Enviro Groups Attack Nuclear, Coal Loan Provisions in Appropriations Omnibus 2

Posted by Brad Johnson Mon, 17 Dec 2007 18:11:00 GMT

The omnibus appropriations bill (H.R. 2764) wending its way to passage in the year-end Congressional rush.

As EE News reports, included in the bill are $18.5 billion in nuclear loan guarantees that have been championed by Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) and Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.). Related provisions grant $6 billion for coal-based power generation and industrial gasification activities at retrofitted and new facilities that incorporate carbon capture and sequestration; $2 billion for advanced coal gasification; $10 billion for renewable and/or energy efficient systems and manufactoring and distributed energy generation, transmission and distribution; and $2 billion for uranium enrichment technology.

The loan guarantees come with the caveat that Congressional appropriators must approve any project implementation 45 days before the Department of Energy could activate the guarantee.

Funding for continuing nuclear programs includes $1.1 billion for DOE’s nuclear programs and $8.8 billion for the National Nuclear Security Administration.

Environmental groups have come out strongly against the nuclear and coal-to-liquids provisions. NRDC’s Heather Taylor told EE News, “The loan guarantee is certainly a poison pill for us. It’s an investment in the bad policies of the past.

In a joint letter to Congress, seventeen environmental organizations wrote:
On behalf of our millions of members and activists, we regretfully ask you to vote no on H.R. 2764, the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2008 (Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008) because it would take America down a dirty energy path. Although Congress started with the promise of leading our country into a new energy future, H.R. 2764 breaks faith and continues the misguided, polluting policies of the past.
VOTE NO ON H.R. 2764, THE CONSOLIDATED APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2008

Dear Representative:

On behalf of our millions of members and activists, we regretfully ask you to vote no on H.R. 2764, the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2008 (Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008) because it would take America down a dirty energy path. Although Congress started with the promise of leading our country into a new energy future, H.R. 2764 breaks faith and continues the misguided, polluting policies of the past.

While Congress is poised to take historic steps to slow global warming, those positive steps would be undermined by approving H.R. 2764, which would invest taxpayer dollars in loan guarantees for polluting, expensive energy technologies. If passed, almost $30 billion would go to subsidizing dangerous, costly, and polluting industries, like nuclear power and coal. Rather than promoting clean energy resources, the bill wastes money to help launch an industry that produces liquid fuels from coal (“liquid coal”), which emits about twice as much global warming pollution as gasoline. We acknowledge that key oversight provisions were included, but we still believe that Congress should reject this proposal and keep its promise to forge a clean energy future.

It is also unfortunate that the bill also contains dramatic cuts to the Clean Water State Revolving Fund. The omnibus also includes a bad rider, which the environmental community was told would be deleted, that would interfere with judicial review of aspects of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers St. Johns Bayou/New Madrid Flood control project, which would drain tens of thousands of acres of wetlands and put neighboring communities at risk. While we were pleased to see that there were increases for important environmental priorities like National Wildlife Refuges, the National Park Service, Forest Service road decommissioning, and the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act, these positive improvements are outweighed by the short-sighted investment of billions of dollars of loan guarantees that will increase global warming pollution. It is for this reason that we respectfully ask for you to join us in opposition to H.R. 2764.

Sincerely,
  • Kristen Miller, Alaska Wilderness League
  • Caitlin Love Hills, American Lands Alliance
  • Peter Raabe, American Rivers
  • Lynn Thorp, Clean Water Action
  • Bob Shavelson, Cook Inletkeeper
  • Yochi Zakai, Co-op America
  • Marty Hayden, Earthjustice
  • Mike Ewall, Energy Justice Network
  • Anna Aurilio, Environment America
  • Shawnee Hoover, Friends of the Earth
  • John Passacantando, Greenpeace
  • Tiernan Sittenfeld, League of Conservation Voters
  • Karen Wayland, Natural Resources Defense Council
  • Michael Mariotte, Nuclear Information and Resource Service
  • Bonnie Raitt & Harvey Wasserman, NukeFree.org
  • Tyson Slocum, Public Citizen
  • Debbie Sease, Sierra Club