One thing the Obama Administration has done right on nuclear power issues is end the proposed Yucca Mountain, Nevada radioactive waste dump.
Yucca Mountain is riddled with earthquake faults and so scientifically deficient that even the Bush Administration’s Department of Energy admitted the mountain itself offered virtually no protection from radiation release–instead, the steel containers holding the waste were to provide 99% of the barrier preventing release. And if that were acceptable waste storage policy, the containers could be put anywhere–even under the White House.
Not gonna happen.
As an alternative, Obama’s DOE has set up a blue-ribbon commission to re-evaluate radioactive waste policy, which held its first meeting in Washington last week. The commission–as we’ve pointed out before–is stacked with pro-nuclear radicals and, at this point, we’re not optimistic it can formulate a sound, scientifically-defensible policy that can achieve a real consensus. But it’s a better option than jumping into a Hot Tub Time Machine and traveling back to the glory days of Yucca Mountain–back before the site was proven unacceptable!
Yet that’s exactly what a group of House members want to do. Led by Jay Inslee and Doc Hastings, both of Washington state, they’ve introduced H.Res 1209, which would force the Administration to repeal its withdrawal of the Yucca Mountain license application and potentially force the spending of billions more dollars on the one site in the country that has been conclusively proven to be unsuitable for radioactive waste storage.
On Monday, March 29, 2010, they sent around a Dear Colleague letter looking for co-sponsors for this resolution.
We need to defend Obama’s decision to end the Yucca Mountain project. Please send a letter to your Representative here to oppose H.Res 1209 and to urge your Rep. not to co-sponsor this dangerous effort.
But first, read on for some more news:
*We are now well above 6,000 signatures on the petition against Obama’s proposal to triple the new reactor loan program. If you haven’t signed yet, please do so now here. If you haven’t asked your friends and colleagues to sign, please do that now instead. You can just send them this link: http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5502/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=2096
We will be making the first delivery of signatures to the leadership of the House Appropriations Committee–which can reject the program outright–shortly after the Easter recess. So please help us get as many signatures as possible.
Three items in the good news department: *Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has written a great letter to Sen. John Kerry, opposing nuclear subsidies in the upcoming climate bill and pointing out that “it is absurd” to build new reactors without a solution to the radioactive waste problem. Sanders also takes issue with offshore oil drilling and makes several strong points for a good climate bill. You can read his letter here.
*An industry effort to repeal Minnesota’s ban on new nuclear reactors failed in the state legislature.
*New York State regulators rejected Entergy’s attempt to set up a new, limited-liability holding company to own and operate its reactors. Limited liability in this case meant, no, Entergy doesn’t want to pay for decommissioning and other costs…..
Finally, unlike most organizations, we don’t send out e-mails that are nothing more than a plea for your donations. That’s because we believe in action. If we don’t have an action for you to take, we’re not going to bother you–we know you have better things to do with your time. But that doesn’t mean we don’t need your donations–indeed, we rely upon your support more than most organizations do; we don’t get six-figure corporate donations. So, if you can donate a few tax-deductible dollars this month (maybe you’re getting a tax refund…) for my 25th anniversary outreach and mobilizing fund, please do so here and experience our eternal gratitude…
Now, jump back, send a letter to your Representative, sign the petition, and take a moment to ask your friends and colleagues to take action too!
Thanks for all you do,
P.S. A few people have reported problems sending letters to Congress from our last couple of Alerts. Our colleagues at Democracy in Action have been working hard to correct these problems, which seem to originate with a few Congressmembers’ web forms (your letters have to go through these web forms, which are meant to discourage you from contacting your Members). Hopefully, the problems have been fixed, but if you do experience any problems, please let us know!