July 16, 2009

Dear Friends,

The Senate Environment Committee is delaying work on its climate bill until September. But there is plenty going on now--both publicly and behind-the-scenes. And the news isn't good.

Some Republicans are pushing for their own climate and energy plan. It calls for $50 billion more in taxpayer loan guarantees for new reactor construction; a doubling of taxpayer spending on dangerous reprocessing technologies, and a formal Congressional intent to build 100 new reactors in the next 20 years!

This would make the bailout of the auto industry seem like penny-ante poker. Indeed, a recent study by an economic analyst at the University of Vermont finds that building 100 new reactors would cost from $1.9 to $4.1 trillion more than getting our electricity from clean renewable energy sources.

The Republican plan won't pass; yet too many Democrats seem willing to compromise on nuclear power in order to get a climate bill passed.

We need to act now, while decisions are being made in private. Please write your Senators here, and tell them that a climate bill that provides taxpayer subsidies to nuclear power would not only be ineffective at reducing carbon emissions, it would be unacceptable.

But that's not going to be enough. We all need to ramp up our outreach, get the word to all of our mailing lists, e-mail lists, blogs, social networking sites, radio talk shows, letters-to-the-editor and so forth. Please do everything you can to spread the news that the Senate climate bill is in danger of being hijacked by the nuclear power industry.
And please support our campaign with your most generous donation so we can do the kind of outreach and mobilization needed.

We've won twice this year already--defeating efforts to give the nuclear industry another $50 billion in loan guarantees. But this is going to be our biggest challenge yet.

Many of those supporting nuclear expansion say they won't support any kind of climate bill anyway! So why should those in favor of taking necessary steps to reduce carbon emissions even think of compromising on nuclear power?

They shouldn't, and if they hear from enough of us, they won't. But they have to hear from every one of us--and then a lot more.

Don't forget that the Senate energy bill--which is slated to be folded in to the climate bill this Fall--sets up a new "Clean Energy Development Administration (CEDA)," with the power to give unlimited taxpayer loan guarantees for new reactors. That bill was sponsored by Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)--and it's just as unacceptable as the Republican plan. This provision, along with reprocessing funding, must not become part of the climate bill.
Here is a link to a new fact sheet from Physicians for Social Responsibility comparing the CEDA provisions in the Senate energy bill and the recently-passed House climate bill.

We need to build our strength and show our strength, now and throughout the summer and fall.

*The first step is to write your Senators here.

*The next step is to support us financially if at all possible.

*The third step is--if you haven't already--send a letter to President Obama urging him to stand firm against Senate efforts to spend taxpayer money on nuclear power. You can do so here.

*Next, if you haven't yet signed the Simple Statement on Nuclear Power and Climate, do so here. If your friends haven't signed, ask them to. More than 10,000 people already have signed--but it will be a lot more effective if we can greatly increase that number!

*Now, forward this alert to everyone and anyone who might be interested. With all of us working and mobilizing together, we can stop this nuclear nonsense and begin building an energy policy for our future, one that is nuclear-free and carbon-free. Our lives, our children and our planet are at stake.
Here's one more quick link: to a Science Daily article about a new Swedish study that finds nuclear power's contribution to global warming has been signficantly underestimated--not because of nuclear's carbon emissions, but because of its heat emissions. There is really no choice: we can have nuclear power, or we can fight climate change. We can't do both. So we must act now.
We will keep you informed throughout the summer and fall about developments on the climate bill and proposals for new nuclear subsidies. Watch for our blogs on DailyKos and other sites. We'll send new Alerts when you can take new, effective action. We'll also be doing sample letters-to-the-editor, talking points for the next national call-in day, and more.
But please feel free to contact us any time if you'd like more information. You can e-mail us at, or call us at 301-270-6477.
Thanks for all you do,
Michael Mariotte
Executive Director
Nuclear Information and Resource Service
P.S. We'll end on a very positive note! Bonnie Raitt and Taj Mahal are teaming up for a nationwide tour this summer. $1 of every ticket sold will be donated to progressive organizations, including NIRS. You can find out more about the tour, and--importantly--vote for which category of organization should receive this money, by going here.