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Physicians Applaud Conferees for Negotiating a Cleaner, Healthier Stimulus Bill

February 12, 2009

(Washington, DC) Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) applauds the efforts of conferees to strip unnecessary funding from the stimulus bill -- The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act -- while promoting cleaner energy choices that will help to reduce the pollutants impacting America’s health.  In particular PSR opposed funding for dirty and dangerous energy sources like coal and nuclear power. 

“The actions by conferees show that we do have real change in Washington.  Coal and nuclear power represent real threats to Americans, both from the toxic pollutants that are emitted every day from coal-fired power plants and from the catastrophic implications of a nuclear accident.  We need to move toward clean, renewable energy sources that also will help mitigate global warming, and it appears the Congress and President Obama will provide that leadership,” stated Dr. Peter Wilk, executive director for PSR.

Funds for loan guarantees that would have supported nuclear power and coal liquification were struck by conferees.  In addition, $2 billion for a coal “future generation” plant was eliminated.

Valuable spending that remains in the bill includes $6 billion to clean up hazardous waste sites remaining after years of neglect by the Department of Energy (DOE).  PSR also opposed $1 billion that had been included by the Senate to expand operations at the DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), which operates nuclear weapons labs at many of the facilities that need environmental remediation.  The funds for the NNSA were removed in conference.

“We need to continue the effort to clean up the nation’s nuclear research waste.  The legacy of the impacts on the environment and people from this highly radioactive waste must be dealt with -- not exacerbated by the same agency that created the problems,” added Wilk.  “Now, PSR hopes the Congress will pass the stimulus bill and get it to the president immediately.”

Physicians for Social Responsibility works to eliminate the gravest threats to human health and survival, with a focus on nuclear and environmental threats.  For more information please contact Will Callaway at 202-667-4260 or wcallaway@psr.org.

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