Part II of III
It's time for Libertarians, Conservatives & Republicans to put their money where their mouth is. No government subsidies to private industry, period. No exceptions.
Why, then, when they get into office, do most of them support (or ignore) massive subsides to the nuclear industry? This week's guest post provides a possible answer.
Last week we discussed how, in Vermont, Republicans & Democrats alike have gifted Entergy Corp. of Louisiana with the privilege of storing their waste on-site in a flood plain, without which the plant would have been unprofitable. Forced to shut down.
We discussed how my opponent, Claire Ayer, cast the swing vote to allow Yankee to remain open, after consulting with an 'expert' and ignoring her constituents on the matter.
We ask why, when after state legislators listen to us, they vote as their lobbyists and consultant-experts dictate? Could it be that politicians value their careers more than the interests of their own people? We need our Citizen Legislature back. The idea of serving in office, like serving in a volunteer fire department or rescue squad, needs a comeback. Get elected, serve, come home and leave the next term to the next person.
Nuclear Fuel Chain: Each link is highly subsidized by the taxpayer,
creating the illusion that nuclear power is profitable.
This week the focus is nuclear subsidies: $7.1 billion a year. That's money deducted from your and my paychecks, and sent into the bank accounts of Entergy and similar corporations. My source is Take the Rich Off Welfare by Zepezauer and Naiman.
The rich, the so-called one-percenters, are influential with State legislatures and the federal congress. They get things their way unless We the People hold them accountable for their actions on our behalf.
This week's guest post is by Gary Flomenhoft, a "seeker of a new economic paradigm compatible with prosperity, equity, and sustainability". Gary calls nuclear power "the biggest government welfare scheme in existence."
Don't forget [corporations like Entergy] only have $12.6 Billion of insurance under Price-Anderson. The NRC's own 1982 Sandia study said there would be $274 Billion to $314 billion in damage from a meltdown (1982 dollars). Convert to 2012 dollars and they are underinsured by hundreds of billions ACCORDING TO THEIR OWN ESTIMATE. The Price-Anderson Act has been upheld by the Supreme Court, but I don't see why a State can't require additional insurance.
In any case, no one ever brings this up in public for some reason. The taxpayers are responsible for additional damage, which I call the Bailout in Advance.
What is it about nuclear power that free-market-loving, government-hating republicans love so much? So much that they want to take away Vermont's sovereignty to decide the fate of Vermont Yankee and give it to the big-government, unelected agency NRC:
- Is it the cradle to grave big government support?
- Is it the massive big government research behind it?
- Is it the federal loan guarantees because they can't get (free market) bank financing?
- Is it the government insurance program (Price-Anderson) that nuclear gets because they can't afford (free market) insurance?
- Is it the government imposed liability limit of $12 billion, so that the industry will never have to pay the true costs of an accident?
- Is it the government-imposed liability restriction so that victims can never sue for damages?
- Is it the federal government's promise to dispose of the waste for the industry?
No, I think I know what it is. Nuclear appeals to the authoritarian mind. Renewable energy is for wussies. To understand right wing authoritarians, and why nothing they say makes any sense, crucial reading can be found in Bob Altemeyers book, Authoritarians. This was featured in John Dean's book, Conservatives Without Conscience.
[Senate bill S.84, AN ACT RELATING TO REMOVING THE REQUIREMENT OF LEGISLATIVE APPROVAL OF CONTINUED OPERATION OF A NUCLEAR POWER PLANT was referred to the Senate Finance Committee in 2011, and could be passed out of committee in the next legislative session. S.84 can be read here. It means Entergy gets to keep all the goodies given away to Entergy via Act 160, but the Legislature gives up their authority over the plant. If the Senate Finance Committee passes this bill, it will mean that they're acting in the interests of Entergy's finances, not ours. -RW]
S.84 co-sponsors show how the major parties work together to further corporate interests in Vermont, and sell our sovereignty down the river:
- Flory, Peg (R)
- Benning, Joe (R)
- Mazza, Dick (D)
- Starr, Robert (D)
Transparent Radiation | After the March 2011 catastrophic disasters in Japan, debates about nuclear power reignited around the world and uncertainty about the costs and benefits of nuclear energy rose dramatically. Set amid the world's historic transition toward energy sustainability, this important film looks at nuclear energy through the lens of ecological economics. It features commentary from over twenty students and fellows of the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics. As an important part of the nuclear discussion, this film expounds common misconceptions about nuclear power - rendering old arguments transparent and empowering new perspectives.
Gary Flomenhoft is co-founder and Vice-President of the non-profit Geonomy Society which is concerned with democratic rights to land and resource rents.
Gary's current interests in Ecological Economics focus on three areas: renewable energy, international sustainable development, and green taxes and common assets. He teaches renewable energy at UVM. His policy work focusses on implementation of green taxes and common assets in Vermont, ie: payment for the use of "the commons" with dividends paid to all of us.
Gary blogs on Vermont Commons at Third Way Economics.