A repost of a blog first published on September 30, 2014, the minority on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
From farmers to miners to rig workers to manufacturers and fishermen, EPW Republicans have been examining how the jobs in those industries and their way of life are being targeted by well-funded environmental activists whose primary goal is maximizing government control, particularly over the land, water, and resources utilized by private industries and individuals. Today focuses on nuclear facilities and energy production.
Economic Contribution of Nuclear Energy
With high output capability and low variable operating costs, nuclear energy is an indispensable contributor to our base-load electricity needs and will continue to be for years to come. The industry provides over 100,000 jobs and 19% of the country's electricity with over 100 nuclear reactors in the United States. Nuclear energy emits no carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, or nitrogen oxide. Nuclear energy facilities typically employ up to 3,500 people during construction and 400 to 700 people during operation, at salaries 36 percent higher than average in the plant's supply region.
Despite the obvious benefits of nuclear energy, the trend in the industry is unfortunately bleak. While U.S. electricity demand is expected to rise 28 percent by 2040: a new nuclear reactor has not opened for commercial operations since 1996, and four reactors were shut down in 2013.
Coordinated Lobbying Strategy
Far-left environmentalists and their allies in the U.S. Senate and the Obama Administration apparently fail to recognize the benefits of the nuclear energy industry. In fact, evidence suggests that there is a coordinated campaign, financed in part by the Billionaire's Club, which seeks to undermine the economic viability of the industry. These efforts have leveraged tremendous political pressure to influence the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and their decisions and have made it difficult to advance nuclear power.
At the forefront of this effort are Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), and their allies, including Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth (FOE) and the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). Each has advocated for the immediate shut down and decommissioning of nuclear facilities.
By attacking the industry at every turn, this coordinated campaign succeeded in obtaining the closure of the San Onofre Nuclear General Station (SONGS). Senator Boxer and her allies aggressively sought to shut down the facility by targeting a technical issue with one of the SONGS new steam generators - in spite of the fact that the concern had not caused any injuries. The NRC conducted an investigation into the integrity of the facility, and SONGS-owner and operator Southern California Edison (SCE) took corrective actions. Then SCE requested permission from the NRC to restart the plants.
The negative effects of a nuclear plant closure extend to more than just a diminished power supply. Economic hardship, job loss, and negative environmental impacts are the result of this coordinated attack on the industry. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, shutting down SONGS alone "changed the California electricity market," leading to less energy independence. It also resulted in "an extra 18 million tons of CO2 per year delivered to the atmosphere" and cost the state 1,500 local jobs and $50 million in lost revenue annually.
EPW Republicans will continue detailing exactly how these coordinated efforts are destroying jobs and punishing industries and families across America. Previous editions include:
- Collusion & Coordination to Shut Down the Oil & Gas Industry
- Environmental Collusion Attempts to Shutout Public Fishing
- Environmental Litigation to Shut Down Forestry Projects
 [A] http://www.epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Majority.PressReleases&ContentRecord_id=c0a594e4-802a-23ad-4c55-7578565a257a&Region_id=&Issue_id
 Tides Foundation IRS 990, 2010, 2011, 2012; Energy Foundation IRS Form 990, 2010, 2011, 2012; Rockefeller Brothers Fund IRS Form 990 2010, 2011, 2012; Park Foundation IRS Form 990, 2011, 2012; Rockefeller Family Fund IRS Form 990, 2011, Marisla Foundation IRS Form 990, 2010, 2012; Schmidt Family Foundation IRS Form 990, 2010, 2011; SeaChange Foundation IRS Form 990, 2011; Wallace Global Fund IRS Form 990, 2012.
 Tides Foundation IRS 990, 2010, 2011, 2012; Tides Foundation Grants Database 2013, available at http://www.tides.org/fileadmin/user/pdf/Tides_List_of_2013_Grantees.pdf ; Energy Foundation IRS Form 990, 2012; Energy Foundation Grants Database 2013, available at http://www.ef.org/grants-database/#!/keywords=friends%20of%20the%20earth; Rockefeller Brothers Fund IRS Form 990 2010, 2011, 2012; Park Foundation IRS Form 990, 2011, 2012; David and Lucile Packard Foundation IRS Form 990, 2010, 2011, 2012; Marisla Foundation IRS Form 990, 2010, 2012.
 ClimateWorks Foundation IRS Form 990, 2010, 2011, 2012; David and Lucile Packard Foundation IRS Form 990, 2010, 2012, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation IRS Form 990, 2010, 2011, 2012; Wallace Global Fund IRS Form 990, 2010, 2011, 2012; Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation IRS Form 990, 2011; Tides Foundation IRS Form 990, 2011, 2012; Energy Foundation IRS Form 990, 2010, 2011; Marisla Foundation IRS Form 990,2011, 2012; Rockefeller Family Fund IRS Form 990, 2011
 [A] http://a4nr.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/UCS-Seismic-Shift-Final.pdf
 [A] http://www.pge.com/en/safety/systemworks/dcpp/seismicsafety/report.page