Nuclear industry suffers major defeat in Iowa
Despite intense industry lobbying, Iowa Legislature adjourns without passing ill-advised nuclear ‘cost recovery’ bill
Des Moines, Iowa — In a major blow to the nuclear industry, the Iowa Legislature adjourned today without passing a bill that would have paved the way for MidAmerican Energy to charge ratepayers in advance for new nuclear reactor construction. The utility would have been allowed to keep the money even if construction was never completed.
MidAmerican lobbied extensively for the bill but Iowa ratepayer concerns about nuclear power doomed the proposal. A poll sponsored by the Des Moines Register in January found that over three quarters of Iowans were opposed to the measure.
“The failure of this nuclear bill shows that the Iowa Legislature is listening to the people of Iowa and not to the well-financed nuclear power industry or to MidAmerican Energy’s lobbyists” said Friends of the Earth Iowa Nuclear Campaigner Mike Carberry. “Wall Street refuses to fund these nuclear boondoggles and so do the private investors of MidAmerican Energy. Now the Iowa Legislature has stepped up and said no to Iowa ratepayer funding as well. And they have good reasons: nuclear reactors are dirty, dangerous, expensive, and produce highly radioactive waste for which there is no solution. Nuclear reactors are a failed 20th century technology — we need to convert over to 21st century clean, safe energy options including renewable energy like wind and solar, energy efficiency, and smart grid technologies.”
While the nuclear funding bill passed out of a senate committee on March 13 on a hard fought 8-7 vote, it never garnered enough support to pass the Senate. A similar bill passed in the Iowa House last year but also failed to pass the Senate.
Friends of the Earth worked with local and national groups including the Environmental Law and Policy Center, the Iowa Chapter of the Sierra Club, Green State Solutions, Iowa PIRG, Iowa Environmental Council, Iowa Farmers Union, Iowa Move to Amend, CREDO Action and Physicians for Social Responsibility in the debate about the cost recovery bill, taking out radio and TV ads, phoning more than 100,000 Iowans, and mobilizing thousands of activists who called and wrote their elected officials.
“This is a victory for all the people of Iowa,” said Damon Moglen, Friends of the Earth’s Climate and Energy Campaign Director. “Iowans and people across the country increasingly recognize that nuclear reactors are not only unsafe but they make no financial sense. Already a national leader in wind power, Iowa is providing a great example of how to move away from the dirty and dangerous energy sources of the past, and applying clean 21st century energy for the future.”
Mike Carberry, Friends of the Earth: (319) 594-6453
Damon Moglen, Friends of the Earth: (202) 222-0708