Illinois Greens slam nuclear moratorium repeal and tire burning bills

Press release sent to

Phil Huckelberry
Illinois Green Party Chair

Patrick Kelly
Illinois Green Party Media Coordinator

Green Party leaders and candidates have expressed outrage at a recent
State Senate vote to repeal the Illinois moratorium against new
nuclear production. Senate Bill 3388 passed the Senate 40-1 on March
15, in an unexpected move after similar bills in previous years failed
to move beyond the floor of either chamber. SB3388 would delete the
provision in state law prohibiting the construction of new nuclear
facilities until the nuclear waste storage issue is resolved.

The problems with nuclear expansion have been thoroughly chronicled.
One such study is “The Nuclear Illusion”, written by Amory Lovins and
Imran Sheikh for Rocky Mountain Institute.

“Nuclear power is bad for the economy, bad for the environment, and
bad for the people of Illinois,” said George Ochsenfeld, Green
candidate for 79th State Representative (Peotone, Kankakee areas.)
“The idea that nuclear is a solution for any of our current problems
is pure fantasy. It is completely irresponsible for legislators to
champion it.”

Citing the work of the Nuclear Energy Information Service (NEIS),
Greens pointed to numerous problems associated with the expansion of
nuclear facilities in Illinois. These include the increasing
likelihood that Illinois will become a “temporary” regional high-level
dump state, involving the import of tons of radioactive waste into the
state; and the enabling of the GE Corporation to construct
environmental reactors at its Morris facility to test the
controversial reactor fuel reprocessing method which has been
discredited as expensive, polluting, and leading to nuclear weapons

Greens also pointed out that the expansion of nuclear production would
undermine the 2007 Renewable Energy Portfolio standard law requiring
that Illinois electric utilities produce 25% of their electricity from
renewable sources by 2025. Since nuclear is non-renewable and,
contrary to popular belief, is not a carbon-free source due to carbon
release in uranium processing, the expansion of nuclear power use in
Illinois could signal a serious setback to renewable energy
development in Illinois.

“The state should be focusing on enforcing and strengthening the
existing renewable portfolio standard,” said Rich Whitney, Green
candidate for Governor. “Three years into the program, we’re already
behind our goals. We need to look at policies and strategies to
actually meet and exceed these goals, including Feed-In Tariffs that
have been successful in Germany and elsewhere.”

Rather than strengthening existing standards, though, a bill which
recently made it out of committee would expand the definition of
“renewable energy” to include the burning of discarded tires.
Amendment 1 to House Bill 1470 was approved by the House Renewable
Energy Committee on March 16 by a 6-3 vote, with 5 of 6 Democrats
voting Yes. The amendment was introduced by Rep. David Miller (D-29),
who is now the Democratic nominee for State Comptroller.

“Apparently the Democrats think burning tires is not only a good
thing, but should even be classified as ‘renewable’,” said Jeremy
Karpen, Green candidate for 39th State Representative (Logan Square
neighborhood of Chicago.) “This is the most brazen misuse of
legislative authority I’ve seen anyone in the General Assembly try to
pull. This clear attempt to placate the corporate sector ignores the
health and environmental consequences of burning tires and represents
a step backward in energy technology. It’s as though they think that
you can keep burning the same tires over and over again.”

Reaffirming comments from last year, Greens also pointed to repealing
the nuclear moratorium as evidence of the pernicious influence of Pay
to Play in Illinois politics. The Illinois State Board of Elections
Campaign Disclosure site shows over 30 variations of the name Exelon
having contributed over $2,500,000 to candidates in Illinois since
2001. Many of these legislators are now listed as sponsors of the
moratorium repeal legislation.

“The campaign finance reform the legislature passed last year was a
joke, and everybody knows it,” said Vince LaMie, Green candidate for
105th State Rep (Champaign, McLean, Iroquois, Ford, and Livingston
Counties.) It’s time for public financing in Illinois, and the
loophole allowing legislative leaders to buy candidates needs to be
eliminated immediately.”

For more information, see:

Rich Whitney for Governor:
George Ochsenfeld for 79th State Representative:
Jeremy Karpen for 39th State Representative:
Vince LaMie for 105th State Representative:

Nuclear Energy Information Service:
“The Nuclear Illusion”:

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