Nuclear Information and Resource Service & Union of Concerned Scientists – 2011-05-29 22:31:12
“CLEAN ENERGY” BANK WOULD ENABLE UNLIMITED TAXPAYER FUNDING OF NEW NUCLEAR REACTOR CONSTRUCTION â€¨â€¨
ACT NOW TO BLOCK “CEDA”!
Nuclear Information and Resource Service
â€¨WASHINGTON (May 25, 2011â€¨â€¨) â€“ On May 26, the Senate Energy Committee was scheduled to consider a bill establishing a new “clean energy” bank called the Clean Energy Development Administration (CEDA). â€¨â€¨Unfortunately, this “clean energy” bank is anything but a source for funding genuinely clean energy. In fact, both new nuclear reactors and certain coal projects would be eligible for unlimited taxpayer backed loans if this bank were to be realized. Fortunately the debate has been postposed, so there is still time to make your voices heard.
A press release from our friends at Union of Concerned Scientists with more background on CEDA is reprinted below. is here.â€¨â€¨
Please act quickly and tell your Senators — especially if they are on the Energy Committee (members listed below) — to reject CEDA as currently written. There is nothing “clean” about nuclear power, as a glance at any photo of Fukushima should make clear.
Unless nuclear power and dirty coal are taken out of the CEDA program, it should be defeated.â€¨â€¨
If one of your Senators is on the Energy Committee (members listed below), please also call him/her today and urge him/her to reject CEDA unless nuclear and coal are removed from the program. Senate switchboard: 202-224-3121.â€¨â€¨In other news, today NIRS hand-delivered to members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees a letter signed by more than 180 organizations and small businesses urging an end to the existing nuclear loan program.
Thanks to everyone who signed this letter! The letter and accompanying press release are available on the front page of NIRS website, www.nirs.org.â€¨â€¨
Senate Energy Committee
â€¨â€¨Democrats: Chairman Jeff Bingaman (NM)â€¨, Ron Wyden (OR)â€¨Tim Johnson (SD)â€¨, Mary L. Landrieu (LA)â€¨, Maria Cantwell (WA)â€¨Bernard Sanders (I) (VT)â€¨, Debbie Stabenow (MI)â€¨, Mark Udall (CO), â€¨Jeanne Shaheen (NH), â€¨Al Franken (MN), â€¨Joe Manchin (WV)â€¨, Christopher A. Coons (DE)â€¨
Republicans:â€¨ Lisa Murkowski (AK), â€¨John Barrasso (WY), â€¨James E. Risch (ID), â€¨Mike Lee (UT), â€¨Rand Paul (KY), â€¨Daniel Coats (IN)â€¨, Rob Portman (OH), â€¨John Hoeven (ND)â€¨, Dean Heller (NV)â€¨, Bob Corker (TN)
Senate Proposal for Clean Energy Bank
Needs Significant Improvement to
Protect Taxpayers, Science Group Says
Union of Concerned Scientists
WASHINGTON (May 24, 2011) — A proposal by Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) for a federal clean energy financing bank would expose US taxpayers to excessive risk, eliminate proper congressional oversight, and fail to guard against undue industry and Wall Street influence, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). The proposal, called the “Clean Energy Financing Act of 2011,” is one of several bills slated to be marked up on Thursday, May 26, by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Sen. Bingaman’s legislation is similar to language included in a bill passed in 2009 by the same committee as part of the American Clean Energy Leadership Act.
The proposed bank, the Clean Energy Deployment Administration (CEDA), would offer a range of federally backed financing options — including direct loans, letters of credit, and loan guarantees — for energy production, transmission and storage projects, and other technologies that would reduce global warming emissions and energy consumption. Renewable energy technologies, nuclear reactors, and coal carbon capture and storage projects all would qualify for assistance.
“A properly designed federal clean energy bank could help reduce financial risks associated with deploying innovative clean energy technologies, but a new loan guarantee program should not be used to provide unlimited financial support for mature, high-risk technologies with multibillion dollar price tags,” said Ellen Vancko, manager of UCS’s nuclear energy and climate change project.
UCS urges the Senate to modify Sen. Bingaman’s CEDA proposal to protect taxpayers and ensure that funding targets truly innovative clean energy technologies that have the potential to reduce the most global warming emissions at the lowest possible cost.
Specifically, the Senate should:
â€¢ Cap the amount of credit support that the bank can issue to limit taxpayer exposure;
â€¢ Subject CEDA to the Federal Credit Reform Act to ensure ongoing congressional oversight and budget authority;
â€¢ Remove provisions that would give loan guarantee applicants the ability to challenge the government’s estimated value of recovery in the event of default; and
â€¢ Ensure that any outside professional advisors retained by the bank are subject to strong conflict of interest requirements.
