by Max Brantley
FROM U.S. REP. VIC SNYDER'S OFFICE
The Searcy Daily Citizen published the attached op-ed on Friday, November 6, 2009, in their print edition. This piece was originally submitted to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in order to give some balance to a Democrat-Gazette op-ed by Congressman Mike Ross and a Democrat-Gazette editorial. However, the Democrat-Gazette decided not to print the piece. Congressman Snyder thought you might want to see what the Daily Citizen readers in White County were able to read.
Daily Citizen Article:
Nuclear power: Part of the solution
While the recent debate on health care reform has been spirited, another critical debate regarding America's energy future deserves attention. A key goal in the American Clean Energy and Security Act, which passed the House of Representatives recently, is to address the issue of climate change by encouraging efficiency and promoting the development and use of alternative energy. Critics of the bill have argued that the Clean Energy bill is flawed because it does not sufficiently promote the expansion of nuclear energy. A recent editorial in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette echoes that point of view.
These critics, however, stand at odds with leaders in the nuclear energy industry who want to expand nuclear power in America.
Wayne Leonard, president and CEO of Entergy Corp has stated that the bill moves toward establishing the necessary price signals for carbon dioxide to drive innovation and investment in energy efficiency and new energy technologies. John Rowe, chairman and CEO of Exelon which has the largest nuclear portfolio in the nation also has been vocal in his support of the bill. In fact, Exelon recently took the dramatic step of terminating its longtime membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce due to the chamber's opposition to this Clean Energy bill. Other large utilities with nuclear holdings, including PNM Resources and Pacific Gas and Electric, have also left the chamber because of their belief that the bill establishes a more stable business environment for nuclear power expansion while addressing climate change.
In addition to these business leaders, other nuclear experts have weighed in on the Clean Energy bill. The Nuclear Energy Institute perhaps the premier nuclear energy institute in the country asserted that "this legislation can help stimulate construction of the advanced design nuclear power plants that our nation needs. Additionally, a recent analysis of the bill by the Energy Information Administration revealed that it would result in an additional 96 gigawatts of new nuclear capacity (69 new units) by 2030. As a result, nuclear energy is projected to supply 33 percent of US electricity in 2030, more than any other source.
As I have said before, the Clean Energy bill is neither perfect nor final. Can it be improved? Of course. The Senate will soon debate its own version of energy legislation that will likely look much different than the bill passed by the House. As this legislative process progresses, I expect the bill to improve. I look forward to supporting a final bill that will promote nuclear and advanced technologies, promote renewable energy sources, and demonstrate America's leadership to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. For those of us who support expanded nuclear power in America, the Clean Energy bill is a significant step in the right direction. Just ask those who want to build nuclear power plants.
By: Vic Snyder (D), U.S. Representative for Arkansas.