Energy, Transportation & Environment: Resolution ETE-10-06

SUPPORTING THE INCLUSION OF NUCLEAR ENERGY AS A VALUABLE PART OF THE U.S. ENERGY PORTFOLIO AND A SOURCE OF DEVELOPMENT FOR MINORITYOWNED BUSINESSES ALREADY IN AND WISHING TO ENTER THE ENERGY PRODUCTION INDUSTRY

WHEREAS, the National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL) believes that environmentally responsible and equitable job preservation and job creation are desirable and achievable overarching objectives for U.S. policymakers to pursue as previously stipulated in the passed resolutions of PS-ETE-08-05, PH-ETE-08-33, LSLMV- 08-11, PH-ETE-09-23; and

WHEREAS, nuclear power plants provide high-paying, stable employment and garner public acceptance in the communities in which they operate, generating nearly a half-billion dollars in yearly economic activity and nearly $100 million in state, local and federal taxes annually; and

WHEREAS, America’s 104 nuclear plants generate 20 percent of the electricity for our homes and businesses, every day around the clock, without emitting pollutants or greenhouse gases into the atmosphere; and

WHEREAS, the nuclear industry’s continually improving safety record, growing public support, steadily improving performance and indispensability as a component of U.S. energy security and environmental protection strategies has bolstered the industry’s expansion plans, and prompted submission of applications to build some 25 new nuclear plants, which will provide employment for as many as 2,400 workers during a four-year construction phase, with 400 to 700 permanent operations jobs which cannot be off shored; and

WHEREAS, anticipation of a new wave of nuclear plant construction -- four to eight new plants are expected to be completed by 2017 -- already has spurred private investment of more than $4 billion and creation of some 16,000 new jobs in the just the past several years in domestic nuclear industry construction, components manufacturing and service sectors, one of the most tangible examples of the “green jobs” economy long espoused by NBCSL; and

WHEREAS, the nuclear industry is working with community colleges around the country to develop and implement education and training programs for enabling more students to enter the nuclear workforce and benefit from good jobs, excellent benefits and community enhancement; and

WHEREAS, policies have been adopted at both the federal and state levels to assist the nuclear power and supplier industries in embarking on a vigorous expansion program, ranging from the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct) Title XVII clean energy loan guarantee program to various state legislation and regulation allowing for early cost recovery for new project construction, all with the intent of insulating federal taxpayers from project risk and reducing final project costs for consumers; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. Department of Energy under President Obama has proposed revised rules for the EPAct Title XVII that are more workable than the previous rules for the program, which presently authorizes $18.5 billion in loan guarantee volume to fund the first three to four new nuclear projects to provide the hosts of energy security, environmental, economic and social benefits enumerated above; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. commercial nuclear industry continues to pursue a comprehensive integrated strategy of used fuel management that includes: safe ongoing on-site fuel storage; potential interim fuel storage in willing host communities; research of recycling technologies to maximize fuel’s energy potential and eventually close the nuclear fuel cycle by an economical, proliferation-resistant method; and eventual permanent disposal of some fuel products in one or more repositories; and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NBCSL supports exploring the development of safe, secure and economically beneficial new nuclear plants in the United States with renewed urgency to enhance our energy security, help the country reach our clean air objectives and provide support for strong economies and develop thousands of good paying jobs and provide educational opportunities; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NBCSL calls upon its legislative members to examine state initiatives that provide financial backing of new clean air technologies, including nuclear and to examine legislation that would overturn and repeal state bans on nuclear power plant construction; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NBCSL finds promise in the creation of a permanent federal financing platform similar to the Clean Energy Deployment Administration concept that enjoys significant bipartisan, bicameral support in Congress to provide loans, loan guarantees and other credit support to clean energy technologies, including new nuclear power plants and new nuclear equipment manufacturing facilities as long as such a platform would carry with it the requirement that nuclear energy utilities meet at least a 20 percent minority-owned business compliment in all tier I and tier II supplier contracts of the nuclear energy industry; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the NBCSL urges Congress to provide tax incentives for investments in nuclear power plants, new nuclear-related manufacturing and minority workforce development for the outreach and hiring of minorities to operate nuclear power plants, and expand existing production tax credits provided by EPAct 2005; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NBCSL is very concerned about the siting and transporting of nuclear waste especially given the history of other energy wastes being deposited in communities of color; and as a result of this concern urges the U.S. Congress to explore resources in improving innovation around nuclear spent fuel recycling technology; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the NBCSL supports creation of a National Blue Ribbon Commission to provide long term policy guidance for used fuel recycling and eventual disposal with the requirement the Commission be comprised of 25 percent minorities representing both the public and private sectors; and

NOW, BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that a copy of this Resolution be transmitted to the President of the United States, the Vice President, Members of the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate and other federal and state government officials as appropriate.

SPONSOR(S): Resolution Senator Anthony C. “Tony” Hill, Sr. (FL)
Committee of Jurisdiction: Energy, Transportation and the Environment Policy Committee
Certified by Committee Chair: Representative Bill Crawford (IN)
Ratified in Plenary Session: Ratification Date is December 4, 2009
Ratification is certified by: Representative Calvin Smyre (GA), President