These modifications would reduce the overall risk of default to taxpayers and promote more cost-effective and environmentally acceptable alternatives.
The rationale behind CEDA is to support the commercialization of new innovative technologies, but the nuclear industry sees it as a vehicle to encourage construction of conventional reactors by lowering the cost of debt. The Nuclear Energy Institute, the lobbying arm of the nuclear power industry, has called CEDA “a permanent financing platform for new nuclear reactors.”
“Given the ongoing nuclear disaster at Fukushima,” said Vancko, â€œCongress should focus on what we need to do to address serious shortcomings in nuclear plant safety and security rather than find new and creative ways to provide the industry with even more subsidies than it already enjoys.
A recent UCS report, “Nuclear Power: Still Not Viable Without Subsidies,” found that the industry has been benefitting from a vast array of subsidies since its inception more than 50 years ago.
The Senate’s CEDA proposal is flawed because it favors larger capital-intensive projects over many cost-effective, low-carbon options, according to UCS. This is because the cost of debt is the biggest hurdle for large, costly projects, and CEDA would reduce the cost of debt by shifting the financial risk of these projects onto the taxpayer. There would be no restrictions on the size of the projects, or a limit on the amount of credit support that CEDA could provide.
In 2009, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that CEDA could provide $130 billion in loan guarantees to large nuclear and fossil fuel energy projects based on current applications alone. This would create an incentive for companies to use the program to finance large, risky projects with a higher return on investment instead of new, innovative technologies, or low-cost, low-risk energy efficiency projects.
The Senate’s new version of CEDA contains even fewer taxpayer protections than earlier proposals, while granting loan guarantee applicants the right to challenge the government’s assessment of a project’s value of recovery in the event of a default. That would give large project developers even greater leverage over the process.
“The Senate should adopt responsible, common-sense provisions to protect taxpayers and underwrite the development of a broad range of clean, cost-effective energy technologies,” Vancko said. “Without these protections, the financial risk to taxpayers could be astronomical.”
The Union of Concerned Scientists is the leading US science-based nonprofit organization working for a healthy environment and a safer world. Founded in 1969, UCS is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and also has offices in Berkeley, Chicago and Washington, D.C.
Tell President Obama to Reverse His Position on Nuclear Power
No CEDA Vote Yet in Senate Energy Committee; Still Time to Act
Nuclear Information and Resource Service
â€¨(May 27, 2011â€¨â€¨) — Our friends at Mothers for Peace in California have put together a new petition to President Obama urging him to reverse his support for nuclear power in light of Fukushima.â€¨â€¨ They are collecting signatures online and on paper, and will hand-deliver the signatures to the White House in mid-July.
But that’s only step one! Step two: download the petition here, then print out some copies. Ask your friends to sign, take them to your local food co-op, coffee shop, etc. Take them to meetings, festivals, concerts and the like and collect more signatures!
Thank you! 7,500 letters to the Senate have gone in opposing the “Clean Energy Development Administration” since our alert Wednesday afternoon! Great job!â€¨â€¨
The Senate Energy Committee met as scheduled yesterday and discussed CEDA, but did not vote on the measure. One reason is that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) was not present and wants to offer amendments to the bill (which are likely to be positive amendments, although we haven’t seen them yet). In addition, some Republicans were reportedly concerned about how to pay for this new bank–so don’t assume, just because you may live in a Red state — that your Senators will automatically support CEDA: they might not and your actions will help (for that matter, don’t assume, just because you live in a Blue state, that your Senators will oppose CEDA!). The committee will resume its work some time after next week’s Memorial Day recess.â€¨â€¨
That means there is still time for you to send in your letters and alert your friends and colleagues that this greenwash-named CEDA is really–in the words of the Nuclear Energy Institute — “a permanent financing platform for new nuclear reactors.”
â€¨â€¨You can send your letters opposing CEDA as currently proposed here.â€¨â€¨
And you can forward both the petition page and the CEDA action page to your friends on Facebook, Twitter and the like — just look for the handy icons on the top right of each page.
â€¨â€¨International friends: the CEDA action requires a U.S. address; the petition can be signed by anyone.â€¨â€¨
and Resource Serviceâ€¨firstname.lastname@example.orgâ€¨www.nirs.orgâ€¨â€¨Stay Informed!â€¨â€¨NIRS on Facebook:â€¨â€¨http://www.facebook.com/pages/Nuclear-Information-and-Resource-Service/26490791479?sk=wall&filter=12