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The Nuclear Democrats
On Capitol Hill today, yesterday there was a press conference.
Three members of Congress–Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts), John Hall (D-New York), and Shelley Berkley (D-Nevada)–were there.
Activists like Harvey Wasserman and David Fenton–were there.
And musicians including Hall, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne and Graham Nash–who were among the organizers, with Wasserman, of the 1979 No Nukes Concerts in Madison Square Garden, which played a prominent role in galvanizing citizen energy against nuclear power–were there.
Environmental leaders from NRDC, Greenpeace, U.S. PIRG, Public Citzen, Sierra Club, the Environmental Working Group, the League of Conservation Voters, among others–were there.
They made arguments against pending legislation that will grant massive loan guarantees to nuclear power companies to build new reactors.
They made statements about how nuclear power is uneconomical, poses big fat targets for terrorists, and produces thousands of tons of high-level radioactive waste.
Wasserman and the musicians have put up a sleek web site–nukefree.org.
But when push comes to shove, we are talking Democrats here.
And so when the group of them were asked–well, what if the Democrats nominate a pro-nuclear Presidential candidate like Senator Hillary Clinton (D-New York) or Senator Barack Obama (D-Illinois)–will you bolt the party, withhold support, endorse an anti-nuke third party candidate?–no one said yes.
Wasserman didn’t say anything.
Fenton didn’t say anything.
The environmental leaders didn’t say anything.
Markey was quiet.
Berkley was gone.
Hall gave a disingenuous answer.
"I don’t believe that Senator Clinton or Senator Obama are hard and fast pro-nuke candidates," Hall said. "I think they are both are considering the options and need to have all of the information. They certainly have plenty of information. But they are persuadable. This is an educational experiment."
Jackson Browne was more forthcoming.
Browne said that he initially came out in support of Obama, but then learned of Obama’s support for nuclear power.
At a recent presidential debate, Edwards came out strongly opposed to nuclear power.
At the same debate, Obama said "we should explore nuclear power as part of the energy mix."
"It gave me pause to reconsider my support for him," Browne said. "I’m hoping to talk to him about it. I know that (John) Edwards came out against it. And that interested me a great deal."
Browne said he does believe that the nuclear power issue will have an impact on how people vote next year.
At a campaign event in South Carolina earlier this year, Clinton also endorsed nuclear power.
"I think nuclear power has to be part of our energy solution," Clinton said. "I don’t have any preconceived opposition. I just want to be sure we do it right. . . Obviously, it is a tremendous source of energy. We get about 20 percent of our energy from nuclear power in our country. A lot of people don’t realize that. Other countries like France get much, much more. We do have to look at it, because it doesn’t put greenhouse gas emissions into the air. But we have to make sure it is done as safely as possible."
The organizers of nukefree.org are seeking to defeat legislation that would, as Markey put it, hijack clean energy legislation "and turn it into an Automatic Teller Machine for an industry that is supposed to be standing on its own."
"The nuclear industry thinks the problem of global warming is an opportunity to skip the normal process of seeking investors and instead seek out the Federal Treasury," Markey said.
CORPORATE CRIME REPORTER is located in Washington, DC. They can be reached through their website.