WASHINGTON—According to news service reports, President Bill Clinton today is expected to veto the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2000 (S.1287). The legislation passed the U.S. Senate 64-34 on Feb. 10, and the U.S. House of Representatives 253-167 on March 22. The following is a statement by Joe F. Colvin, president and chief executive officer of the Nuclear Energy Institute, in response to the expected veto by President Clinton.
"By rejecting a legislative compromise shaped by large, bipartisan majorities in both houses of Congress, President Clinton has failed to connect the dots of a reasoned energy policy that advances the national interest.
"Our nation’s need for nuclear energy has rarely been more evident than it is today. Oil prices are up. Air quality is a significant health and environmental issue, ranging all the way from local and state concerns about smog and acid rain to international efforts to address the threat of global warming. Restructuring of the nation’s electric utility industry is in high gear, with decision makers at the state and federal levels determined to ensure consumers that they will continue to have reliable, affordable sources of electricity.
"Despite all these factors, and despite the fact that Congress placed before him legislation that addresses every one of the Administration’s stated objections, President Clinton has shown an inexplicable disconnect between his pro-environment goals and his environmental actions. With his veto of the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act, he has missed a tremendous opportunity to maximize the benefits that emission-free nuclear energy provides to U.S. society, the environment and the economy.
"The federal government’s nuclear waste management program is 12 years behind schedule. Consumers of nuclear-generated electricity already have committed to the government more than $16 billion for an environmental stewardship program they have not received. S.1287 clearly is an essential step forward and would help the government fulfill its obligation to the American people to efficiently manage and safely isolate used nuclear fuel. The nuclear energy industry now looks to Congress to override the president’s veto and provide the environmental leadership that is absent at the White House."
The Nuclear Energy Institute is the nuclear energy industry’s policy organization. This news release and additional information about nuclear energy are available on NEI’s Internet site at http://www.nei.org.