Senate Republicans on Monday are set to intensify their campaign against President Barack Obamas proposal to cap carbon emissions with a hearing promoting the use of nuclear power.
Three Republicans Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) and Sens. John McCain (Ariz.) and Jim Bunning (Ky.) are slated to participate in the hearing, which was scheduled to coincide with renewed efforts by House Democrats to pass a cap-and-trade energy bill before the July Fourth recess.
Even as Democrats continue work on energy legislation in the Senate, Republicans are hoping to poison the well for cap-and-trade policies long before a final bill has a chance to advance to the floor. Senate Republicans also hope their plan to limit greenhouse gasses by expanding the use of nuclear power will influence the energy debate in the House, possibly derailing the move by Democrats there to pass the cap-and-trade bill.
Climate change might be the inconvenient problem, but nuclear power is the inconvenient answer, Alexander said Friday during a telephone interview. We want a rebirth of industrial America. We want to create jobs.
During the hearing, which will include energy industry representatives, Republican Senators will propose building 100 new nuclear power plants over the next 20 years. Republicans claim that nuclear energy is both a cost-effective way to satisfy Americans growing energy appetite and more economically sound than penalizing business with a tax on emissions.
Alexander said Mondays hearing is the beginning of an aggressive push by Senate Republicans to offer an alternative to Democratic energy policies. The Tennessean said Republicans plan to develop and offer amendments to bills that would lay the legislative foundation to achieve their goal of building 100 nuclear power plants in two decades.
Congressional Democrats tend to be wary of nuclear power, with their allies in the environmental movement downright hostile. On Friday, a group of environmental activists held a news conference in Sacramento to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the shutdown of the Rancho Seco nuclear power plant that had previously operated in Californias state capital.
Proposed new nuclear reactors would simply be too expensive and also take too long to build, said Scott Denman, former executive director of the Safe Energy Communication Council. Its time to give wind, geothermal, solar and energy efficiency its first real chance. New reactors would lead us to more lemons like Rancho Seco, deeper national financial debt and further economic crisis.
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