, TX, are also in the running. Both WCS and AFCI have close connections to Trump's pick for Energy Secretary, former TX governor Rick Perry, representing a blatant conflict of interest and ethical violation.
As reported by the Austin American-Statesman: "Austin attorney Bill Jones, Perry’s former general counsel before Perry appointed him to the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents and then the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, has been involved in a years-long effort to land an interim storage facility in Texas."
For more information, see these two Austin American-Statesman articles for more information on the AFCI proposal(s): "Will Rick Perry brings high-level radioactive waste to Texas?", January 8, 2017; "Two Austin attorneys seeking radioactive waste deal," August 9, 2014.
Also, see how to join the Trump Resistance Rapid Response Team, beginning on Jan. 9th with resistance to Cabinet nominees like Rick Perry.
MoveOn has sent out the following petition:
Dear MoveOn member,
I'm Jacob Swenson-Lengyel, with People's Action, and I started a petition to the United States Senate, which says:
Do not hold hearings for Donald Trump's nominees until the ethics review process has been completed.
Starting tomorrow with Jeff Sessions, the Senate is trying to hurry through congressional hearings for 10 of Donald Trump's controversial Cabinet nominations—before the nominees have gone through the standard ethics review process.1
The director of the nonpartisan Office of Government Ethics said that this rushed schedule is "of great concern," and that this may leave some of Trump's selections with “potentially unknown or unresolved ethics issues."2
We can't sit back and let the Senate confirm millionaires, billionaires, and politicians influenced heavily by corporate lobbyists without insisting that they undergo standard background and ethics checks.
1. "Cabinet confirmation hearings: What to expect this week," CBS News, January 9, 2017
2. "Ethics office: Trump nominees' hearings schedule 'of great concern,'" Politico, January 7, 2017
You're receiving this petition because we thought it might interest you. It was created on MoveOn.org, where anyone can start their own online petitions. You can start your own petition here.
Huffington Post published an article, "8 Reasons to Worry about Rick Perry Running the Department of Energy." One of them concerns the Waste Control Specialists radioactive waste dump, including its expansion to store high-level radioactive waste from across the country. An article in the Austin American-Statesman, "Will Rick Perry bring high-leve nuclear waste to Texas?" is cited.
See this reference provided by Food & Water Watch:
Corporate States of America: Industry Ties to Trump's Cabinet Nominations, Food & Water Watch, January 6, 2017.
Another way to oppose Rick Perry's confirmation as Energy Secretary is by signing Food & Water Watch's petition.