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President Signs Omnibus Spending Bill, Promotes Security and Nuclear Non-Proliferation

March 11, 2009

(Washington, DC)  Today President Obama signed the Fiscal Year 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act, H.R. 1105, which continues the policy shift away from the build up of nuclear weapons and toward efforts to stabilize U.S. relations throughout the world.

The Energy and Water title of the bill provides no funding for the reliable replacement warhead — a new nuclear weapon proposed by the previous Bush administration — and does not provide appropriations for expansion at National Nuclear Security Administration sites, which are responsible for U.S. nuclear weapons manufacturing. These levels also reflect the outline for spending put forth in the administration’s budget for fiscal year 2010.

In contrast, the bill increases spending for the Global Threat Reduction Initiative and nuclear non-proliferation programs, two programs designed to deter the build up and use of nuclear weapons.

Dr. Peter Wilk, executive director for PSR, noted that “this marks a new direction for the United States, one which seems to be reflected by the new administration.  We hope this is the first step toward the reduction and ultimate elimination of nuclear weapons on a global scale.”

Unfortunately, the Energy and Water title of the bill also provides funding for coal and nuclear power, two of the dirtiest and most dangerous energy sources available.  “Continued burning of coal and taxpayer support for the nuclear power industry do not represent positive change.  We know that energy efficiency and conservation will provide for initial changes in energy use, and clean, renewable energy development will answer growing demand.  PSR believes the U.S. needs to be the leader in implementation of clean, renewable energy sources of the future,” added Wilk.

It also is notable that the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP), which seeks to create domestic and international nuclear fuel supplies, receives no funding in the bill.  While there is controversy about the amount of spending in the legislation, PSR is encouraged by many of the provisions in the legislation that will support clean, renewable energy.

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

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