GOP Energy Plan: Nuclear Plants and Global Warming Denial

June 11, 2009

(ChattahBox)—If the Republicans had their way, they would recreate our majestic American landscape into a grim terrain clogged with smog and pollution, scores of nuclear power plants and our natural environment defaced with strip mining, oil-shale drilling operations, “clean-coal” plants and oil refineries.

Think of the bleak post-apocalyptic version of the world depicted in the cult film classic, “Mad Max” and you get the idea.

The Republicans unveiled their response to the Democrats’ energy bill yesterday, entitled “The American Energy Act,” led by house minority leader, John Boehner and Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana, extolling the virtues of deregulating the nuclear power industry, and providing billions of dollars in tax breaks and subsidies to the oil, coal, mining and nuclear industries.

That’s the Republican solution to our dependence on non-renewable fossil fuels; more drilling and more mining on federal lands on the Outer Continental Shelf and the Arctic Coastal Plain. And the lessening of safety regulations on nuclear power plants.

The plan also has a curious provision, which would essentially outlaw the entire scientific concept of global warming. The provision states, “the impact of greenhouse gas on any species of fish or wildlife or plant shall not be considered for any purpose in the implementation of this act.” What a novel idea; just outlaw science and the problem will just cease to exist.

The Republicans call their energy plan an “all of the above” energy program, but gives short shrift to green renewable sources of energy, such as wind and solar energy.

Republicans plan to speed up the construction of nuclear power plants by “streamlining a burdensome regulatory process and ensuring the recycling and safe storage of spent nuclear fuel,” according to a press release issued by Minority Leader John Boehner.

A section entitled, “Cutting Red Tape and Reducing Frivolous Lawsuits,” makes clear where the Republican’s priorities lie. The plan calls for lessening the scope of EPA in regulating refineries, making it more difficult to sue to prevent the construction of refineries and streamlining and accelerating the refinery permitting process.

The details in the plan are sketchy as to how all of these new nuclear power plants would be paid for and where all the dangerous waste would go. But no worries, “If we reprocesses [nuclear waste] that it would be enough waste to fill a 50-cent piece,” said Rep. Fred Upton.

The energy plan is filled with criticisms of the Democrats’ cap-and-trade system to regulate carbon emissions, calling it an energy tax that will cost Americans “over $846 billion.” Rep. Joe Barton called the Democrats energy plan, C.R.A.P. for “Continue Ruining America’s Prosperity.”

The cap-and-trade system is designed to spur growth in the renewable energy sector and reduce greenhouse gas pollutants.

The Democrats’ plan sets a nationwide limit on emissions, known as a cap, allowing businesses that pollute less to sell or trade their remaining credits.

The Republican’s energy plan calls for more drilling, more pollution and a complete denial of global warming. The Democrat’s plan calls for an investment in environmentally friendly, renewable fuels to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.

As much as I enjoy watching post-apocalyptic science fiction movies, like “Mad Max,” I don’t want to live in one.



9 Responses to “GOP Energy Plan: Nuclear Plants and Global Warming Denial”

  1. GOP Energy Plan: Nuclear Plants and Global Warming Denial - | Climate Warming Blog on June 11th, 2009 1:53 pm

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  2. mojo on June 11th, 2009 1:57 pm

    In the article above the author stated “That’s the Republican solution to our dependence on non-renewable fossil fuels” amoung other reason is “the lessening of safety regulations on nuclear power plants.”. The energy act as presented by the republicans nowhere states propsed lessening of saftey concerning nuclear power plants. In fact Title IV of the energy act states,
    “PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY.—Nothing in this subsection shall supersede, mitigate, detract from, or in anyway decrease the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s ability to maintain the highest possible levels of public health and safety standards for nuclear facilities in the United States. No authority granted by this subsection shall be executed in a manner that jeopardizes, minimizes, reduces, or lessens public health and safety standards.” The reality is nuclear power is the cleanest power available on a scale large enough to meets our energy needs. And the dangerous waste people speak of, it is actually quite safe. Currently it is protected in safe dry cask storage. I would advise any person who is unsure about nuclear energy to do their homework and find out just how safe that it is. Nuclear power is a great industry providing great jobs that can’t be outsourced. Safe and clean, nuclear energy is responsible and green!!!

  3. Old Man Dotes on June 11th, 2009 2:08 pm

    Well, for once the GOP is partly right (I give them about an 8% on this one). France gets 85% of their power from nuclear energy. They’ve never had a serious accident, because the plants are regulated to heavily. Actually, if you look at the environmental damage done, even Three Mile Island wasn’t a disaster (but it sure was expensive for the plant’s owners).

    Personally, I still prefer the orbiting solar power plant proposal; but nukes are a good second choice and backup plan. Yes, I’m fine with you building one in my back yard (well, you’d need a much bigger yard, but you get my point).

  4. Jim Lewis on June 11th, 2009 3:52 pm

    I read this article but did not understand its bias. Is Chatterbox a biased internet site that only recognizes one side of an argument? I confess that this is my first visit to your site.

