[ RadSafe ] Fwd: Re: WORTH READING
maurysis at peoplepc.com
Thu May 24 21:47:59 CDT 2012
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: WORTH READING
Date: Thu, 24 May 2012 21:44:25 -0500
From: Maury <maurysis at peoplepc.com>
To: Vicki Bier <bier at engr.wisc.edu>
CC: Richard Boltuck <rboltuck at verizon.net>, Charlie at ccremer.com
Hopefully it all might be delayed until the next Congress. I don't know
about Yucca, but it is absurd to have an NRC Chair who opposes nuclear
On 5/24/2012 9:16 PM, Vicki Bier wrote:
> Latest on the goings on at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
> Macfarlane-Svinicki pairing gives edge to Democrats
> By Darius Dixon
> 5/24/12 8:06 PM EDT
> By nominating Allison Macfarlane on Thursday to chair the NRC, the
> Obama administration and Senate Democrats are aiming to squeeze as
> many GOP concessions as they can out of Commissioner Kristine
> Svinicki's reconfirmation.
> Like outgoing NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko, Macfarlane is a critic of
> the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository and a favorite of Senate
> Majority Leader Harry Reid - two elements that would normally stir up
> Republican antipathy.
> But now Democrats can pair her confirmation with that of Svinicki, a
> GOP favorite whose current term expires at the end of June.
> Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid immediately endorsed the idea of
> pairing the two nominations, and Environment and Public Works
> Chairwoman Barbara Boxer announced that her panel will hold a joint
> hearing on Macfarlane and Svinicki in June. Reid and Boxer had
> previously opposed a new term for Svinicki, accusing her of lying to
> Congress about her role in Yucca.
> Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said the pairing could be a sour deal for
> "The [NRC] chair sets the policy, so I think that might be an unfair
> bargain," he said. "But that doesn't surprise me, considering Sen.
> Reid suggested it, assuming again we just fell off the turnip truck."
> Although McCain was skeptical that many Republicans would sign up for
> such a deal, he noted that the alternative is keeping Jaczko as
> chairman. "We're now approaching the month of June, we're in an
> election season," McCain said. "It is what it is."
> But for now, some Republicans seem willing to take their poison pill
> if it means they get to keep Svinicki on the commission for another
> five-year term.
> Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell kept a measured tone about
> Macfarlane's nomination. "While she was not my choice, she's certain
> to be an improvement over the incumbent. And I'm glad to see Democrats
> dropping their holds on Kristine Svinicki," he said in a statement to
> Senate EPW ranking member Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) wasn't keen on
> Macfarlane either but said, "Frankly, I appreciate Harry Reid helping
> us move this forward."
> "I didn't expect to get a nominee from the White House that I would be
> happy with for a chairman, but Svinicki is very important to get her
> back on," Inhofe told reporters. "And I think that by having a hearing
> where we have both of them, I feel good about that, and we'll be able
> to move on it."
> As for Macfarlane, he said, "I know about her and I know that she is
> not philosophically where I would want to support her, just from what
> I know about her." On the other hand, Inhofe added, "We need to get
> the commission going again."
> Macfarlane, a geologist and an associate professor of environmental
> science and policy at George Mason University, is a well-known figure
> in nuclear policy circles, in part because Reid tried to push her onto
> the NRC leadership in 2007. She has also co-edited a book that
> "explores the unresolved technical issues for nuclear waste disposal
> at Yucca Mountain."
> Former NRC staff members said Macfarlane's previous candidacy was
> upended at the time partly because of fierce opposition from longtime
> Democratic NRC Commissioner Ed McGaffigan Jr., who, after being
> diagnosed with melanoma, had offered to resign if President George W.
> Bush would find a replacement. But when Macfarlane's name came up,
> McGaffigan reneged on his offer and stayed on the commission until his
> death in September 2007.
> Even if Macfarlane wins confirmation this time, Democrats could face a
> difficult renomination fight to keep her there after she finishes
> Jaczko's term, which expires in June 2013.
> Meanwhile, securing a new term for Svinicki now means that Republicans
> wouldn't have to defend a GOP seat on the commission until 2016, when
> Commissioner William Ostendorff's term expires.
> Some lawmakers were noncommittal about Macfarlane, including Sen. Lisa
> Murkowski (R-Alaska), who said she didn't know enough about Macfarlane
> to judge her capabilities. But Murkowski, the top Republican on the
> Energy and Natural Resources Committee, praised the White House for
> nominating someone quickly. She added that pairing Jaczko's
> replacement with Svinicki "makes sense, and it kind of takes care of a
> couple of different things."
> "While I want to make sure that we get the right person, I'm also very
> cognizant that we don't need gaps over at the regulatory commissions,"
> Murkowski said. "I'm hopeful that now that her name has come down, the
> committees will move on this and will be able to, hopefully, get this
> all tied up by the end of June so that Svinicki can get through that
> process too." Murkowski also wasn't moved to fight Macfarlane's
> candidacy over her positions on Yucca Mountain.
> "Where are we going to find someone who hasn't taken a position one
> way or another on Yucca?" she said with a chuckle. "I'm looking for
> somebody that has integrity, credibility, knowledge with what goes on
> within the nuclear sector."
> Although withholding judgment on how effective she would be as NRC
> chief, Heritage Foundation nuclear expert Jack Spencer said
> Macfarlane's nomination will once again put Yucca Mountain at "center
> stage" politically.
> "The nomination of Dr. Macfarlane is not a surprise," Spencer said.
> "The question will be whether or not she can check her previous
> positions at the door and take on the role of an objective regulator.
> That certainly seemed to be a challenge for Dr. Jaczko when it came to
> Yucca Mountain."
> The confirmation process "provides a great opportunity to confront and
> resolve all of the unnecessary delay tactics regarding Yucca's fate,"
> Spencer said.
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