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As the legislative session nears its March 12th finale, please call on your legislators to oppose efforts to bring nuclear power to Utah (SJR 16) and restrict the rights of Utahns who care about the environment (HB 379), and support renewable energy development in our state (HB 430).

1) Vote “No” on Senator Hinkinsʼ Senate Joint Resolution Supporting Nuclear Power (SJR016)
Why would the Legislature pass a resolution declaring “nuclear power has been shown to be a viable cost effective option” -- when new nuclear power could cost double or triple1 what most Utahns pay today?

Why would the Legislature declare that “95% of the energy from a nuclear reactor's spent fuel has significant value” when recycling only 1% of spent fuel is uneconomical2 and the technology to recycle 95% of spent nuclear fuel has not been commercialized anywhere in the world and is unlikely to be for at least the next several decades3?

Why would the Legislature urge “that new nuclear power development be pursued within the boundaries of the state” (line 91) when a merchant nuclear power plant would sell its expensive electricity out-of-state while consuming Utahʼs water and leaving us with the high-level waste?

This bill smacks of conflict of interest.  It expresses "appreciation and admiration to merchant nuclear power developers" (read: Aaron Tilton, the former Utah legislator with plans to build a nuclear reactor in Green River) and is sponsored by the senator in whose district Aaron Tilton has his plans.

But the bottom line is the Legislature doesnʼt need to “declare” any of this; it should simply let the market decide.

Call your state representative and ask him or her to vote AGAINST Senate Resolution 16.  Here's a sample message you can leave:

"Hi, my name is ___ and I live in ___. I'm calling to ask you to vote against the Joint Resolution Supporting Nuclear Power (SJR 16). New nuclear power is very expensive, meaning it will raise our rates or be sold to other states that can afford it. Why should we support an industry that could use up our land and water and store high-level nuclear waste in our state for another state's benefit? Thank you."

You can look up legislators here.

2) Ask your legislators to oppose the Environmental Litigation Bond bill (HB 379)

Mike Noel (R-Kanab) is hoping to enshrine his anti-environment agenda into law and restrict access to the courts for those who care about the environment. This bill would require any Utahn who wants to challenge a state agency ruling on air, water, transportation, or land, to first put up tons of cash in the form of a bond “for damages that each defendant may sustain” as a result of the challenge.

That means if you believe the state makes a ruling that fails to protect your health or environment, say from pollution at MagCorp, you would first have to come up with enough cash to cover MagCorp’s potential financial losses from having to stop its polluting activity during your legal challenge.

It’s ludicrous and very likely unconstitutional. But despite the fact that governors Mike Leavitt and Jon Huntsman have already used their veto stamp on comparable legislation in 2002 and 2006, this bill sailed through the Natural Resources committee on Monday with a unanimous vote. It now moves on to the House floor.

Please ask your state representative to vote against the Environmental Litigation Bond bill (HB 379).

Please also call Gov. Huntsman at 801-538-1000 and ask him to veto this legislation (again), should it get to his desk.

For more information, click here.

3) Ask your legislators to vote YES on HB 430, the Economic Development Incentives for Alternative Energy Projects bill.

A renewable light at the end of the tunnel has appeared in the form of Rep. Kevin Garn’s HB 430, Economic Development Incentives for Alternative Energy Projects. If passed this bill would bring jobs to Utah in renewable energy generation and manufacturing. It allows for the establishment of clean energy zones and tax credits for companies that locate in these areas. At last, a real effort from our Legislature to promote renewable energy development in Utah!

Please ask your state representative to vote YES on HB 430, the Economic Development Incentives for Alternative Energy Projects bill.

(1) “Nuclearʼs Comeback: Still No Energy Panacea” TIME, 12/31/2008 (see pg. 3)
(2) “Nuclear Power Joint Fact Finding” The Keystone Center, 6/2007 (see pg. 18)
(3) “Plutonium Topic Strategy--Current Position” UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, 1/30/2009 (see pg. 6)