    I went to the “source” that this article was based on and after reading it can only believe that the author of this article (is it Sue….as noted at the end of the article?) took an extreme interpretation of the original article.

    Does “Sue” expect the average American to believe that any party, Republican or Democrat, would want to strip safety regulations from building nuclear plants? If so, she is not only biased to an extremest point of view, but one of the “elitist” that feel they know the real truth, and the the average american is too stupid or ignorant to know what is best for them.

    “Sue”, you offend me.

  5. Tom Rogstad on June 11th, 2009 4:13 pm

    Sue, it seems like you don’t have a clue. I wish we could have it both ways, you have”green power” and I’ll have “oil/gas/nuclear and transition amounts of green”. Then, I’d be happy and you would soon “have a clue” about what you are proposing.

  6. Sue on June 11th, 2009 5:18 pm

    Thank you for all the comments. I wanted to clarify a point regarding my statement “And the lessening of safety regulations on nuclear power plants” The American Energy Act calls for an extensive streamlining of the nuclear regulatory process. If you think that won’t affect plant safety, think again. Nowhere do I state that safety regulations would be stripped away.

    However, I agree my use of the single word “safety” without clarification could cause confusion. To clarify, the extensive streamlining of the application process would lead to a lessening of safety safeguards, already in place where a lengthy regulatory process ensures problems are identified and dealt with before and during construction.

    That being said, relying on nuclear power is looking back and not forward. We can’t agree on a site for the disposable of nuclear waste for the 100 or so plants we have now, not to mention the waste lasts for 100,000 years. Additionally there is the issue of a nuclear accident. The cleanup of the partial meltdown at Three Mile Island took 15 years and cost one billion dollars.

    The future direction we take as a country regarding energy policy is an important one and would affect all of us and our children. I’m not opposed to nuclear power, but it’s not a feasible solution to provide the majority of our energy needs for the future. There are other solutions to the issues of global warming and peak oil.

    We can do better.

  7. James Stockton on June 11th, 2009 7:55 pm

    We need to see a fair debate on the AGW issue among credible scientists on both sides. The IPCC is not the authorityon this issue. Al Gore, Dr Hansen and the IPCC should not be the only voices heard. This has turned into a political issue that cannot lead to a rational conclusion. Computer modeling is not science.

  8. Eve on June 11th, 2009 11:02 pm

    First off, the hypothesis of AGW states that a doubling of C02 in the atmosphere will warm the planet by 1.6 degrees C. We should have seen half of that warming by now. We have not. Instead the planet is on another 30 year cooling spell that has negated all the gains since the little Ice Age. I do not think a warming of 3 degree’s F would be all that awful. We are not seeing it though. The hypothesis of AGW is a hypothesis because it does not have enough proof to be a theory. On the other hand the theory of natural variability has never been disproven.
    We in the North, cannot live here without affordable heat. If you want to see a mass migration, put in the Cap and Trade. Nuclear energy is an affordable way to provide dependable electricity. Wind and solar are not.
    Bottom line is there is no reason to worry about C02 emissons. I presume that is what you mean because any person saying greenhouse gas emissions makes me think they don’t know what they are talking about. There is a reason to worry about energy. Coal is cheap and we have 300 years supply. Nuclear is less cheap but we have enough supply until the sun goes nova. Please go ahead and try to perfect your renewable resource methods of energy. Until then, use something that actually works.

  9. kelly on June 14th, 2009 10:04 pm

    Nuclear is neither clean nor cheap. Those are falicies and mistruths. Nuclear energy is subsidized on the front end, and the cost of storage on the back end is outrageous. As a tax payer you pay for nuclear power 3x over. YOU subsidize the low per kilowatt with your taxes to build the plant. You pay for the insurance with your taxes.

    The mining of the uranium needed to run the plant is the worst form of mining there is. It contaminates the land, air and water. It takes OIL to run the mining. It takes a lot of oil. Each truck that hauls the rock to the mill uses on average 35-40 gallons per hour (mines can be 1-5 hours or more from the mills). That’s just the hauling trucks. It takes water from the lakes and rivers to run the mine. Water that is forever contaminated and lost to containment canisters forever. The soil is lost to contamination.

    It takes OIL to run the reprocessing plant to enrich the uranium. It takes more water to refine.

    Every uranium mine and every processing plant has become a SUPER FUND that your TAX DOLLARS clean up. Every single one.

    The US government is also using your tax dollars to PAY workers suffering from cancer and health problems from the mines- and their families for those who have died. They have been paying these people for over 30 years.

    The way we mine uranium hasn’t changed at all. There is no safe way to mine uranium. Virginia has banned the mining of uranium. Parts of Australia have. There are lawsuits in Australia, Canada, NewMexico, Virginia, Colorado, Utah, Arizona.

    YOU PAY more for nuclear power from beginning to end than you do for any form of energy out there- wind, solar, biomass, oil, natural gas, hydro… none of them compare to the TOTAL cost of nuclear.

    It is not cheap. It is not clean. And it is not safe.

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