February 18, 2010

Dear Friends,

By now you probably know that on Tuesday President Obama personally announced conditional approval of an $8.3 billion loan guarantee for the construction of two new reactors at the Vogtle site in Georgia.

And you also probably know that Obama has proposed tripling the loan guarantee program for new reactors in his FY 2011 budget, to $54 billion.

What you may not know about the Vogtle deal is that we taxpayers are not just providing loan guarantees, we're providing the actual loans, through the Federal Financing Bank. And you also may not know that the Southern Company has not yet accepted the conditions of the loan--and for various reasons, it may not. In other words, it's not a done deal.

And neither is a $54 billion loan guarantee program a done deal. Congress has to approve this proposal. Twice last year, with your help, we beat back efforts to increase the loan guarantee program. We can do it again!

*The first step is to send a letter to your Representative now.

*The second step is to spread the word and encourage as many people as possible to send in letters. We need to speak very LOUDLY on this one!

*The third step is to get ready for National Call-Congress Day on Wednesday, February 24. We've done this before and thousands of you have called. This time it will be even bigger, because this is a coordinated effort with many groups: NIRS, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Beyond Nuclear, Friends of the Earth, and you!

So prepare yourself (and we'll send some new talking points early next week), activate your e-mail lists and phone trees, tell your friends and family members. Let's keep the phones ringing in both the House and Senate all day long next Wednesday.

Reaction to the Vogtle loan guarantee, and to the proposed tripling of the program, already has been strong. You can see NIRS' press releases, and statements by Ralph Nader, Sierra Club, PSR, etc. on the front page of our website:

Here is a link to a story in today's New York Times titled Environmental Advocates Are Cooling on Obama. Here is a link to a story on the Facing South site. And here is a very good piece from Time Magazine. These are typical of the kinds of stories we've been seeing.

Now we need to follow up the strong reaction to Obama's nuclear plans with strong action:

Please write your representatives here.

Plan to be part of National Call-Congress Day Wednesday, February 24.

And if there is anything we can do to help you, let us know.

Thanks for all you do,

Michael Mariotte
Executive Director
Nuclear Information and Resource Service

P.S. Some big THANK YOUs! Thanks to everyone who contributed for my 25th anniversary outreach fund. We're using those funds to supplement and support this Alert and Call-Congress Day with Google adwords and an action ad on (where coincidentally I've also started a new blog called Energy Progress) to bring more people to this effort. You can still contribute to this fund here, and we'll thank you just as profusely. We'll use your donations to continue expanding our outreach efforts.

And thank you to everyone who filled out our questionnaire on our Alerts. As soon as things slow down just a little, we'll post a summary of your responses (without your names of course!). Winners of The Critical Question (10 of you chosen at random) will receive your books soon.

In the meantime, several people said they don't forward our Alerts to others. Most said this was due to privacy reasons and/or not wanting to be perceived as a spammer. We can respect that, and we do want to make clear that we do NOT ask anyone to forward any of our materials to anyone you don't know.

But we also know that the only way to build an effective movement is with outreach. Thus, we ask grassroots groups with mailing lists to please forward our Alerts to your lists. And we encourage people to forward our materials to people you do know who might be interested and to post our Alerts on Facebook and other social networking sites (after all, what is a social networking site but a form of outreach?). If you don't feel like forwarding our entire Alert, we'd suggest just sending your friends/family/colleagues a link to our action page, with a sentence saying something like, "Here is an issue I really care about. If you do too, I hope you'll take action." For this action, the action page link is:
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