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Senate Stimulus Package Shovels Unneeded Funds to Dirty, Dangerous Power Sources

January 29, 2009

While the need to move forward with an economic stimulus plan is evident, Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) points out that billions of dollars in the Senate draft for the stimulus package The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, S 336 - will be wasted on dirty and dangerous energy sources, particularly coal and nuclear power. 

The bill put forward by the Senate Appropriations Committee includes

  • $50 billion in loan guarantees available for nuclear power
  • $2 billion for "near-zero emissions" coal-fired power plants 
  • $1 billion for the Department of Energy's Clean Coal Power Initiative

Dr. Michael McCally, executive director for PSR, noted that “investing immediately in infrastructure needs is imperative.  But, these dollars being shoveled to the coal and nuclear industries will have no stimulative effect.  Instead they will promote dirty and dangerous power sources while increasing the public deficit with no beneficial returns.  We hope the Senate will strip these unnecessary funds during debate next week.”

No nuclear power plants have been constructed in the last three decades in large part because they are not financially viable and there is no solution to the waste products that will be dangerous for thousands of years into the future.  PSR believes nuclear power is both a threat to human health and a waste of taxpayer dollars.
 
These are mature industries that are neither clean nor renewable.  In fact, emissions from coal-fired power plants contribute significantly to cardiovascular and respiratory disease, while the two ash spills at Tennessee Valley Authority facilities are recent examples of how the burning of coal can be a catastrophic threat to water supplies and the public health.

“The clean, renewable energy programs promoted in this legislation are laudable and will create new, lasting employment.  However, for several decades the taxpayers have poured billions of dollars into so-called clean coal projects.  It is clear that there is no such thing as clean coal,” concluded McCally.

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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