Friday, September 19th, 2014

Walk-O-Meter

Lift nuclear moratorium

Will "lift Wisconsin’s nuclear moratorium to encourage this clean energy option and ensure that we continue to invest in energy transmission to move power from outside Wisconsin across the state."


Subjects: Energy

Updates

Some talk, but no action and no more session days scheduled

As a candidate for governor in 2010, Scott Walker promised to lift the state's moratorium on nuclear energy.

It was a position that Walker's predecessor, Democrat Jim Doyle, had supported.

Under the conditional moratorium, enacted in 1983 in the aftermath of the 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear accident in Pennsylvania, a new nuclear power plant "must be economically advantageous to ratepayers and a federal nuclear waste repository must exist."

When we last checked on Walker's promise, in July 2013, a spokeswoman from the governor's office told us Walker "is still supportive of this issue" and was monitoring a bill that she said would make it more feasible to build a nuclear plant.

Since then, the Republican Party approved a resolution at its state convention in May 2014 supporting plans by GOP lawmakers to lift the moratorium. But no legislation has moved forward and the Legislature is out of session until January 2015, when Walker's term ends.

Given that the moratorium is still in place, with no initiatives in the works to remove it, we are moving this pledge from Stalled to Promise Broken.

Sources:

Email interview, Gov. Scott Walker press secretary Laurel Patrick, Aug. 20, 2014

No bill proposed, much less adopted

In a letter to state agency heads in August 2012, Gov. Scott Walker called for energy diversification, saying: "We should lift Wisconsin's nuclear moratorium to encourage this clean energy option."

Those were almost exactly the same words Walker used in his campaign, when he pledged to lift the ban.

Under the moratorium, according to the state Legislative Reference Bureau, a reactor cannot be built "unless it is economically advantageous to ratepayers compared to feasible alternatives, and not until a federally licensed repository for high-level nuclear waste is operating with enough capacity to handle the waste from all nuclear power plants in Wisconsin."

So, more than halfway into Walker's term, where does the moratorium promise stand?

State Rep. Mark Honadel, R-South Milwaukee, said in 2011 and again in 2013 he plans a push to lift the moratorium, but he hasn"t introduced a bill. He told us he now expects another GOP lawmaker to introduce it.

Walker spokeswoman Jocelyn Webster said the governor "is still supportive of this issue” and that he is monitoring progress of a bill that she said would make it more feasible to build a nuclear plant.

Given there has been no direct attempt to lift the moratorium, we rate this promise Stalled.

Sources:

Email interview, Gov. Scott Walker spokeswoman Jocelyn Webster, July 12, 2013

Interview, state Rep. Mark Honadel, July 12, 2013