Nukewatch Quarterly Fall 2020
Excerpted from Op/Ed by Tim Judson, David Kraft and Pat Marida, Augusta Free Press, 8 Sept. 2020
In Ohio, Republican House Speaker Larry Householder has been arrested, along with his chief of staff and three lobbyists. They were charged as co-conspirators in a [$60 million] bribery and racketeering scheme involving the passage of a controversial nuclear bailout. In Illinois, House Speaker and state Democratic Party Chair Michael Madigan is under investigation, while the state’s largest utility company, Commonwealth Edison (ComEd, a subsidiary of Exelon) is cooperating under a deferred prosecution agreement and paying $200 million in fines. The investigation includes ComEd’s maneuverings to attain a nuclear bailout….
Mr. Householder and his co-accused funneled dark money to statehouse candidates, all but one of whom voted for the bailout after getting into office. Then they conspired to kill a ballot measure seeking to repeal the bailout….
In Illinois, ComEd admitted that it provided $1.3 million in payments to associates of Speaker Madigan from 2011 through 2019. ComEd admitted that the payments were to curry favor with Madigan over matters important to the utility, including the nuclear bailout….
The $200-million slap-on-the-wrist that ComEd is paying in fines is less than one year’s worth of the $2.4 billion bailout it secured from the Illinois legislature….[T]he Illinois and Ohio subsidies are among the smaller ones: $7.6 billion for Exelon in New York; up to $3 billion for Exelon and PSEG in New Jersey; and a proposal for up $500 million per year for Exelon and FirstEnergy in Pennsylvania … have power companies done the same in other states, where even larger subsidies are on the table?…
Aging, uncompetitive nuclear reactors cannot keep up with the technological leaps and bounds and plummeting costs of renewable energy….
It’s time for lawmakers to repeal the nuclear bailouts and let the people of their states choose their energy future in an atmosphere free of corruption. If public opinion is any guide, they will always choose clean, renewable energy over dirty nuclear.