Did Democratic Leaders Try to Buy a House Seat With a $25 Billion Nuclear Bailout?

For Immediate Release

Friends of the Earth Action
Contact: 

Ben Schreiber, Friends of the Earth Action, bschreiber@foe.org, 202-222-0752
Scott Baumgartner, Friends of the Earth Action, sbaumgartner@foe.org, 202-222-0751

Did Democratic Leaders Try to Buy a House Seat With a $25 Billion Nuclear Bailout?

WASHINGTON - Today, the House
Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee included a $25
billion preemptive bailout of the nuclear industry, in the form of loan
guarantees for new reactors, in the Energy and Water Appropriations
bill.

Members
of the subcommittee delayed markup of the appropriations bill until the
bailout
was included in the legislation, with Democratic Congressman Chet
Edwards being
particularly vocal.

Since
May, Congressman Edwards has been using nuclear
bailouts

as an election issue against his opponent in Texas's 17th
District, attacking him for suggesting that federal money should not be
used to
construct nuclear reactors. Edwards wants a preemptive bailout for an expansion of the
Comanche Peak

reactor in his district. 

With
Edwards in a tightly contested
race
,
it appears that House leadership has caved to his demands and Edwards is
declaring a victory

"It
is interesting that a $25 billion preemptive bailout for the nuclear
industry appeared
in the Energy and Water Appropriations bill shortly after it became a
campaign
issue for Congressman Chet Edwards," said Ben Schreiber of Friends of
the
Earth Action. "It's enough to ask whether the House leadership is
risking $25 billion of taxpayer money so one House seat stays in the
Democratic
column. Politics should never trump public safety or wise stewardship of
taxpayer dollars, but it's not clear that's the case with this $25
billion of potential radioactive pork."

The
inclusion of a $25 billion nuclear bailout in the House Energy and Water
Appropriations bill is not the first time that the Department of Energy
Loan
Guarantee program may have been used to reward House Democrats. Last
month, a
$9 billion preemptive nuclear bailout was included in the House
Supplemental
Appropriations bill for projects in Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Whip
James
Clyburn's districts, while money to
prevent teacher layoffs was stripped from the bill. 

"Are
House Democrats treating the Department of Energy loan guarantee program
like a
campaign credit card?" asked Friends of the Earth Action's
Schreiber. "What we know for sure is that they have let important
priorities like energy efficiency and teachers die on the vine, while
putting
taxpayers on the hook for billions of dollars if the nuclear industry
defaults
on its loans. This nuclear bailout will also endanger public safety due
to the
vulnerable nuclear waste storage processes, inadequate nuclear security
and
continued reactor design flaws it will promote."

Schreiber
also noted that the news of this latest $25 billion nuclear bailout came
shortly after the Government Accountability Office released a report on
July
12, 2010, slamming the Loan Guarantee program for being inadequately
planned
and executed.  The Government Accountability Office report can be found here.

###

Friends of the Earth Action (www.foeaction.org) provides extra muscle to our sister organization, Friends of the Earth, in legislative battles affecting our environment. FoE Action and our affiliated PAC also serve as Friends of the Earth's political arm, making thoughtful political endorsements, providing direct support to candidates, and placing environmentalists in the field on critical campaigns. Friends of the Earth Action's mission is to promote a clean, healthy and just world and to ensure that we have lawmakers who will work to protect the environment.

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