This is a note from Tim Judson from NIRS about important legislation on nuclear power plants in the United States Congress. IPSEC was one of the organizations that signed on in opposition to the bill. I hope that your group was too.
Here is the link to get you to some quick information and a link to Gillibrand.
From Tim Judson today:
Dear all – thank you so much for endorsing the sign-on letter opposing S. 4897, especially on such short notice. We submitted it with 119 organizations altogether, and Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) introduced it into the record of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee meeting. The final version of the letter is attached. Read Tim’s post below for the details of what happened in Congress. We need to defeat the bill passed by the committee.
This is an action alert for what might happen next with very little notice. Right now New Yorkers need to contact Senator Gillibrand and urge her to vote no on S4897.
The EPW Committee approved the bill on a vote of 16-5. The senators voting against were Markey, Sanders (I-VT), Merkley (D-OR), Duckworth (D-IL), and Gillibrand (D-NY). Maryland Senators Cardin and Van Hollen proposed amendments to the bill, which were adopted:
- Cardin’s amendment increases the duration of taxpayer subsidies for existing nuclear power plants from 2 years to 4 years, so it actually makes the bill worse. Essentially, nuclear corporations would only have to apply for the subsidies every four years instead of every two years, making it harder to challenge the subsidies or to phase out the whole program.
- Van Hollen’s amendment puts in a fairly weak review requirement on nuclear weapons proliferation risks. It requires the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to issue a determination that exporting nuclear materials and technology to countries like Saudia Arabia and Egypt will not harm the interests of the United States. That is, it does not actually prohibit the sale of nuclear technology and/or materials that could enable such countries to develop nuclear weapons, only that such sales would not harm US interests. NRC is a domestic nuclear safety agency, so tasking it with making determinations about US foreign policy interests may not even be appropriate.
In addition, news reports late last week indicate that Sen. Gillibrand, who voted no on the bill, has now filed an amendment on an unrelated issue. We urge New Yorkers, especially, to ask Sen. Gillibrand to withdraw the amendment and vote no on S. 4897 if it moves to a vote in the Senate.
Please share any news or developments you are aware of. If the bill moves, it could happen quickly, possibly by being added to one of the large must-pass bills the House and Senate are trying to vote through right now.
NIRS also put out an action alert yesterday for people to contact their Senators and House reps, in case there is a move to rush S. 4897 through. Here is a link:
Feel free to forward and post it to your lists, or copy what you need to create your own action.