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Public Citizen Demands Disclosure of Pro-Yucca Campaign?s Ties to the Nuclear Industr

June 5, 2002

Public Citizen Demands Disclosure of Pro-Yucca Campaign?s Ties to the Nuclear Industry

Alliance for Sound Nuclear Policy a “Front Group” for NEI

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Public Citizen today sent a letter to Alliance for Sound Nuclear Policy to request full disclosure of the group?s funding sources and membership. The Alliance has launched an aggressive television and newspaper advertising campaign in support of the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump.

The Alliance surfaced following Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham’s Feb. 14 recommendation in favor of the nuclear dump, which is widely opposed by environmental and public interest organizations. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee narrowly approved the Yucca Mountain proposal 13-10 today. The full Senate is expected to vote on the controversial issue in the coming weeks.

In statements made to the media, the Alliance has claimed to represent “more than 26 million consumers, seniors, environmentalists, business leaders and union members,” but the group does not have a Web site and is not registered as a lobbyist organization. However, Public Citizen has learned that the Alliance is housed at the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI), the nuclear industry?s lobbying organization. Alliance director Sherry Reilly has worked for NEI in public relations for several years.

“This group appears to be intentionally obscuring information about its membership and funding,” said Joan Claybrook, Public Citizen president. “This Alliance is nothing more than a front group for NEI. Its pro-Yucca Mountain advertising campaign, which claims to represent the views of consumers, is misleading and disingenuous absent full disclosure of the Alliance?s close ties to the commercial nuclear industry.”

The nuclear industry has heavily lobbied in support of the Yucca Mountain proposal because it is desperate for a “solution” to the nuclear waste problem to help pave the way for an expansion in nuclear power generation. According to Public Citizen research, current U.S. senators and 2002 senatorial candidates have taken more than $5 million from the nuclear power industry in political action committee “hard money” contributions since 1997.

The nuclear industry contributed more than $82,000 to Abraham?s failed bid for re-election to the U.S. Senate prior to his controversial Yucca Mountain site recommendation, and Abraham?s top nuclear contributors in 2000 spent $25 million lobbying Congress in that year alone.

“Lawmakers should not fooled by the Alliance?s efforts to put a friendly face on the industry that continues to generate 2,200 tons of high-level radioactive waste each year,” Claybrook said. “When the Senate votes on the repository proposal, the agenda of the well-financed nuclear industry should not be allowed to dominate concerns for public health, safety and the environment. This is just one more example of industry maneuvering and manipulating to cover their tracks and pretend they represent the public interest.”