HOUSE VOTES TO RESTORE SOME FUNDING FOR CLEAN ENERGY PRESERVES ADVANCED NUCLEAR REACTORS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 12, 1995 HOUSE VOTES TO RESTORE SOME FUNDING FOR CLEAN ENERGY PRESERVES ADVANCED NUCLEAR REACTORS

The House of Representatives voted today to restore some funding for renewable energy research and development while rejecting efforts to eliminate federal support for advanced nuclear reactors. On an amendment offered by Representatives Scott Klug (R-WI), Dan Schaefer (R-CO), Ed Markey (D-MA), Vic Fazio (D-CA) and Karen Thurman (D-FL), the House voted 214-208 to restore $44.9 million to renewable energy programs. The amendment to eliminate $40 for the Advanced Light Water Reactor Program was offered by Representative David Obey (D-WI) and failed on a 191- 227 vote. “The House restored some balance to federal energy policy today by reaffirming our national commitment to develop clean renewable energy technologies,” said Joan Claybrook, President of Public Citizen. “But by protecting an outdated nuclear power program, the House has continued to tilt support toward mature, developed industries despite a clear preference by the public to cut these programs first.” Even after the passage of today’s amendment, the Energy and Water Appropriations bill would cut spending on renewable energy programs by 32%, from $393.6 million in 1995 to $266.5 million in 1996. Nuclear fission is slated to be reduced by 18%, from $288.3 million in 1995 to $235.7 million in 1996. The level of these cuts contrasts with the results of a recent public opinion survey performed by Republican pollster Vince Breglio. The poll of 1,000 registered voters found that when asked which two energy programs should receive cuts first, 61% chose nuclear energy, 59% said oil and coal, 23% said natural gas, 16% identified renewable energy and 16% chose energy efficiency. When asked which two programs should receive the highest priority for continued funding, 64% cited renewable energy, 49% chose energy efficiency, 35% said natural gas, 21% picked nuclear power and 19% identified oil and coal. The Advanced Light Water Reactor program, which the House failed to cut, has provided over $235 million since 1992 to corporate giants like General Electric and Westinghouse for the development of evolutionary light water reactor designs. In a poll of electric utility executives taken last year, nearly 72% of respondents said that their company would never consider ordering another nuclear power plant. “The fact that Congress continues to hand over taxpayer dollars to corporate giants like General Electric and Westinghouse is an outrage,” said Matthew Freedman, Energy Policy Analyst with Public Citizen’s Critical Mass Energy Project. “Members who voted to maintain this program demonstrated that, despite the rhetoric, it’s business-as-usual in Washington.”

Information regarding each member’s vote on both amendments is available from Public Citizen.