September 18, 2007
MADISON - The Citizens Utility Board and Clean Wisconsin strongly disagree with the decision made today by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) to approve the sale of the Point Beach Nuclear Power Plant to an unregulated subsidiary of an out-of-state utility holding company.
In a 2-1 vote the PSC determined that the sale of the nuclear plant was in the public interest.
We Energies, the owner of Point Beach, agreed to sell the nuclear power plant in December 2006 to a subsidiary of FPL Energy, Inc., a utility holding company headquartered in Florida. "The sale of Point Beach to an out-of-state corporation continues Wisconsin's path down the misguided slope of energy deregulation," said Charlie Higley, CUB executive director. "The sale will lead to higher energy costs for We Energies' customers, more nuclear pollution, and loss of control over Wisconsin's nuclear future."
In testimony before the PSC, CUB and Clean Wisconsin contended that the sale would threaten the interests of Wisconsin residents and businesses by allowing an unregulated company to own and operate Point Beach. CUB and Clean Wisconsin argued that not only will electricity rates increase compared to We Energies continued ownership of the plant, but that the PSC will no longer have control over the future of the plant and oversight of nuclear waste generated and stored at the reactor.
"Today's decision turns Wisconsin's nuclear future over to out-of-state corporations," said Katie Nekola, Clean Wisconsin energy program director. "The sale will result in a Florida corporation generating more nuclear waste on the shore of Lake Michigan for decades even though there's no place to dispose of it, and the State of Wisconsin won't be able to do anything about it."
In today's decision, the PSC imposed "conditions" that purportedly bind FPL Energy and any future owner of Point Beach regarding storage of nuclear waste at the reactor and the clean-up of radioactive contamination at the site when the plant ceases to operate.
CUB and Clean Wisconsin pointed out in briefs to the PSC that the "conditions" will not be enforceable, which means that FPL Energy or a new owner of Point Beach can pursue their business interests at the reactor without fear of enforcement by the PSC.
"Transferring control of arguably the most dangerous industry in Wisconsin to a business not regulated by the State defies common sense," stated Higley. "Point Beach was built to serve the interests of Wisconsin's energy customers, not the profit interests of an out-of-state company."
The Citizens Utility Board of Wisconsin is a member-supported nonprofit organization that advocates for reliable and affordable utility service and that represents the interests of residential, farm, and small business customers of electric, natural gas, and telecommunication utilities before regulatory agencies and the courts.
Clean Wisconsin, an environmental advocacy organization, protects Wisconsin's clean water and air and advocates for clean energy by being an effective voice in the state legislature and by holding elected officials and corporations accountable. Founded in 1970 as Wisconsin's Environmental Decade, Clean Wisconsin exposes corporate polluters, makes sure existing environmental laws are enforced, and educates citizens and businesses.