Amidst a grassroots uproar over funding for the military, the nuclear power industry has again forced $9 billion in loan guarantees onto an "emergency" war appropriations bill for Afghanistan and Iraq.
Citizen opposition helped delay a similar vote scheduled last month. Now green energy advocates are again asked to call Congress immediately.
The move comes as part of a larger push for federal funding for a "new generation" of reactors.
Because independent investors won't fund them, the reactor industry has spent some $645 million in the last decade lobbying Congress and the White House for taxpayer money.
This $9 billion is for two new reactors proposed for the South Texas site, on the Gulf of Mexico, and another at Calvert Cliffs, Maryland.
Continued operations of the two reactors now at South Texas are threatened by oil gushing from BP's Deepwater Horizon. Calvert Cliffs is just 40 miles from the nation's capital.
French and Japanese companies are among the leading candidates to profit from the loans. "Nearly all the major parts that would go into new reactors will be built overseas," says the Nuclear Information & Resource Service.
Last month the Southern Company officially accepted $8.33 billion in federal loan guarantees to build two new reactors at the Vogtle site in Georgia. Georgia regulators are allowing ratepayers to be charged for construction as it proceeds.
In Florida, despite vehement protests, commissioners who voted against a massive rate hike to build new reactors were removed from the Public Service Commission by a utility-controlled legislative panel. The move, said the ousted commissioners, was "pay back" for the opposition to the rate hikes.
The maneuvers surrounding the "emergency" war funding vote have been exceedingly complex. A major grassroots campaign is being waged to muster as many NO votes as possible against prolonging the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Appropriations Chair David Obey (D-WI) has linked war spending to cutbacks on salaries for teachers, among other things. He and others are believed to be opposed to using the bill as a vehicle to foist liability for new reactor construction onto the rate payers.
Committee members are listed below. They can be reached via (202)224-3121. Call them NOW!
House Appropriations Committee members:
David R. Obey, Wisconsin, Chairman
Norman D. Dicks, Washington
Alan B. Mollohan, West Virginia
Marcy Kaptur, Ohio
Peter J. Visclosky, Indiana
Nita M. Lowey, New York
José E. Serrano, New York
Rosa L. DeLauro, Connecticut
James P. Moran, Virginia
John W. Olver, Massachusetts
Ed Pastor, Arizona
David E. Price, North Carolina
Chet Edwards, Texas
Patrick J. Kennedy, Rhode Island
Maurice D. Hinchey, New York
Lucille Roybal-Allard, California
Sam Farr, California
Jesse L. Jackson, Jr., Illinois
Carolyn C. Kilpatrick, Michigan
Allen Boyd, Florida
Chaka Fattah, Pennsylvania
Steven R. Rothman, New Jersey
Sanford D. Bishop Jr., Georgia
Marion Berry, Arkansas
Barbara Lee, California
Adam Schiff, California
Michael Honda, California
Betty McCollum, Minnesota
Steve Israel, New York
Tim Ryan, Ohio
C.A "Dutch" Ruppersberger, Maryland
Ben Chandler, Kentucky
Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Florida
Ciro Rodriguez, Texas
Lincoln Davis, Tennessee
John T. Salazar, Colorado
Patrick J. Murphy, Pennsylvania
Jerry Lewis, California, Ranking Member
C.W. Bill Young, Florida
Harold Rogers, Kentucky
Frank R. Wolf, Virginia
Jack Kingston, Georgia
Rodney P. Frelinghuysen, New Jersey
Todd Tiahrt, Kansas
Zach Wamp, Tennessee
Tom Latham, Iowa
Robert B.Aderholt, Alabama
Jo Ann Emerson, Missouri
Kay Granger, Texas
Michael K. Simpson, Idaho
John Abney Culberson, Texas
Mark Steven Kirk, Illinois
Ander Crenshaw, Florida
Dennis R. Rehberg, Montana
John R. Carter, Texas
Rodney Alexander, Louisiana
Ken Calvert, California
Jo Bonner, Alabama
Steven C. LaTourette, Ohio
Tom Cole, Oklahoma
Harvey Wasserman is senior advisor to Greenpeace USA and author of SOLARTOPIA! OUR GREEN-POWERED EARTH.