The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Ben Schreiber, Friends of the Earth Action,, 202-222-0752
Scott Baumgartner, Friends of the Earth Action,, 202-222-0751

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


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

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

May, Congressman Edwards has been using nuclear

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.

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

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
issue for Congressman Chet Edwards," said Ben Schreiber of Friends of
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
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."

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
Guarantee program may have been used to reward House Democrats. Last
month, a
$9 billion preemptive nuclear bailout was included in the House
Appropriations bill for projects in Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Whip
Clyburn's districts, while money to
prevent teacher layoffs was stripped from the bill.

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
taxpayers on the hook for billions of dollars if the nuclear industry
on its loans. This nuclear bailout will also endanger public safety due
to the
vulnerable nuclear waste storage processes, inadequate nuclear security
continued reactor design flaws it will promote."

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

Friends of the Earth Action provides extra political muscle on legislative battles here in the U.S. to our sister organization, Friends of the Earth, which is part of a network of affiliates in 76 nations around the world. Friends of the Earth Action and its affiliated PAC make thoughtful political endorsements, provide direct support to candidates and place environmentalists in the field on critical campaigns.