Protecting Minnesota Ratepayers from Washington Inactionby Representative Erik Paulsen
Posted on 2013-12-10
PAULSEN. Mr. Speaker, recently, the D.C. Circuit Court ruled in
favor of America's energy ratepayers.
For more than 30 years, the Department of Energy has assessed a special tax and a special assessment on my constituents and the residents of 40 other States around the country who receive their electricity from nuclear power. Minnesotans have paid over $400 million alone. The stated reason for this tax: to pay for the disposal of used fuels generated from nuclear energy. To date, the total amount collected is more than $24 billion, but little of that money has even been spent.
Since 1987, the law of the land remains that Yucca Mountain is the site for geological storage of nuclear spent fuel. Unfortunately for ratepayers, partisanship and bickering in Washington have nearly halted the program from moving forward. In classic Washington fashion, even with all of this inaction, the tax has continued to be assessed and the moneys have continued to be collected.
Fortunately, this court action will bring an end to this, but just for now. I have long been an advocate of stopping these payments. The government is not doing what it promised to do with used fuel; yet millions of ratepayers are still being forced to foot the bill. Minnesotans and Americans should not be taxed for a service that the government is not providing.
Mr. Speaker, we should be expanding the development of nuclear energy. It is safe, it is clean, and it is renewable. Storing these used fuels is a critical piece of that effort, and we need a permanent solution, whether it is at Yucca Mountain or somewhere else.
It is reasonable and fair that if the administration is going to continue to drag its feet on a permanent storage site, as they have for several years now, then ratepayers and taxpayers should not be forced to fund inaction.
Mr. Speaker, I applaud the court's decision to protect Minnesota ratepayers and stopping these payments. In addition, it is time to get serious about the future of nuclear energy and moving forward with safe and proper storage facilities for the waste.