Council releases new action alert on nuclear bill HF561/SF390

The Iowa Environmental Council has released a new action alert calling on our supporters who live in districts represented by members of the Senate Commerce Committee to oppose the nuclear bill HF561/SF390.  A key vote on this legislation in the Senate Commerce Committee has been announced for tomorrow.

Here is our message to supporters with that alert:

This year and last year, the Iowa Environmental Council has opposed an effort by Iowa lawmakers to create a sweetheart deal for new nuclear power generation in Iowa. Even staff at the Iowa Utilities Board have criticized this legislation, HF561/SF390, for shifting the costs and risks of a new Iowa nuclear power plant to Iowa’s electric ratepayers–whether or not the plant is ever built.

Tomorrow, March 8, the Iowa Senate Commerce Committee is set to debate a new amendment to this legislation supporters say offers new consumer protections. However, those “protections” are inadequate, and the proposed amendment does not improve the bill:

  • Supporters of the proposed amendment say it would require MidAmerican to build the plant if the Iowa Utilities Board approves it, but the amendment would still allow the project to be cancelled if MidAmerican “is precluded” from completing the plant. If the project fails, Iowa’s electric ratepayers would still get no refund.
  • Supporters also say the proposed amendment would require MidAmerican to invest in the new project before it could pass those costs to consumers, but consumers would still pay up front for all of the planning, design, construction and other costs of the new plant, years or decades before the plant produces electricity–if it ever does.

The Iowa Environmental Council supports truly renewable sources of energy for Iowa, like wind and solar, as well as gains through energy efficiency. HF561/SF390–even as amended–gives nuclear power in Iowa special advantages that will make developing wind, solar, and other renewables more difficult for years to come.


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