Door Opens for Clean Energy Future

"We may not need any [new nuclear or coal plants], ever," the chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Jon Wellinghoff told reporters at a US Energy Association forum on April 21. His comments outlined the prospects of a far stronger safe energy position than anything previous from the Obama administration.

It is a direct challenge to the current wisdom which supports greater energy efficiency and the growth of renewable energy sources, but also includes expanded nuclear power and the fantasy of "clean" coal. While this "both and" approach sounds reasonable - who doesn't support "diversity" after all - it will prevent the rapid changes required to avert the worst effects of global warming.
1979 cover of the SPC Peace Calendar

At Peace Action's recent conference in Syracuse, Paul and Linda Gunter of Beyond Nuclear made the case that given the limited funds, any money spent on expensive and slow to build coal and nuclear plants will prevent the massive investments in energy efficiency, wind and solar technologies which can be brought on line in just a couple of years.

Unsurprisingly, Wellinghof's remarks unleashed a major pushback from the coal and nuclear industries, powerful, deep-pocketed lobbying interests in DC and around the country. A month later, speaking to the Nuclear Energy Institute, he backtracked part way, saying "It is conceivable in this scenario that you may not need large central station plants. That's one scenario….

"There may be other scenarios that are rational as well, including incorporating significant nuclear and coal into our system."

We are at a moment of choice for our energy future.

Iroquois Chapter of the Sierra Club, Linda DeStefano (Conservation Chair): 488-2140 (9 am-11 pm),

Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Dereth Glance: 472-1339,

Nuclear Information & Resource Service:

Some in Washington have opened the door to a major shift in energy policy. Those whose profits would sink are fighting desperately to maintain the status quo. We who have a different vision - one based on community not consumption, where taking care of the Earth is central, where people trump profits - must step up to the plate. We have already beaten back several efforts in congressional committees to slip pro-nuke clauses into legislation.

The Syracuse Peace Council has educated, agitated and organized for a clean energy future since at least 1975, including the publication of several anti-nuclear/clean calendars in the late 1970s.

-Andy Mager