Dismissing Republican Members of the EPW Committee’s request for economic analysis by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) before the Committee marks up the Lieberman-Warner bill, Senator Boxer, chairman of the EPW Committee, said at the November 15 EPW Committee hearing that enough analysis had already been conducted, citing analysis done by the environmental group Clean Air Task Force. Interestingly however, the CATF analysis relies heavily upon the assumption that nuclear power will greatly benefit under the bill. The charts below are from a presentation by the CATF distributed to Members of the committee and the press. As shown below, CATF makes the assumption that 90 new nuclear power plants will be built.  

 

 

 

FACT: The word “nuclear” does not appear anywhere in the bill. Without nuclear however, there is no chance of achieving the objectives espoused in this bill. An EIA analysis done on S. 280, a less stringent bill, included a “No Nuclear” scenario which showed electricity prices increasing by 8% and, importantly, carbon emissions INCREASING 3%.

Notably, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) “is not endorsing the Warner-Lieberman bill ‘because it doesn't include the nuclear issue by name,’ according to his spokeswoman Melissa Shuffield. ‘We can't effectively reduce our emissions without including nuclear energy, which is more efficient than the technologies in the bill.’ (Source: 10-18-07 Washington Post)

Senator Warner (R-VA), a sponsor of the bill, explained at the subcommittee mark-up of the bill the decision not to include nuclear language upon introduction and his commitment to addressing the issues at the committee level. Senator Warner stated:

“I take a second place to no one in recognition of the importance of nuclear energy and indeed my State has been a leader. I think, Mr. Chairman, I can safely say, with your acquiescence, that in the due course of the committee's deliberation, that issue will be taken up, but for practical reasons at this time we made a decision not to incorporate those provisions we had in mind in the bill.”

Yet Senator Boxer has long been a staunch opponent to nuclear power, and in fact, voted against the McCain-Lieberman bill in 2005 because of the nuclear provisions included in the bill. Katharine Mieszkowski, on Salon.com reported on June 23, 2005 about Sen. Boxer’s opposition to McCain-Lieberman, writing:

“Another vote switcher, California Democrat Barbara Boxer, said she voted against the amendment this time because it included nuclear energy alongside wind and solar as sources of 'clean' energy. ‘The nuclear industry is once again knocking on Uncle Sam’s door asking for federal subsidies to pad their bottom line,’ she said in a statement. ‘We should oppose the nuclear industry’s latest effort to raid the public purse. Nuclear power is not the solution to climate change, and it is not 'clean.' The nuclear industry has not solved its waste and safety problems. By subsidizing the creation of new nuclear plants, we are condoning the creation of more waste and turning a blind eye to the hazards associated with nuclear power. . . . The nuclear industry has already benefited from $145 billion in federal subsidies over the last fifty years. Truly clean and renewable sources of energy, such as wind and solar, have received just $5 billion.’”

Apparently, this bill is a house of cards that is tenuously held together by nuclear power, a fact supporters try to ignore.