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SENATE ENERGY SPENDING TAKES NATION BACKWARD, SAYS NRDC

Billions Wasted on Fossil Fuels and Nuclear Power

Statement by NRDC Legislative Director Karen Wayland

WASHINGTON (June 29, 2006) -- The $30.7 billion Energy and Water Appropriations bill approved today by the Senate Appropriations Committee wastes billions of taxpayer dollars on highly polluting, expensive and unsafe energy technologies while providing relatively little for the renewable energy sources that best combat global warming, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

Below is a statement by NRDC Legislative Director Karen Wayland:

"The Senate Appropriations Committee today again missed an opportunity to put the nation on a path toward a clean, economical and safe energy future. It approved spending hundreds of millions of dollars on the uneconomic nuclear industry and the dirty fossil fuels of the past -- oil, gas and coal -- while nickel-and-diming the renewable energy sources we need to combat global warming.

"The total amount wasted on nuclear power -- $711 million -- is more than all of the money for biomass, solar, hydropower, geothermal, energy-efficient building technology and weatherization combined -- $687 million.

"Further, the bill paves the way for nuclear power -- and nuclear proliferation -- around the globe. It funds the administration's dirty and dangerous reprocessing program, Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP), at nearly $300 million -- well beyond the administration's request of $250 million. GNEP threatens our national security by creating more bomb-grade nuclear material that could be used by terrorists, and previous attempts at reprocessing have created environmental disasters in four states.

"The bill also boosts funding for nuclear weapons activities at near-record levels -- $6.5 billion -- even though the Cold War ended years ago.

"Then there's the myopic idea for an 'interim' surface storage facility for nuclear waste. This will eat up significant taxpayer dollars without contributing to the construction of a long-term permanent storage capability.

"The committee should be commended for the $213 million investment in biofuels, but the bill is so overloaded with spending on polluting energy sources that it provides no roadmap to a sustainable, clean energy future. We have the technology and the know-how to move our economy beyond fossil fuels and nuclear power and reduce global warming pollution safely and affordably, starting right now. What we need now is leadership and vision to make significant investments in clean, renewable energy sources."

The Natural Resources Defense Council is a national, nonprofit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. Founded in 1970, NRDC has 1.2 million members and online activists nationwide, served from offices in New York, Washington, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

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