December 3, 2009

Statement of Charlie Higley, Executive Director

"Despite the inaccurate assertions by Rep. Mike Huebsch, the Citizens Utility Board supports the recommendations issued in July 2008 by Governor Jim Doyle's Task Force on Global Warming, including the recommendation to modify the so-called nuclear moratorium.

"On December 1, Rep. Mike Huebsch issued a statement saying that CUB is 'walking away' from supporting the task force recommendations, and that we 'oppose an integral piece' of the legislation being drafted to enact the recommendations, namely the task force's recommendation to modify the nuclear moratorium. In a report from the Wisconsin Radio Network dated December 1, Rep. Huebsch is quoted as saying that CUB was lying when we voted in favor of the task force recommendations.

"Rep. Huebsch is wrong and appears to be intentionally misrepresenting our position. CUB has supported the task force recommendations, including the recommendation to modify the nuclear moratorium, since we voted in favor of the recommendations as a task force member in July 2008.

"Giving Rep. Huebsch the benefit of the doubt -- perhaps he misunderstood CUB's position -- on December 2 I delivered a letter to Rep. Huebsch, reiterating CUB's support for the task force recommendations, including the recommendation to modify the nuclear moratorium. I also asked if he would issue a retraction, but at the time of this release, I have not heard from Rep. Huebsch regarding this issue.

"During a press conference on December 1 sponsored by the Carbon Free, Nuclear Free Wisconsin Coalition, I specifically mentioned that CUB supports the task force recommendation to modify the nuclear moratorium, but that we continue to oppose bills that would repeal the nuclear moratorium outright, such as AB 516 and SB 340, which are cosponsored by Rep. Huebsch.

"Evidently, Rep. Huebsch is confused by the difference between 'modify' and 'repeal.'

"Realizing that many task force members supported the outright repeal of the nuclear moratorium, CUB supported a compromise: the moratorium's requirement that 'a federally licensed facility... will be available... for disposal of the waste' would be replaced by a requirement that 'the [Public Service Commission of Wisconsin] must find that the nuclear waste plan for the plant is economic, reasonable, stringent, and in the public interest, given the safety and other risks presented by such waste.'

"In addition, the task force recommended that any new nuclear plant 'must be built to meet Wisconsin electricity needs at a cost that is reasonable and advantageous to customers in comparison with available alternatives....' and that this requirement would apply to nuclear plants proposed by utilities and non-utilities alike. This recommendation retains the nuclear moratorium's current requirement that a new nuclear power plant must be 'economically advantageous to ratepayers' before the Public Service Commission can authorize construction.

"Finally, the task force recommended that these changes to the nuclear moratorium can occur only upon (1) enactment of a 25% by 2025 requirement for renewable electricity and (2) enactment or establishment of much larger investments in energy efficiency programs.

"When the task force recommendations are considered as a package, CUB supports the modifications to the nuclear moratorium as described above.

"Rep. Huebsch's statement that CUB '[has pulled its] support from certain sections of the [task force] recommendations' is not true, and he is undermining his credibility by not setting the record straight."

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The Citizens Utility Board of Wisconsin is a member-supported nonprofit organization that advocates for reliable and affordable utility service. CUB represents the interests of residential, farm, and small business customers of electric, natural gas, and telecommunication utilities before the Legislature, regulatory agencies, and the courts. For more information, visit www.wiscub.org.