For Immediate Release
Michael Mariotte, Executive Director
243 Groups Urge Senate to Drop $50B in Nuclear/Coal Pork from Stimulus Bill
WASHINGTON - Reflecting deepening public and Congressional concern that the Senate
economic stimulus bill contains too much traditional pork barrel spending with
no stimulative effect, 243 organizations and small businesses, and including
musicians Bonnie Raitt, Graham Nash
and Paul Winter, today urged the Senate to remove a provision from the bill
that would allow $50 Billion in taxpayer loan guarantees to fund construction
of new nuclear reactors and "clean coal" projects.
The provision was added to the original bill by the Senate
Appropriations Committee, at the urging of Utah Senator Robert Bennett, who
ironically has announced he will vote against the bill in any case. A February
3 Washington Post article on the
provision and Bennett's role is at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/
The letter pointed out that the $50 Billion could not provide an
economic stimulus, stating, "This loan guarantee program is already
highly controversial and loaded with money for polluting technologies like
nuclear power and "clean coal." Adding more money to this program
would have absolutely no stimulative effect on our economy, since no nuclear
reactors or "clean coal" plants can be built over the two year period
supposed to be covered by this bill."
The groups noted that the Congressional Budget Office has predicted a
50% default rate among utilities that would use the loan guarantee program to
build new reactors. And the groups also pointed out the little-known fact that
the loans would not come from the private sector, but from the U.S. Treasury
"We also note that the structure of the program is such that the
most expensive and riskiest nuclear projects--those where the utility seeks the
maximum 80% of project costs--would be financed not by private capital, which
will not invest in nuclear power--but directly from the U.S. Treasury through
the Federal Financing Bank. We are not willing to be bankers for new nuclear
reactors or "clean coal" boondoggles."
The letter and signatories can be viewed at: http://www.nirs.org/
On February 2, 20 national environmental and consumer groups also urged
the Senate to drop the loan guarantee provision. That letter is at: http://www.nirs.org/
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