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Sanders, Leahy push pollution reduction bill

BRATTLEBORO -- There is no place for the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Sen. Bernard Sanders' plan to combat greenhouse gas emissions. Monday, Sanders announced he was reintroducing an ambitious bill to reduce pollution associated with global warming. The bill was first introduced by his predecessor, Jim Jeffords. Sanders is co-sponsoring the bill with fellow Vermonter, Sen. Patrick Leahy. When asked how nuclear power fits into the Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act, Sanders replied, "it doesn't." "Our bill focuses on energy efficiency and it focuses on sustainability. It doesn't deal with nuclear power," said Sanders, in a telephone interview Monday night. Sanders said there was one major reason why nuclear power doesn't belong in the act. "We are dealing with highly toxic radioactive substances and we don't know of a way to dispose of them safely," he said.

BRATTLEBORO -- There is no place for the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Sen. Bernard Sanders' plan to combat greenhouse gas emissions.

Monday, Sanders announced he was reintroducing an ambitious bill to reduce pollution associated with global warming. The bill was first introduced by his predecessor, Jim Jeffords.

Sanders is co-sponsoring the bill with fellow Vermonter, Sen. Patrick Leahy.

When asked how nuclear power fits into the Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act, Sanders replied, "it doesn't."

"Our bill focuses on energy efficiency and it focuses on sustainability. It doesn't deal with nuclear power," said Sanders, in a telephone interview Monday night.

Sanders said there was one major reason why nuclear power doesn't belong in the act.

"We are dealing with highly toxic radioactive substances and we don't know of a way to dispose of them safely," he said.

Not only that, he added, the costs involved in constructing new nuclear power plants is prohibitive, requiring subsidies from the federal government.

"I don't know why you would build a nuclear power plant," said Sanders. "It is very expensive."

Sanders said it would be wiser to invest the money in alternative energies. If the... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

BRATTLEBORO -- There is no place for the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Sen. Bernard Sanders' plan to combat greenhouse gas emissions.

Monday, Sanders announced he was reintroducing an ambitious bill to reduce pollution associated with global warming. The bill was first introduced by his predecessor, Jim Jeffords.

Sanders is co-sponsoring the bill with fellow Vermonter, Sen. Patrick Leahy.

When asked how nuclear power fits into the Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act, Sanders replied, "it doesn't."

"Our bill focuses on energy efficiency and it focuses on sustainability. It doesn't deal with nuclear power," said Sanders, in a telephone interview Monday night.

Sanders said there was one major reason why nuclear power doesn't belong in the act.

"We are dealing with highly toxic radioactive substances and we don't know of a way to dispose of them safely," he said.

Not only that, he added, the costs involved in constructing new nuclear power plants is prohibitive, requiring subsidies from the federal government.

"I don't know why you would build a nuclear power plant," said Sanders. "It is very expensive."

Sanders said it would be wiser to invest the money in alternative energies. If the nation were to invest in sustainable energy such as wind, solar, hydrogen, biofuels and geothermal, "we will make huge breakthroughs," he said.

The nuclear power industry has been touting the fact that its power plants are carbon-emissions free. As a member of the Vermont Energy Partnership, it has hired specialists like Patrick Moore, a co-founder of Greenpeace who now endorses nuclear power as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to speak about the issue to state legislators and residents.

Recently, the electric power industry and the Department of Energy issued a report claiming carbon emissions are down in the electric power sector. They attribute this to increased electricity production from nuclear power plants.

According to the report, issued by the Power Partners, of which the nuclear industry is a member, the NRC has authorized 66 power "uprates" with a cumulative capacity increase of nearly 2,910 megawatts. Vermont Yankee was one of those plants that received an uprate authorization.

For one New England activist, Remy Chevalier of Weston, Conn., the rebranding of nuclear power is disturbing.

"Nuclear is not green by any stretch of the imagination," said Chevalier, an opponent of the Indian Point nuclear power plant on the Hudson River in New York. Indian Point, Pilgrim in Plymouth, Mass., and Vermont Yankee are owned by Entergy, which is asking the NRC to relicense all three.

Chevalier said nuclear power is a risky way for Americans to get their electricity, "especially today, at a time when all these plants are getting quite old, and when alternatives are now viable and economical."

"The good news is that we know how to address the problem," said Sanders, in a press release. "The bad new is that, for many years now, government policy has been totally inadequate."

The legislation, due to be introduced today in the Senate, would cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by the middle of the century. The measure is supported by a variety of environmental groups, including Greenpeace US, the Sierra Club, the National Audubon Society and the Union of Concerned Scientists.

To reach its goals, the bill would use a combination of mandatory reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by setting strict standards for electric power plants and vehicles. It would encourage conservation and new, cleaner energy technologies.

"The concept is simple. Not only will this move our country toward efficient, sustainable energy sources, it will also help us create millions of good-paying jobs in the process," said Sanders.

The act aims to prevent the world's temperature from rising 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit above the average temperature in the 1700s, before the Industrial Revolution.

The proposal carries new regulations that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions from new cars and trucks, and new and existing power plants over the next 43 years. It would also require the use of renewable energy sources in the production of 20 percent of the nation's electricity by 2020.

The bill would reduce the emission of carbon dioxide and other gases by 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. Emission levels would be reduced in phases: one-third of the target reduction would occur by 2030, two-thirds by 2040 and in full by 2050.

Eight other senators are co-sponsoring the bill with the Vermont delegation. They include California's Barbara Boxer and the Bay State's Edward Kennedy.

"I am pleased that Sen. Sanders has lost no time in placing comprehensive global warming legislation before the U.S. Senate, and proud that work I did last year will not be lost," Jeffords, who retired last year, said in a statement. "Bernie clearly understands that global warming is the most serious environmental problem confronting the United States and the world, and that federal action is long past due," he added.

The Associated Press and Evan Lehman contributed to this story.

Bob Audette can be reached at raudette@reformer.com or (802) 254-2311, ext. 273.


Source: http://www.reformer.com/hea...

JAN 16 2007
https://www.windaction.org/posts/6804-sanders-leahy-push-pollution-reduction-bill
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