Watchdog Group Charges Buffett with Swindling Iowans over New Nuclear Reactor

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Kelly Trout, 202-222-0722, ktrout@foe.org
Matthew Cain, 202-222-0751, mcain@foe.org

Watchdog Group Charges Buffett with Swindling Iowans over New Nuclear Reactor

OMAHA, Neb. - As shareholders began arriving for Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting, Friends of the Earth placed an advertisement in the Omaha World-Herald challenging Warren Buffett to halt an attempt by one of his companies to force Iowa ratepayers to invest in a new nuclear reactor.

Following the nuclear disaster in Japan, Mr. Buffett asserted to CNBC that nuclear facility construction in the U.S. will be “dead for a long, long time.”

Yet in Iowa, a Berkshire Hathaway-controlled company, MidAmerican Energy, is pushing the legislature to pass a bill that would allow the company to raise the public’s electric rates upfront in order to pay for a new nuclear reactor—and to reap the benefits of the higher rates even if, as Buffett himself suggested, a new reactor is never constructed.

“Mr. Buffett is known for prudent and thoughtful investing. It’s no surprise that he is unwilling to invest his, or his backers’, money in nuclear reactors,” said Erich Pica, president of Friends of the Earth.

“It would be unconscionable for Mr. Buffett’s company to swindle Iowans into investing in a project that he himself has apparently written off. Unless MidAmerican changes course in Iowa, Mr. Buffett could go from being the Oracle of Omaha to the Swindler of Cedar Rapids,” added Pica.

Recent polling shows that 75 percent of Iowans oppose the legislation pushed by MidAmerican. The Iowa House passed the bill yesterday and the bill is expected to come up for a vote in the Senate this week.

A PDF of the ad can be seen at: http://www.foe.org/sites/default/files/Buffett-MidAmerican-nuclear-ad.pdf

More information about the Iowa poll results is available at: http://www.foe.org/new-poll-shows-iowans-oppose-paying-new-nuclear-reactor

Warren Buffett’s assertion that nuclear will be “dead for a long, long time” is available at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-03-21/buffett-says-nuclear-facility-won-t-be-built-in-u-s-for-awhile.html

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Friends of the Earth is the U.S. voice of the world's largest grassroots environmental network, with member groups in 77 countries. Since 1969, Friends of the Earth has fought to create a more healthy, just world.

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