DeLay's $25,000 Is Not Johnson's Only Radioactive Contribution
Exelon operates all six of Illinois's power plants (one through a subsidiary). TJW is not opposed to nuclear power, but TJW is opposed to nuclear power companies that are cavalier about the safety of local citizens. Exelon was in the news this morning for having to declare a state of emergency at a nuclear power plant in Illinois. And this is not Exelon's first major safety problem in Illinois -- there have been at least two other spills since 1998. (Republican Rep. Jerry Weller is apparently still trying to get Exelon to clean up the 1998 spill, which involved 3 million gallons of radioactive water.) Here's a more thorough accounting of Exelon's safety record. And here are safety allegations from an Exelon whistle-blower.
What does Exelon want for its contributions? According to Public Citizen:
Exelon is America's largest nuclear power plant operator with 10 nuclear power plants. Exelon spent $10.5 million since 2000 lobbying the federal government on hundreds of energy policy issues, from increasing federal subsidies to the nuclear industry, to easing regulations over the operation of its plants, to repeal of the Public Utility Holding Company Act, to subsidies. (Emphasis added; more on Exelon here.)According to NJ PIRG:
[I]n the Illinois Commerce Commission's most recent reliability assessment report, Exelon got very poor marks....For someone who fancies himself an environmentalist, Tim Johnson might want to explain why his biggest campaign contributor is a nuclear power company with a dubious safety record in Illinois!
And finally, Exelon has a penchant for putting profits before safety at their nuclear plants. Exelon has a history of cutting on-site staffing levels, lobbying for license extensions for aging plants, experimenting with increases in power output, firing staff for raising safety concerns, and delaying critical maintenance projects. (Emphasis added.)
*Exelon is tied for the quarter with the National Beer Wholesalers Association and for the cylce with the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners.